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NDP Hounds UCP

Edmonton (ATB): The newly registered PAC, or third-party advertiser, dubbed Shaping Alberta’s Future rolled out attack ads against the NDP that were funded by corporate donations, said government house leader Brian Mason.
“There’s corporate money back in financing of politics,” he said at a news conference. “A very significant portion of the money that has been raised by this PAC comes from the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta.”
In a letter sent to election commissioner Lorne Gibson, the NDP outlined a slew of concerns alleging that the PAC circumvented donation limits and is acting as a fundraising apparatus for the UCP.
Gibson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but generally the commissioner’s office doesn’t comment on investigations or confirm whether one is taking place. The Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta (MDA) was motivated to donate to the PAC because it wants to reverse NDP legislation brought in to regulate the auto industry, Mason said.
“Mr. Kenney went to the board of the (MDA), asked for help, outlined a number of things he was prepared to do and then the (MDA) immediately turned around and asked their members to donate to this PAC,” he said.
“It’s pretty clear this PAC … and the UCP are arm in arm.”
He pointed to a letter from MDA chairman Andrew Robinson to association members suggesting each dealership cough up a $5,000 cheque for Shaping Alberta’s Future, with a total fundraising goal of $1 million. The letter outlined how Kenney and the UCP would address dealer concerns if elected to government in the spring.
MDA president Denis Ducharme said Kenney and the UCP didn’t trade political promises for money.
“There were no promises of any kind made,” he said in an interview. “There were no favours asked for.
“We just need someone that we can work with,” he added, referencing why the association has put its support behind Kenney.
David Wasyluk, the executive director of Shaping Alberta’s Future, said the PAC has fully complied with election financing rules.
“This complaint is without merit,” he said in a statement. “We have worked proactively with officials from Elections Alberta to ensure our activities are compliant.”
UCP caucus spokesperson Christine Myatt said no rules have been broken and the party is still developing its platform.
“Soliciting policy proposals from stakeholders does not equal a promise to act and Mr. Kenney has made no such promises to the MDA,” she said in a statement. “The UCP and its leader are fully complying with the laws that the NDP itself implemented.”
She added the UCP rejects “a number of characterizations” in the MDA letter, including that Kenney promised to fully repeal NDP labor code and employment standards changes.
“Both UCP legacy parties did in fact support elements of this NDP legislation,” she said.
Since it launched, Shaping Alberta’s Future has raised $375,000 in three months, according to financial disclosure with Elections Alberta.
Comparatively, the pro-NDP third-party advertiser Alberta Federation of Labor Inc. raised just shy of $60,000 in the third quarter for a total of $251,000 so far this year.
Elections Alberta lists 15 active political third-party advertisers. They are required to register when they spend, or plan to spend, more than $1,000 on political advertising.
Last year, the NDP passed legislation to restrict third-party advertisers, including a $150,000 spending limit imposed in the December prior to an election year. The bill also cracked down on promoting a candidate and giving mailing lists to political parties.

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