Backroom deal alleged

The Alberta NDP says a Tory party official helped successfully lobby the province for a cap on the amount of money people can recover from suing rental car companies after an accident.

The Alberta NDP says a Tory party official helped successfully lobby the province for a cap on the amount of money people can recover from suing rental car companies after an accident.

Under legislation expected to pass in this session of the legislative assembly, that cap on so-called vicarious liability for car rental companies would be limited to $1 million. NDP Leader Brian Mason is calling it a backroom deal.

He says the Truck Renting and Leasing Association boasts on its website that it and its “industry allies” won its point with the province after a Dec. 18 meeting with Finance Minister Iris Evans.

NDP documents suggest Edmonton lawyer Joseph Yurkovich sent letters to the government on the matter on behalf of the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association.

Mason labelled him “a Tory insider” since he’s vice-president of the Edmonton Progressive Conservative Association.

Premier Ed Stelmach said there’s nothing sinister about any of it. He argued it’s only right that the driver of a rental vehicle — not the agency that owns it — be chiefly responsible for paying damages resulting from an accident.

He also said when a law is passed whereby government lobbyists have to register with the province of Alberta, “I’ll make sure I’m registered.”

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