More Katz mega-donation headaches?


The Globe and Mail, by means of outstanding spadework, has accounted for the particulars of all of the $430,000 donated to the Alberta Progressive Conservative party in its hour of electoral need by Edmonton Oilers owner and pharmacy magnate Daryl Katz. Actually, David Ebner and Dawn Walton traced the $430,000 and then some—others with close business relationships to Katz, it turns out, contributed to the PC kitty. But even the $430,000 donated this spring, supposedly in the form of a single cheque, represents more than a quarter of the cash raised by the Tories during the 2012 election period. The party managed to raise just $1.6 million—while spending almost $4.7 million protecting its flanks from the upstart Wildrose Party.

Alberta’s chief electoral officer has promised an investigation into the splitting up of Katz’s hefty donation. (And the opposition parties are calling for Katz to step down from the board of AIMCo, the corporation that manages investment funds for the province, its public pension plans, and some institutional endowments.) But there might be another problem. Step into the time machine with me as we travel back to September 13, 2011 and open the Edmonton Journal:

Has Oilers owner Daryl Katz quietly shifted his home base to Vancouver? That’s the rumour that has circulated in local business circles for months. And while several sources tell The Journal the reclusive drugstore tycoon now spends most of his time on the West Coast, where his children attend school, it’s unclear how much time he still spends in Edmonton.

…Several sources told The Journal that Katz purchased the penthouse condo at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel in Vancouver, and has lived there for much of this year.

“What I’ve been able to confirm from several sources is that Katz has moved to Vancouver and he’s been there since the beginning of April,” said one well-connected Edmonton businessman.

One city councillor interviewed by the Journal’s Gary Lamphier was not troubled to hear that Katz had moved:

Coun. Bryan Anderson sees the location of Katz’s primary residence as a non-issue, however.

“It doesn’t concern me. There’s a lot of big players in the world who have homes in several places,” he said.

There is one person, however, who might care a little about the location of Daryl Katz’s primary residence: Alberta’s chief electoral officer. A couple of entertaining morsels from the province’s Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act:

16. No prohibited corporation, person ordinarily resident outside Alberta or trade union or employee organization other than a trade union or employee organization as defined in this Act shall make any contributions to a registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate.

…35(1). No registered party, registered constituency association or registered candidate shall, directly or indirectly, (a) knowingly solicit or accept contributions from any person ordinarily resident outside Alberta

Despite the Journal’s revelations from last fall, I imagine that, all things being equal, Daryl Katz would arrange his affairs so as to qualify as an Alberta resident for tax purposes. It’s hard to say whether those are relevant here, however. The election law doesn’t offer an explicit definition of “ordinarily resident”. (“The place where you send your kids to school” would seem to provide a pretty decent first approximation.) And in the event the definition needs to be explicitly made now, I’m afraid I expect it to be exactly as generous as necessary to prevent an embarrassing refund here.

Nonetheless, the investigation into Katz’s personal $30,000 donation—and perhaps the entire $430,000 he is said to have actually presented—will obviously require a close study of his comings and goings.


More Katz mega-donation headaches?

  1. What’s great is people probably would have paid a lot less attention to this story if Katz hadn’t been so aggressive chasing public money for his arena…

    • And of course, he surely would have made these donations in any event!

      • He might well have; Katz does have a lot of business interests in Alberta besides the Oilers. It might be interesting to see if he made similar donations in British Columbia.

        • He never made major donations in Alberta before 2012. I never saw his name pop up in the Conservative leadership disclosures, for example. And you’ve seen the trivial amounts of money he gave to municipal politicians.

          • What was Wildrose’s position on financing a new Edmonton arena in the last election?

            Any other policy differences that would make the PCs preferable over the Wildrose, from his perspective as a NHL team owner, businessman etc.?

