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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Alberta government proposes strengthening election spending cap adherence

Minister Gray introduces proposed legislation to increase fairness in Alberta’s electoral system
Government of Alberta - In 2016, the government increased fairness in Alberta’s electoral system by implementing a $2-million spending cap on election expenses for all registered political parties during an election period. Proposed changes would guarantee a level playing field by ensuring any associated parties adhere to the $2-million spending cap. Avoidance of the cap could result in significant penalties.

“Our government is committed to making sure elections in our province are fair, balanced and transparent for all Albertans. These straightforward changes would hold all political parties accountable to the same spending limit and ensure that voters, not big money, decide elections.” - Christina Gray, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal

These changes, under the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Statutes Amendment Act, would strengthen government’s efforts to ensure elections remain in the hands of everyday Albertans. They would also prevent associated political parties from using a multi-party structure to collude with one another to bypass the legal spending limit.

Under the proposed amendments, the Election Commissioner would be able to provide advice to parties and work with them prior to the election to ensure compliance.

Other improvements would include:
  • Increasing the penalty for parties exceeding the spending limit from $10,000 in fines to $100,000.
  • Repealing a section of the act that allows new parties—if they are formed within the last four months of the year—to wait up to 19 months before filing their first annual financial statement.
  • Increasing transparency by requiring political parties to include campaign contributions in their quarterly reports to Elections Alberta.

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