Out of province donations not democratic or ethical, says democratic reform advocate

Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch has said donations to political parties from out of province entities are not democratic or ethical and should be stopped.

Premier Brad Wall announced Monday he would no longer be receiving stipend from Sask. Party

Conacher said the only way to resolve the conflict of interest is to stop large donations, especially donations by out of province entities. (CBC News)

Duff Conacher, a democratic reform advocate for Democracy Watch is calling for an end to out-of-province donations for political parties in Saskatchewan. 

On Monday, Premier Brad Wall said he would no longer receive a top-up stipend from the Saskatchewan Party, following criticisms from the Opposition NDP.

Conacher said the move to stop the payments was a good one but does not resolve previous instances, which he referred to as conflicts of interest. 

The stipends, which were not publicly funded, were cleared ethically by conflict of interest commission Ron Barclay back in January.

"If [Brad Wall] continues to have some of the expenses paid that he has for the party, paid by the party, then some of the money that he has raises continues to go into his pocket and that continues the conflicts of interests caused by fundraising," Conacher said. 

Conacher's solution is that large donations, particularly by out-of-province entities such as the Alberta-based companies involved in the oil and gas sector, be stopped entirely.

In addition to his salary, the premier was receiving stipends for duties performed as premier — such as speaking engagements — which amount to approximately an extra $40,000. It is unclear just how much of the stipend is a result of the out-of-province donors.

"Saskatchewan has one of the most undemocratic and unethical donation systems in the country," Conacher said, adding wealthy interests could use their cash to influence politicians. 

The premier has said a lobby registry would help promote transparency and accountability.

Opposition NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon has called on the premier to pay back the money he has received in previous years, despite none of it being paid for by taxpayers.