  2. Where’s the cover pic of a Calgary Stampede chuckwagon with money flying out the back?

    • Katz is an Edmontonian…..nothing to do with Calgary. The two cities are rivals of sorts. After Stanley cup runs the opposing fans burn each others’ teams jerseys. Therfore, a cover pic of a Calgary Stampede chuckwagon would NOT be appropriate.

      • It’s a trademark of Alberta, as Bonne Homme was of Quebec, in the issue dealing with their corruption.

        • Perhaps for people who have only a superficial knowledge of the province….those same people who were so enamored with Allison Redford and her ability to legitimize a corrupt tory goverment. Very funny all that fear about one or two ridiculous Wild Rose religious zealots given the complete and long-standing questionable behavior of the Conservatives in Alberta. Edmonton is the provincial capital and IS government town. I am sorry but comparing Edmonton to Calgary is like comparing Ottawa to Toronto. If you have any REAL knowledge of the province, you know it doesn’t work….Calgary is the city with the most millionaires per capita in Canada.

          • Allow me to do a little word association so you can better appreciate the apparent subtlety of what I purposely wrote (as someone who has lived in both cities)

            Quebec City’s Bonhomme Carnival is to Montreal, PQ as Calgary’s are to Edmonton, AB.

          • Oops, try again with square brackets:

            Quebec City’s Bonhomme Carnival is to Montreal, PQ as Calgary’s [fill in the blank exhibition symbol] is to Edmonton, AB.

          • And Toronto has the most billionaires….your point is?

          • Off on a tangent, as usual. Relax, nobody is picking on Calgary.

      • Klondike days? I hear they’re trying to have this again. Was fun.

        • Why not? It is at least a chance to dress up.

    • Have there even been ALLEGATIONS of government corruption in this matter?

      • I think you mean, has there been allegations of illegal acts. No. Corruption is institutionalized – therefore legal – in Alberta.

        Man, what other Canadian jurisdiction do you know of (there may be one) where the findings of illegal political contributions by their electoral officer cannot include the names of the party and donor involved?

        • No, I definitely mean “allegations of government corruption”. This entire article is pointing at a possible illegal act (Vancouver resident Daryl Katz making a donation to an Alberta political party as forbidden by law).

  3. “The place where you send your kids to school” would seem to provide a pretty decent first approximation… Except of course, he could be making a huge sacrifice by sending the kids out of province for better educational opportunities. It isn’t easy being rich you know.

    • That’s right. Sending your kids from Edmonton to Vancouver because of the better education. (valiantly resists bursting into laughter)

      • Whither whether weather?

    • I wonder if it’s the same private school Ms. Clark sends her son to?

  4. This is a mess and it sure makes you wonder what the hell is going on?!
    IMO if walks like a duck and talks like a duck , it must be a duck.

    • Claudia, does that duck-revealing strategy of yours also work when thinking about who Pierre Poutine is?

      • “That’s a canard.”

      • Don’t know, but I am pretty sure isn’t a big conspiracy going on, is not going to be a “Watergate”.

      • I don’t know where you live Patchouli, but when you hail from Alberta and physicians are fired for advocating for better patient care and your government takes donations from health-care companies it created (lab-services which have a corner on the market)…….and then you have other Canadians who are completely paranoid about a few religous idiots so that they disregard their own voting tendencies to ensure that these “two” religious idiots don’t get in but instead support total corruption…… wonder ………..sometimes you just have to lift your head out of the federal mess and look around where YOU live.

    • Claudia, have you read Braid’s editorials in the Herald? We now are going to have Whistle-blower protection. Do you think we will ever find out what happened with government-funded agencies like the lab-services donating to the Conservative party or the government bullying physicians who advocated for better patient care? I have no confidence that we will.

      • Nope, this is another half promise by Redford, just optics.

  5. Great article Colby. I find the Globe’s gone a tad soft in the middle as it struggles to brand itself in relation to the Post…but good on them for digging this out. Interesting on the ‘residency’ bit. Amazing no one at Journal is commenting much on such a huge percent of PC funfraising came from Katz…