Albertans donated just over a million dollars to the New Democratic Party Opposition in the first quarter of 2022, according to contribution records released yesterday by Elections Alberta. 

Contributions of $1,037,511.32 placed the NDP well ahead of the governing United Conservative Party’s fund-raising total of $887,974.49 as reported by the provincial Legislature’s elections administration office.

But wait! The UCP says it actually raised more! 

“UCP beats NDP in Q1 fundraising,” the party asserted in a tweet claiming the party’s constituency associations had raised an additional $375,909 in the same period to give it a total of $1,263,883.

Now, this could very well be true. Last year, the UCP changed political contribution legislation so that constituency associations don’t have to report their donations till the end of the year. Since UCP constituency associations can collect their own donations and the NDP centralizes all donations and reports them together to Elections Alberta, this means we are talking apples and oranges – or, at least, murky Conservative books versus more transparent NDP accounts. 

Still, you have to agree it’s a weird flex to change a law so that you don’t have to report grey money pouring into your party’s coffers, and then to complain about the Opposition party boasting it reported more contributions than you did. 

NDP Provincial Secretary Brandon Stevens (Photo: Twitter/Brandan Stevens).

But, hey, this is Alberta. Nothing should shock anyone. 

“We’re proud to be reporting 100 per cent of our donations for the quarter, and we are the only major party to be doing so,” said the NDP’s Provincial Secretary, Brandon Stevens, adding, “it’s clear that Albertans recognize we’re in the home stretch to the election.”

“The UCP claimed their volunteers aren’t capable of quarterly reports to Elections Alberta, but now they claim they are capable of quarterly reports to party headquarters,” Mr. Stevens remarked in a news release. “Albertans can’t trust the UCP to self-report their own fund-raising numbers given their long track record of dishonesty.”

Be that as it may, last year the NDP raised $6.2 million compared to $3.8 million for the UCP, which may account for the UCP’s apparently urgent need to redefine the fund-raising contest so that it can claim a victory.  

The breakdown of the reported funds shows the NDP received a higher percentage of small donations under $250 than the UCP – 63 per cent compared to nearly 50 per cent for the UCP. Of course, we don’t know the makeup of the constituency donations claimed by the UCP or the corporate funds that have flowed into conservative-leaning political action committees.

Once again, as noted in yesterday’s commentary on the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected decision on abortion rights, the third-largest recipient of political contributions according to Elections Alberta was the single-issue political party devoted exclusively to ending access to abortions in Alberta. 

The Pro-life Alberta Political Association received donations of $67,563.93. While significant, however, this suggests two things: First, that PAPA exists mainly to circumvent election spending laws and keep the pressure on UCP politicians to toe the line on its issue, and second that, for the time being at least, Alberta politics remains a two-party contest. 

The other registered parties that received contributions in the quarter posted the following totals:

Alberta Party: $29,006.45

Alberta Liberal Party: $19,667

Wildrose Independence Party: $14,205.00

Green Party of Alberta: $1,920.00

Independence Party of Alberta: $390.00

Advantage Party of Alberta: $310.00

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  1. The concerning issue is that the Alberta Party is still around and presents itself as a desirable kamikaze opinion. Voters who are stupid enough to vote for the AP, actually being demented enough to believe that they have a serious, not a hope in Hell chance of being of any consequence, will flock in enough numbers to hand the UCP another win.

    Jason Nixon was going on about the voters in his riding being “completely satisfied” with the government’s leadership. Considering this was an MLA who was close to getting turfed in his own riding, were it not for the mysterious intervention of the UCP executive, is doing the distraction work, while Kenney keeps quiet about his chances in the leadership review.

    Of course he’s going to be quiet — he doesn’t want to be too triumphal, lest it look like he stolen the whole thing — again.

    No one is surprised by anything anymore.

  2. There are outstanding questions that are still existent with the UCP. One of them is the donors list for the leader of this party. Where is it? Why hasn’t it been made public yet? What is he trying to hide? It’s been 3 years since the UCP manipulated their way into power in Alberta, and still no donors list has been made public for the leader of the UCP. The NDP did the right things for democracy, by outlawing corporate and union donations to political parties in Alberta. As I recall, the UCP reversed one of these things, and allows corporate donations to political parties in Alberta. Where are these donations to the UCP coming from? With the NDP, it’s individuals who donated to their party, not corporations, and not unions. For the UCP, this is shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Where are the donations to the UCP coming from? There are so many indicators which show the support for the UCP is lagging behind the NDP, and has been, since sometime in 2020. The UCP is resorting to tricks, and gimmicks into making Albertans believe that they are ahead of the NDP in fundraising, and in popularity. Whenever the next provincial election in Alberta will be held, and it could even be at the end of 2023, or in early 2024, the UCP will use whatever devious, and crafty ways to try and remain in power. The head honcho of the UCP has probably done so with his leadership, and will try anything he can to remain as leader of that party. The leadership review results should be very interesting. When the provincial election debate happens, it’s a safe bet that Rachel Notley will make mincemeat out of the leader of the UCP. It will be exactly what happened to Jim Prentice in 2015. The UCP will be like the fictional character, Humpty Dumpty, that youngsters learned about. Preston Manning won’t be able to put the UCP back together again. The UCP will have to be reinvented, and reconfigured, with another name, and with some other former pretend conservative, or Reformer as their leader.

  3. Kenney’s UCP behaves like a petulant child, again. The UCP definitely reflects its leader at every turn. It appears to me that the emotional age of Jay’s rural Alberta base is around 13 years old, which may explain why they continue to vote against their own interests.

  4. It does seem that the UCP wants to have it both ways here. They argue it is too difficult for constituencies to track and report contributions quarterly, yet somehow the party manages to know how much they raised. This is clearly contradictory.

    Most likely the figures provided by the constituencies to the party are not totally accurate (although they wouldn’t admit that), but they feel they are close enough for them to claim they are finally ahead in fundraising again. Of course, without official reporting, there is no way to prove this one way or another. The UCP does seem to grasp to put a positive spin on things these days, which is generally a sign of some desperation.

    Fortunately for the UCP , no third political party has increased its fundraising significantly, so it really still remains a two party race in fundraising. Of course, there is always a chance one of the separatist parties or the non separatist Alberta Party could gain some fundraising momentum. However, generally well off political donors tend to like to give to the party in power, in the hopes that their contributions will achieve something tangible for them in the short term.

    However, if after the leadership review, Kenney wins by a small margin and a lot of the rebels leave, it could quickly become a completely different ball game.

  5. “…the single-issue political party devoted exclusively to ending access to abortions in Alberta.”

    Access is the thing, isn’t it? What is legally allowed federally can be curtailed provincially by failing to provide access, or limiting access so that very few can actually obtain services. That brings us to this:

    No wonder Kenney and the UCP don’t want to talk about it.

  6. Both parties will have enough cash to fight an election.

    But….two important questions. Do both parties have sufficient on the ground resources and volunteers at the riding level to win the required number of seats to form a Government?

    At the end of the day the only thing that matters is the number of seats won.

  7. I believe that anything we do to make politicians better at fundraising makes them worse politicians. The taxpayer should completely fund elections and it should be a crime to make any kind of donation to a politician or a party. An actual crime with jail time, not a “poor person crime” where if you can afford the fine you go free.

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