Opposition wants Tories investigated over Katz donations
Opposition parties want Alberta's chief electoral officer to investigate the governing Progressive Conservatives over hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from Oilers' owner Daryl Katz, his family and the Katz Group.
Documents from Elections Alberta show that Katz, members of his family, and his company donated at least $300,000 to the Tories during last spring's election — the same time the province was being asked for $100 million towards a new arena in downtown Edmonton, a request which has not been granted.
Each individual received a receipt for $30,000, the maximum amount for an individual donation under Alberta election law.
However, a report in the Globe and Mail on Thursday alleges that the amount was $430,000, given to the party in a single cheque.
That prompted calls from the NDP and Wildrose parties for Elections Alberta to conduct an investigation.
"If this is true, it is an ethical scandal of enormous proportions," Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith told the Alberta legislature on Thursday.
Redford said her party has been asked to check with the chief electoral officer but she dismissed any suggestions the donations were connected to arena funding.
She reminded Smith the province has refused to give Katz the $100 million.
"The position of this government with respect to arena funding has been consistent since the day that I decided to run of this party and it will not change," she said.
Elections Alberta only requires a statement from the parties, with receipts and the names of donors and wouldn't know if there was one very large contribution.
"We're not aware that a single cheque for $425,000 or whatever was issued to anyone by Mr. Katz," said Drew Westwater, director of election operations and communications with Elections Alberta. "That's something we wouldn't have information on at this time."
Redford told reporters that her party has followed the rules and doesn't believe the donations were made with a single cheque.
The future of the arena project is in question.
Last week, Edmonton city council unanimously voted to end negotiations with the Katz Group after the Oilers owner failed to appear at a meeting to explain why last year's framework funding deal was no longer viable.