Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Passes Bill Banning Political Donations from Corporations and Unions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Passes Bill Banning Political Donations from Corporations and Unions

Article excerpt

Alberta passes political donation ban bill

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EDMONTON - The flagship first bill of Alberta's new NDP government that bans corporate and union donations to political parties has passed in the legislature.

Opponents, however, say much work remains to be done to close the loopholes.

Bill 1, An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta, passed unanimously in third reading late Monday night, and when signed into law will ban donations retroactively to June 15.

"It puts the power back in the hands of Alberta citizens rather than those with the deepest pockets in terms of determining the political future of this province," Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said Tuesday.

Ganley acknowledged there was criticism of the retroactive cutoff date, tied to when the bill was introduced in the house.

But she said the NDP had signalled for months that it wanted to end the donations, and it was crucial to not give anyone unfair advantage through a last-minute rush of donations.

"I think there was sufficient notice," said Ganley. "I think it was the right way to put it through."

The bill received all-party support, including votes from the opposition Progressive Conservatives, who have traditionally received most of their donations from corporations.

The NDP has accrued about 10 per cent of its contributions from unions.

PC Leader Ric McIver said an amendment, proposed by the Wildrose and passed by the house, to block a loophole allowing unions and corporations to make loan payments to political parties, made the bill more palatable.

A week ago, McIver denounced the bill during a news conference.

At that time, he told reporters the bill would tilt the fundraising playing field in favour of the NDP. …

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