Posted on Nov 17, 2017

Conservatives using unregistered third parties to bring big money back to Alberta politics

­­For immediate release
November 17, 2017

EDMONTON – With Conservatives gathering this weekend at an event sponsored by the Manning Centre, the UCP believe they’ve found a “solution” to Alberta’s pesky political donation rules.

The Manning Centre 2016 Annual report highlights the NDP banning corporate and union donations as a problem, and then follows up with: “SOLUTION! The Manning Centre can legally accept unlimited donations and use the funds to support free-market ideas, train like-minded activists and conduct research.”[1]

Earlier this week, a leaked document stated its goal is to elect 50+ MLAs,[2] “engage as many Alberta Millennials as is possible,” and build “support of conservative parties, third parties, training, research, and fundraising."

It appears that the Manning Centre is behaving like a political party – without being bound by any of the rules that keep big money out of Alberta politics. It is illegal for political parties to accept contributions from unions and corporations – as well as from anyone outside of Alberta.

The UCP must address whether they are accepting in kind donations and outsourcing their party work to unelected, unaccountable third parties. It’s clear that the Manning Centre’s own stated objective is to use big money to influence Alberta elections.

To date, the Manning Centre has not registered as an election or political third-party advertiser with Elections Alberta.[3] At this weekend’s Manning Centre conference, UCP officials are speaking at the event,[4] including leader Jason Kenney and deputy leader Leela Aheer.


[1] Manning Centre 2016 Annual Report, 7.

[2] Press Progress November 15 2017.

[3] Elections Alberta November 15 2017.

[4] Manning Centre November 15 2017.