Posted on Jun 23, 2020
JASON KENNEY BRINGS BACK DARK MONEY, SEEKS TOTAL REFERENDUM CONTROL
EDMONTON – Jason Kenney and the UCP have proposed legislation to sneak big money back into the political process while giving themselves the power to put it where they want it.
Bill 26: Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act and Bill 27: Alberta Senate Election Amendment Act, both introduced late Tuesday, would allow hundreds of thousands of dollars to be raised and spent to influence public opinion on political matters, with limited oversight and transparency, and only with the express permission of, and control by, Jason Kenney and the UCP Cabinet.
“This isn‘t about strengthening democracy, this is Jason Kenney giving himself the power to create a big money machine that will allow the UCP’s rich friends and donors to write cheques in the shadows,” said Heather Sweet, Alberta NDP Critic for Democracy and Ethics. “This Premier can’t run a leadership campaign without getting the RCMP involved, and he certainly can’t be trusted to run a referendum either.”
Bills 26 and 27 propose new rules around referendum and federal senate campaigning. Bill 26 proposes that any organization or individual seeking a referendum must secure the explicit approval of the UCP government, which also retains the power to determine the question being voted on, who is able to vote, where they can vote, when they can vote and how they can vote.
Groups advertising to Albertans on a referendum issue can raise as much as $500,000 and spend as much as $350,000 without having to submit audited financial statements. This means organizations would be able to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without disclosing how that money was spent.
“The Alberta NDP’s first bill as government was to get big money out of politics but Jason Kenney is putting it right back in, exactly where he wants it,” said Sweet.