09/27/2013 02:09 EDT | Updated 11/27/2013 05:12 EST

Brian Mason Warns Municipal Candidates Of Danger Of Cozying Up To Province

EDMONTON - Alberta's NDP leader is cautioning civic election candidates to be careful about cozying up to Premier Alison Redford's Tories.

Brian Mason said Friday that the next provincial election in 2016 comes midway through the terms for reeves, councillors and mayors.

Mason said with opposition parties rising in the polls, it's far from a slam-dunk that the next provincial government will still be Progressive Conservative.

"There's a growing feeling that they (the Tories) may be on their last term," said Mason.

"If (the candidates) want to jump into bed with the Tories they may not be doing the right thing."

He made the comments after three candidates for mayor in Edmonton agreed to attend a local $150 a plate Tory constituency fundraising dinner in the Riverview constituency held by Tory caucus whip Steve Young.

The Riverview ad said "blunt" questions would be asked of the three.

That portion of the Oct. 9 fundraiser was cancelled within hours after it became known in the media Thursday night. Opposition critics suggested the mayoral candidates were being paraded like show ponies for the governing party that handles their purse strings.

Mason also said it was another attempt at intimidation for a Tory party already dealing with incidents of accepting illegal donations from publicly funded institutions like schools and municipalities.

"It just highlights the arrogance of this government to have the candidates perform for them," said Mason.

Young has said the only goal was to promote discussion about key municipal issues.

The municipal elections will be held on Oct. 21.

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