Bill prohibiting corporate and labor donations passes in Alberta, Canada

The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has passed a bill which will ban corporate and labor union donations to political parties.  The bill, which passed without dissent, now awaits the signature of Rachel Notley, the recently-elected Premier.

Alberta’s New Democratic Party (NDP), which unseated 80 years of right or center-right domination of Alberta politics in May, shepherded the bill through Alberta’s unicameral assembly.

The bill, however, is not without critics:  Progressive Conservative (PC) leader, Ric McIver said:   “His caucus opposed the bill because it would tilt fundraising in favor of the NDP and corporations will find ways around the law to continue contributing.”

Similarly, Wildrose (Wildrose Political Association) leader Brian Jeans stated: (I am) pleased that the bill passed, but believes the existing legislation still needs some work.

“Getting union and corporate donations out of politics is good for democracy, it’s good for Alberta. The NDP even accepted one of our amendments, which shows some progress,” said Jean. “But there is still a horrendous loophole in this legislation; unions can actually pay their employees to volunteer for a political party. We don’t think that’s right.”  We tried to get the NDP government to close that loophole, but they wouldn’t budge,” he added.

Alberta’s assembly could teach their American cousins a valuable lesson on the noxious influence of corporate and labor-union money in political framework.

Although not an uncommon practice to shove a loophole into a piece of legislation, and one which may lead to the unglamorous possibility of granting advantage to one group over another, this bill passed Alberta’s legislative assembly, tellingly, without a single vote in opposition.

Most important, by eliminating the pernicious activity of political donations, this bill will enfeeble the mutual back scratching between campaign-money-hungry politicians and their wealthy supporters.

Political action committees (PACs), once a novel concept as an independent structure to inform the public, act as a safeguard, advocate for a group of individuals and set standards for membership has grown into a well-organized but dangerous syndicalist society which has continued to strengthen its suffocating stranglehold on the legislative activity in Washington D.C. with the elected officials as their willing co-conspirators.

Alberta’s citizens scored a big win.  They deserve a victory lap.