Election funding changes benefit NDP, not Alberta

The next thing Alberta’s NDP government is mucking around with is how election donations are collected (by capping)...

The next thing Alberta’s NDP government is mucking around with is how election donations are collected (by capping), and on refunding donations to big parties.

Both ideas appear to be based on the fact that, although the NDP are in power and are supported by wealthy groups like organized labour and the environmental lobby, they are far from the biggest fundraising party in Alberta. The opposition Wildrose holds that distinction.

It appears the refunding idea is a way for parties like the NDP, which collect fewer donations, to make that money go even further at the expense of everyday Albertans. The proposal states parties that collect 10 per cent of the vote get a certain amount of their campaign expenses rebated back to them, a huge amount actually.

The proposal makes no sense, and not just because there’s a lot more important work to be done in Alberta right now than this. It ensures that parties like the NDP can keep re-spending the same donations or funds, while at the same time hamstringing smaller parties which don’t get the minimum vote count and don’t get the tax rebate.

The other proposal that’s coming down the pipe is a cap on election spending. The only reason the NDP would introduce a cap on election spending is because party strategists are already looking forward three years to the next election, and are well aware Wildrose is killing the NDP in monetary support.

The Wildrose are traditionally supported by the oil and gas sector, whether the oil and gas sector admits it or not. The links go back to the days of Premier Ed Stelmach, when Special Ed suggested a royalty review that would force the oil and gas industry to pay more tax revenue to the province. The oil and gas industry didn’t seem to take that very well, and the Wildrose Party was born. As most Albertans are aware, the oil and gas industry, when the economy is chugging along, has lots of money. Lots of money.

Debate all you like about why the NDP government needs to waste time on partisan election changes such as the two listed above. It’s clear the NDP is looking ahead three years, and it’s clear the party and its leadership are nervous. Apparently, part of their strategy is to tweak election laws to serve Premier Rachel Notley’s purpose. While it’s obvious the changes benefit the NDP, how the best interest of Alberta and its people fit into these changes is not clear.

There are so many other issues in Alberta that need addressing right now, ranging from getting the economy on track, to bridge deficit, to infrastructure crumbling, to misuse of recreation areas, to impaired driving, to new illegal drugs, to domestic violence offenders going unpunished, lack of municipal grants, urban sprawl and plenty more.

Ms. Premier, please stop wasting Albertans’ time with partisan election garbage and get back to making this province the best place in Canada to live.

Just a reminder

The Pipestone Flyer, its parent company Black Press and staff continue to hear comments about the real estate sign on the front of the newspaper office located at 5025 50th Street in Millet. Despite the fact the sign states only the property and building are for sale, some visitors still ask if the newspaper is for sale or moving.

Only the building and property are for sale, and the Pipestone Flyer and its parent company Black Press have no plans to go anywhere. Staff are looking forward to providing the community with a quality newspaper full of local stories, photos and opinion writing. Find the full e-edition of the newspaper online at www.pipestoneflyer.ca.

Back in Wetaskiwin

The Pipestone Flyer has good news for all our fans and readers in the City of Wetaskiwin: the newspaper is back in town.

After receiving several months of phone calls, emails and other feedback from our readers, The Pipestone Flyer and its parent company Black Press are excited to announce the newspaper is returning to Wetaskiwin. We heard you loud and clear.

Coverage of City of Wetaskiwin events will once again appear in these pages. City of Wetaskiwin coverage will be featured along with County of Wetaskiwin and Leduc County coverage.

Readers will see the Pipestone Flyer out and about in the community, and please feel free to contact the newspaper with your tips and event information. Our contact info is available online at www.pipestoneflyer.com.