Posted on Jun 24, 2020


EDMONTON - Today, Premier Jason Kenney and the UCP introduced a bill that would bring big-money politics, and dark money, into Alberta’s municipal and school board elections.


Bill 29, the Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, removes the $4,000 limit on annual contributions to local campaigns and allows individuals to donate up to $5,000 each to an unlimited number of municipal and school board candidates. The bill removes all limits to individuals donating to third-party advocacy groups, and removes the requirement to disclose campaign donations until after the election.


“This bill means the rich can buy the council they want,” said Joe Ceci, NDP Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs. “Who has $5,000 to give to a single candidate right now, let alone 14 councillors and a mayor and all the school board trustees? Jason Kenney is putting municipal elections up for sale, and I’m sure he’s confident he has the wealthy friends to buy them. I’m very concerned we are going to see American-style super-PACs in our local campaigns.”


This bill to flood municipal and school board campaigns with dark money follows two other bills introduced this week that will allow unlimited fundraising for provincial referendum campaigns on topics to be decided by the premier.


“This is an extension of the sleazy big-money politics that Jason Kenney embraced when he first ran for the PC leadership. These three bills will bring that into Alberta elections at every level, and the people with the deepest pockets will be buying the results,” said Ceci.


“We’ve seen local leaders speaking out against Jason Kenney’s broken promises and downloaded costs,” said Heather Sweet, Critic for Ethics and Democracy. “This bill will allow his wealthy donor network to replace those who are speaking out, right across the province, or bully them into silence.”


“We don’t know what lengths Jason Kenney will go to in terms of funneling money to his favoured candidates right across the province. This is another dark day for Alberta democracy,” Sweet said.