Alberta Opposition wants probe into Notley’s role at Ontario NDP fundraiser

Alberta's Wildrose Opposition wants an investigation into Premier Rachel Notley's role at a big-ticket Ontario NDP fundraiser which the Wildrose says solicited donations from companies doing business in Alberta.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Wildrose Opposition wants an investigation into Premier Rachel Notley’s role at a big-ticket Ontario NDP fundraiser which the Wildrose says solicited donations from companies doing business in Alberta.

The Opposition says it is asking ethics commissioner Marguerite Trussler to look into Notley’s involvement in last Friday’s event, saying it raises questions around impartiality and the selling of access.

“(Premier) Notley once campaigned on greater openness and transparency in politics, but within a year she is now conducting secret, big-money fundraisers for her friends,” said Jason Nixon, Wildrose critic on the democratic accountability file.

Notley’s spokeswoman, Cheryl Oates, said the premier cleared the event beforehand with Trussler.

Oates said Notley did not travel at government expense, and she said none of the donation money went to the Alberta NDP.

“I can confirm that the premier attended. She was a guest of the Ontario NDP for one night at their fundraiser,” said Oates.

“Her (Notley’s) main focus is her role as the premier of Alberta, but she is also the leader of a political party, and so once in a while she will participate in political events and she participated in one for one night in Toronto.”

Oates said any further information would have to come from Ontario’s NDP.

The event was held at the Royal York hotel in Toronto.

It was billed on tickets as an evening just with Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP, which sits third in the Ontario legislature.

But Wildrose says sources invited to the event were told it would be a close-access dinner with no more than 20 donors invited.

The Wildrose sources also said that Ontario companies doing business in Alberta were solicited to attend.

Alberta corporations and unions are banned from donating to political parties under legislation passed by Notley’s NDP last spring.

Nixon says the Toronto fundraiser raises questions about whether Alberta companies can gain access and influence to Notley through the back door, by participating in out-of-province NDP fundraisers.

He also said even if such events meet the letter of the fundraising and conflict of interest laws, they fail to live up to the spirit of the rules.

Karla Webber-Gallagher, provincial secretary of Ontario’s NDP, addressed the issue in a short email.

“We had a successful event that went ahead as planned, an intimate dinner hosted by Andrea Horwath at which Premier Notley was our guest.

“The attendees included people from a wide range of sectors, including business and labour all based or doing business in Ontario.”

Webber-Gallagher did not immediately respond to followup questions on who attended, how they were solicited, and whether they had business dealings in Alberta.

Notley’s NDP have made headlines previously on fundraising issues.

On Monday, NDP provincial secretary Chris O’Halloran told The Canadian Press that the party decided to cancel an add-on event scheduled to take place before a $250-plate fundraiser Tuesday night at the Art Gallery of Alberta in downtown Edmonton.

The add-on event, at $1,000 a ticket, offered closer access to Notley and her legislature members in a separate room at the art gallery for an hour before the main event. He said the $1,000 event was not advertised on the party’s website. He said tickets were solicited through emails and phone calls.

The $1,000 ticket also included access to the $250 event.

O’Halloran said party officials cancelled the $1,000 event “recently” but wouldn’t say why. Shortly after, the premier’s office announced the event was on and was, in fact, never off.

Notley’s office noted Monday that Trussler also reviewed the $1,000 event and ruled that lived up to the provisions of the Conflicts of Interest Act.

The Wildrose has asked Trussler to revisit that issue as well.

Last May, the NDP party was forced to backtrack after it tried to leverage the swearing-in of Notley and her cabinet into a party fundraising event.

Last November, the NDP caucus apologized to the legislature chamber after it was revealed the party was promoting access to Notley and her team at a Calgary fundraiser as cabinet ministers.

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer is reaching out to the community to see if anyone wants to move and maintain the Scout Hut from 1937. The land it sits on is needed for a women’s shelter expansion. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
City of Red Deer is calling for proposals for preserving, moving Scout Hut

The 47th Avenue land it sits on is needed for women’s shelter expansion

Bobby-Jo Stannard, community development superintendent with the City of Red Deer, and Kelly Andres, city community facilitator, say response to the first mural has been extremely positive. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Mural artists making downtown Red Deer vibrant

Preparing for Meet the Street arts and culture festival

Softwood lumber is pictured in Richmond, B.C. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
While lumber prices drop, relief isn’t exactly on the way for consumers

Consumers in Alberta won’t see the benefit of falling lumber prices any… Continue reading

Wandler
Chris Wandler steps in as RDC Queens volleyball coach

Talbot Walton has stepped away from the team due to medical reasons

Early Sunday morning, February 26, 2017, migrants from Somalia cross into Canada illegally from the United States by walking down this train track into the town of Emerson, Man., where they will seek asylum at Canada Border Services Agency. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Abusive conditions in Canada’s immigration detention system: human rights groups

Canada Border Services Agency says on its website that individuals may be detained for a number of reasons

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan's decision to travel to Arizona for a holiday has been sharply criticized by many.
Advocate file photo
Jason Stephan: Quebec’s actions undermine interests of Alberta

Prior to serving as a MLA, I structured many commercial partnership agreements.… Continue reading

FILE - Great Britain’s Andrew Matthews, from left to right, Ben Simons, Toby Olubi and Lamin Deen celebrate after their second-place finish in a four-man World Cup Bobsleigh race in Whistler, British Columbia, in this Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, file photo. British Bobsleigh and Skeleton announced Thursday, June 17, 2021, that the four-man team of Deen, Simons, Olubi and Matthews has been upgraded to the gold medal for a race that occurred Nov. 25, 2017 in Whistler, Canada. The Russian crew that beat them that day has since been disqualified. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Britain upgraded to World Cup bobsled gold from 2017 race

Driver of Russian sled was sanctioned for doping violations

Leylah Annie Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot Marie Bouzkova, of the Czech Republic, in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. Leylah Annie Fernandez lost 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) to No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the second round of the Viking Classic Birmingham on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez loses third-set tiebreaker against Ons Jabeur

Jabeur now heads to the quarterfinals at the WTA Tour 250 grass-court event

Feist performs during the Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on September 18, 2017. Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist is hitting the road with what’s described as an intimate and “unconventional production” featuring all new music.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan
Leslie Feist to debut new music in ‘unconventional’ and intimate ‘Multitudes’ show

Calgary-raised artist will debut show at Kampnagel Festival in Germany

Letter: Improvements coming to two intersections in Red Deer to help cyclists

A letter in the Advocate on June 9 with complaints about cyclists… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Trudeau tight-lipped on Constitution attack

When exactly did Canada become a Constitution-bashing country? For nearly 30 years,… Continue reading

Gwynne DYer
Opinion: Western countries giving out vaccines to poor nations

At the recent G7 summit, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to distribute… Continue reading

Most Read