Alberta Liberals to introduce bill to restrict donations to PACs
'We will be pushing the government to step up on this issue this session,' MLA David Swann says
Liberal MLA David Swann says he plans to introduce a private member's bill this session to restrict donations to political action committees or PACs.
"We will be pushing the government to step up on this issue this session," Swann said Tuesday.
Unlike political parties, PACs, or third-party advertisers, can still accept donations from unions and corporations, without any limits outside an election period.
- Alberta to explore regulating political action committees
- Alberta political parties raise big money, but political action committees raise more
The Alberta Advantage Fund raised more than $800,000 in 2017. The PAC is linked to Jason Kenney, who won the leadership of the United Conservative Party on the weekend.
Brian Jean and Doug Schweitzer also had PACs connected to their leadership campaigns.
In his annual report tabled last week, chief electoral officer Glenn Resler warned the current lack of rules around PACs could create an uneven playing field in the next provincial election.
While the NDP government has said it is concerned about the lack of regulations, it's not clear if a bill is coming this fall.
On Tuesday, Christina Gray, the minister responsible for democratic renewal, wouldn't commit to a timeline because she had to review the chief electoral officer's recommendations first.
But in the legislature, Premier Rachel Notley told Swann something was coming "very soon."
"I will commit to the member opposite that you will see from this government the most aggressive legislation against PACs that we can possibly bring in and ensure that it stands up to the courts between now and the next election," she said. "Because that's what Albertans need."
Swann, the MLA for Calgary-Mountain View, said Resler wants the government to hurry up.
"I think he's been clear about this," Swann said. "He wants to move quickly on this as well."
The government updated election financing laws last year by placing a $4,000 cap on how much a person could donate each year.
But it didn't introduce any measures to regulate PACs, even though there were already questions about how much a PAC connected to Kenney was raising.