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Promise kept: PCAA debt free when parties merged

Donations acquired by Wildrose and United Conservative parties will not be used to pay off debts of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

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Donations acquired by Wildrose and United Conservative parties will not be used to pay off debts of the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta.

The UCP sent out a press release earlier this month to announce that Elections Alberta had approved the request to merge the three parties, United Conservative, Wildrose, and Progressive Conservative into one.  

“Our board was very pleased to take part in passing this motion and fulfilling the mandate set up by members three years ago,” UCP president Ryan Becker said.

The UCP changed legislation to allow political parties to merge and keep their funds when they introduced Bill 22; the same bill that fired Lorne Gibson, Alberta’s Elections Commissioner, from his role.

Gibson’s office had levied over $160,000 in fines associated with the so-called “Kamikaze” candidacy debacle during the UCP’s first leadership race in 2017.  Jason Kenney won the leadership race with more than 60 per cent of the vote.

Alberta RCMP have been investigating the possibility of identity fraud in the same race.

Prior to the creation of the United Conservative Party that same year, members from the Wildrose and Progressive Parties created an agreement in principle to protect the legacy parties and carve out a new path to move forward.

The agreement, signed by both former Wildrose leader Brian Jean and former Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney, addressed member concerns with a merger between the parties. The financial position of the Wildrose was very strong coming out of 2016 with net assets of almost $400,000.

Most of the agreement was value-based but there was also a financial agreement to keep the assets and liabilities of each legacy party separate.

“For greater certainty, assets of one Legacy Party will not be used to repay or extinguish the liabilities of the other Legacy Party,” the agreement stated.

Brad Tennant, Executive Director of the UCP, said all debts were paid off before the merge became official.

“Neither party had any debts,” Tennant said.

“There was nothing left owing from either party.”

The PCAA came out of the 2015 election with over $1.6 million in debt.

Bill 1 under the newly elected NDP made changes to elections laws in Alberta, banning both corporate and union donations to provincial political parties and also reducing the maximum allowable contribution from $15,000 to $4,000.

The new legislation knee-capped the Progressive Conservative party and made it difficult for the party to refill the party’s once-mighty war chest.

In 2014, the PCAA raised $5.6 million but that number dropped to $1.2 million in 2015 and $1 million in 2016. The PCAA’s debt dropped significantly from $1.298 million at the end of 2016 to just under $300,000 at the end of 2017.

The most recent public financial statements available, for the year ending Dec. 31 2018, showed the PCAA’s net liability was $156,682, and the Wildrose had net assets of $84,336.

Year-end financial statements from provincial political parties are due March 31.

Deirdre is the Senior News Reporter at the Western Standard

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com, @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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