County investigation not enough — Wildrose

Wildrose Party justice critic Shayne Saskiw believes a County of Stettler internal investigation of partisan fundraising doesn't

  • Oct. 16, 2013 11:00 a.m.

PAUL COWLEY

Red Deer Advocate

Wildrose Party justice critic Shayne Saskiw believes a County of Stettler internal investigation of partisan fundraising doesn’t go far enough.

Saskiw still wants to see Elections Alberta get involved with its own probe.

The Wildrose Party alleged last month that a county employee had posted election signs while on shift for the county for then-Progressive Conservative MLA Jack Hayden years ago.

Another employee allegedly promoted Hayden’s Facebook page while at work.

Hayden lost the 2010 election to Wildrose candidate Rick Strankman.

A Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy request was made for any records of municipal resources being used for partisan purposes.

A county investigation found no truth to the claims involving employees doing work for the Tories.

But a review going back almost a decade found county politicians and staffers had improperly been reimbursed for attending Tory party events to the tune of $6,540. All of the payments dated prior to 2010.

“Taxpayer dollars, whether municipal, provincial or federal, should not be going to partisan purposes,” said Saskiw.

“It’s wrong and the money should be immediately repaid. We’ll leave it to Elections Alberta to determine what the appropriate penalty should be in this case.”

County Reeve Wayne Nixon said a week ago Monday that attending the meetings had been seen previously as a routine cost of business and a useful way to meet with government leaders.

The practice was stopped by the current council, which was elected in 2010.

As for allegations that an employee was asked to put out election signs on municipal time and another worker promoted Hayden’s re-election Facebook page while at work, a county investigation found no evidence of either incident.

Nixon said the Wildrose has been asked, but has yet to produce, the statements backing up those claims.

Nixon was critical of the party’s tactics, calling it a “witch hunt,” adding the party should focus on more important issues for constituents.

Saskiw said the results show this was no witch hunt.

“I think most taxpayers and most Albertans would be frankly shocked at that type of statement to say it was a witch hunt when in fact illegal donations have been found,” he said.

Saskiw said he has not been contacted by the reeve for more information. However, any information backing up the allegations will be provided to Elections Alberta if it investigates.

Under the law, Elections Alberta will not disclose whether it is investigating unless there has been a finding of wrongdoing.

A number of Alberta municipalities found themselves on the wrong side of election laws earlier this year.

In February, the chief electoral officer posted the results of an investigation that found 45 cases of illegal contributions, all involving either the Tory party or one of its constituency associations. Total donations topped $20,000.

 

Just Posted

Paradise Shores work stoppage frustrating for everyone: County

Notice of another appeal hearing posted on County web site late last week

Lunch for a great cause

Scotiabank hosts fundraising BBQ for the Central Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Society

100 Men Stettler gearing up for next meeting June 4th

Local group has raised thousands for community non-profits

Music in the Park kicks off in June

In just a few short weeks, great tunes will be heard in West Stettler Park

Stettler’s history richly showcased at local museum

The Museum features several original buildings from Stettler’s past

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read