The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it has documents that show the City of Calgary paid $340,000 to the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank.

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Derek Fildebrandt of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says the city should not be paying advocacy organizations such as the Pembina Institute for contracting services. (CBC)

The documents, obtained through a freedom of information request, show the money was for professional fees for communications and preparing reports, according to the federation.

The money was paid over a three-year period.

Derek Fildebrandt, the tax group’s Alberta director, said city council should pass a bylaw banning money from being paid to any political advocacy group or think tank.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi defended the contracts, saying the city regularly uses outside consultants as a way of saving money. Keeping such experts on staff would be much more expensive, he said.

Nenshi said the taxpayers’ group is simply objecting because the progressive Pembina Institute is an ideological foe.

But Fildebrandt said it’s hard to imagine the city hiring the right-leaning Fraser Institute to consult on something such as property tax reform.