May 27, 2020
EDMONTON- The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) Committee On Political Action (COPA) are calling for a ban on political donations from publicly funded continuing care providers after discovering over $250,000 in donations to political parties from private providers.
“When I saw just how much money was flowing to political parties, my jaw dropped,” said AUPE COPA chair Mike Dempsey. “No wonder our governments take a hands off approach on things like proper staffing and even making sure they provide the $2 raise for health care aides that was promised on April 20.”
Based on publicly disclosed information on provincial election financing lists, AUPE has found over a quarter of a million dollars donated by for-profit providers who operate in Alberta to political parties in Alberta, Ontario, and B.C. from 2004 to 2017.
The largest donor was Extendicare who operate many facilities in Alberta, with over $118,000 contributed to political parties. Other providers include Revera donating over $68,000, Retirement Concepts with over $36,000, Chartwell with over $12,000 and others on the spreadsheet linked at the bottom.
Donations spanned the political spectrum. The largest beneficiary was Liberal parties receiving 67% of the donations, conservative parties received 31% in the three provinces, and the NDP received under 2% of all contributions. In Alberta, over 98% of the donations went to conservative parties.
All three provinces have recently banned direct donations from corporations to political parties, but a loophole was left in Alberta – those corporations can still donate to third party advertisers. In Alberta’s 2019 provincial election, those third parties raised over $2 million to spend on election ads.
“It’s troubling to know that the money we give to these companies doesn’t have to go one hundred percent to care and support,” said Dempsey. “AUPE’s Committee On Political Action are calling on Alberta’s government to act, and use regulation or legislation as needed to ban publicly funded companies from using our money to play politics instead of providing services.”
AUPE Vice-President and COPA Chair Mike Dempsey is available for interviews.
For more information contact Trevor Zimmerman, Communications, 780-930-3413