Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Elections Alberta Names Team to Probe Donation from Oilers Owner to Alberta PCs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Elections Alberta Names Team to Probe Donation from Oilers Owner to Alberta PCs

Article excerpt

Elections Alberta names donation probe team

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EDMONTON - A retired judge has been appointed to review political donations made by Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz to the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

Elections Alberta spokesman Drew Westwater would not say how much money is involved, but the Opposition Wildrose party says the donation was for $430,000.

"We have an investigative team in place to confirm or deny that the contribution took place and whether the contribution was in conformity with the requirements of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act," Westwater said Tuesday.

"We would like to have it wrapped up some time this spring."

Former Alberta Queen's Bench justice Ernest Marshall is heading the team. He is being assisted by two independent investigators, one who has a police background.

Wildrose justice critic Shayne Saskiw said he welcomes the appointment of the independent investigators.

The Opposition has been calling for the investigation since last fall after media reports indicated the Alberta PCs accepted a single $430,000 donation. Under Alberta law the legal limit for a single donation is $30,000.

"The PC party must be held to account for soliciting and attempting to get around these rules, and Albertans deserve a level playing field during elections and the assurance that their government is not for sale," Saskiw said.

Westwater said Elections Alberta will determine if the election finance law was breached once Marshall reports his findings.

If the law was broken, the PC party and Katz could face fines and any illegal donations would have to be paid back.

"If there is a violation in contravention of the Elections Finance Act we can order the contribution to be returned to the contributor, we can fine the political party that accepted it up to a maximum of $10,000 and we can also fine the contributor up to a maximum of $10,000 for each violation of the act. …

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