Alberta moves to ban political donations from unions, corporations

Bill 1 aimed at ensuring parties focus on citizens

Alberta is taking steps to bar unions and corporations from financially backing political parties.

On June 16, the NDP government announced Bill 1, An Act to Renew Democracy, which blocks labour and business from contributing to political factions, including a candidate, constituency association, party or leader. Should the bill pass, only residents of Alberta would be allowed to donate — though contribution levels could be subject to change pending a wider review of the Elections Act.

The legislation is aimed at ensuring politicians are focused solely on the needs of citizens.

“This legislation — the first bill of this government — is about focusing Alberta’s political parties where they should be focused: on Albertans,” said Kathleen Ganley, the province’s justice minister. “We are doing this by renewing our province’s democracy. Once this legislation is in place, Albertans can be assured that political parties in this province are responsible to them — and only to them, as citizens.”

Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the federal government currently do not allow donations from businesses or organized labour.

As part of a broader electoral review, Ganley said the government also intends to look at whistle-blowing and conflicts of interest.

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