In light of the unaccountable political advertising from a group called “Save Calgary”, Alberta Liberal Leader David Khan is calling for the regulation of Political Action Committees (PACs) and other third party political entities and advertisers at the Municipal Level.
“Groups like “Save Calgary” are free to spend as much as they can raise to try and influence our municipal elections without any accountability and transparency, and that is fundamentally undemocratic,” says Khan. “The messenger--and who is paying for the message--matters as much as the message itself, and voters have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote, especially when big money is involved.”
Khan went on to state that the NDP government should have taken action on the issue before this year’s municipal elections. “The NDP had a chance to act on this. They knew this was an issue. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association warned them about this very issue, and we have seen this lack of regulation become an issue in the past, such as during the 2013 St. Albert municipal election.”
Khan also added that this is far from the only change we should be considering with respect to municipal elections. “We need to be looking at donation limits, bans on corporate and union donations, and implementing a municipal lobbyist registry. Our municipal governments matter, and we should implement reforms similar to--indeed better than--those we have seen at the provincial and federal levels.”
Khan concluded, “The regulation of political third party entities is a serious issue at the provincial level where little regulation exists. However, at the municipal level we are dealing with no regulation at all. This is simply unacceptable. I strongly urge this government to take seriously the dangers of unaccountable big money in our elections and implement proper regulation at both the municipal and provincial levels.”