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NDP files complaint against UCP, Jason Kenney and third-party advertiser

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The Alberta NDP has asked the province’s elections commissioner to investigate the United Conservative Party, its leader Jason Kenney, a third-party advertiser called Shaping Alberta’s Future and the Motor Dealers Association of Alberta for wilfully violating the province’s elections financing rules.

In a letter to Lorne Gibson sent Tuesday, NDP provincial secretary Roari Richardson said the groups worked together to circumvent campaign finance rules.

He said the Shaping Alberta Future website states that its political action committee (PAC) is a way to avoid election financing rules, which now prohibit corporate and union donations to political parties. The PAC tells donors it will collect money to help pay for non-political advertising expenses such as overhead. 

« The activities described in this letter and attachments are not minor or innocent errors being committed in the course of navigating new rules, » Richardson wrote. « The activities are self-described as a deliberate strategy to avoid the limitations of the elections financing law.

« These are severe and wilful violations designed to give the UCP a real financial advantage including large contributions from corporate entities. »

Richardson said the Shaping Alberta Future website states that its PAC is a way to avoid election financing rules, which now prohibit corporate and union donations to political parties. He quoted a passage on the website to suggest the PAC is offering donors a way to circumvent scrutiny by Elections Alberta. 

« If you choose this option, there is no requirement to provide your name and information to Elections Alberta, » the website said. « Contributions may be spent on, among other things, door-knocking in targeted ridings, opposition research and public opinion research. » 

In a post on its Twitter account, the UCP called Richardson’s letter « another frivolous stunt to garner easy headlines » and said the party was fully complying with the law.

« Perhaps the NDP needs to familiarize itself with the law they wrote? » the UCP post said. « NDP seemingly has no problem with their PAC friends amassing a war-chest of $750k — paid for with mandatory union dues. »

Political action committees raise big money

The pro-Kenney third-party advertiser Shaping Alberta’s Future received $375,000 in donations between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2018.

So far in 2018, the Alberta Federation of Labour’s political action committee has received $251,248 in donations. Project Alberta, another pro-NDP PAC, has accumulated $385,000 in donations this year.

Richardson’s letter to the elections commissioner came one day after a letter written by Andrew Robinson, chairman of the Motor Dealers Association, was reported in the media.

The letter from Robinson said Kenney had met with the association that represents motor vehicle dealers and made promises that included rollbacks to consumer protections introduced by the NDP government.

« MDA president will be asked to meet with the UCP transition team to provide input on how to re-balance the playing field between consumers and industry, » Robinson wrote. « Returning [Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council] to a delegated authority from a government agency, appointments of AMVIC chair, compensation fund control, etc. »

No caps on advertising spending

The letter said Kenney told the association about new funding caps outlined in election finance rules that limit political party donations to $4,000 per donor each year.

But third-party advertisers, including political action committees, can accept donations from unions and corporations. They face spending limits of $150,000 after Dec. 1, prior to any provincial general election, until the date the writ is issued.

PACs are allowed to spend another $150,000 during the campaign period but not more than $3,000 targeting a candidate in a particular constituency.

Richardson said the motor dealers association agreed to donate $100,000 to Shaping Alberta’s Future and asked each dealership to contribute $5,000. The goal was to donate $1,000,000, the letter said.

The UCP denies that Kenney made any promises to the auto dealers in return for donations.

« The challenge is the UCP war chest at this time prevents them from countering the negative ads against the UCP from various provincial unions, other groups received funding from left-leaning socialist agencies and/or funds from the NDP party campaigning against the right, » Robinson’s letter said.

« Without adequate funding, the UCP cannot counter these allegations and when there is no rebuttal — one loses the media messaging battle. »



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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