November 26, 2012 •
Fines and illegal contributions may finally become public
The Legislative Assembly of Alberta crept closer to approving changes to the province’s elections act last week. The bill, which is in the process of going through its second reading, will give the chief electoral officer the power to inform the public who is being fined and to better identify parties receiving cash.
This past May, Elections Alberta fined over 20 corporations for making illegal donations, but was unable to identify the corporations fined or the parties receiving the illegal contributions. The bill will allow the department to go back and reveal the fines of the past three years.
The new bill will also increase disclosure rules for people making political contributions. If the bill is approved, parties or constituency associations will have to disclose any donors who contribute $250 or more. Currently, donors can remain anonymous until they contributed at least $375.
However, many in the province do not think the bill goes far enough. Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman said the new bill is “feeble, weak, pale, insufficient, and poor. This is not 21st century thinking and it does not address any of the recent scandals that have come up.”
Once the bill passes the second reading, which it is expected to do, it will head to the Committee of the Whole.
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