NEWS
08/11/2016 15:00 EDT | Updated 08/12/2017 01:12 EDT

NDP wants review of Jason Kenney fundraising, Elections Alberta says it can't

EDMONTON — The NDP wants Alberta's chief electoral officer to investigate Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Jason Kenney's political fundraising activities.

Alberta NDP Provincial Secretary Roari Richardson said the review should also include Unite Alberta, Kenney's provincial political organization.

Richardson said the NDP believes Kenney and Unite Alberta are breaking provincial election laws.

"There are legitimate questions about Mr. Kenney's fundraising and spending, and we hope that Elections Alberta can shed some light on this," Richardson said Thursday.

"If Mr. Kenney wants to run here, Albertans expect him to follow the rules."

Kenney, who is a federal Conservative MP, announced last month that he is seeking to rally conservative voters in Alberta in a new party to defeat the NDP in the 2019 provincial election.

The Progressive Conservative leadership race doesn't officially begin until October.

Elections Alberta said it has received the NDP request, but has no authority to review fundraising outside of an official election campaign.

"We have no authority under the legislation that we are governed by, which are the Elections Act and the Elections Finance Act, to take any steps to investigate or look into anything that is going on outside the election period by someone who is not a registered candidate or a registered party," Drew Westwater, Alberta's deputy chief electoral officer said in an interview.

"So there is nothing there to investigate under our authority."

Kenney said the NDP request to Elections Alberta came a day after Unite Alberta attacked the government for bringing forward a proposal to have taxpayers bankroll election campaigns.

The NDP proposal would rebate political candidates and parties half of their expenses if they win at least 10 per cent of the vote.

"It’s clear that the NDP government is increasingly focused on attacking the one candidate who is uniting Albertans against their disastrous government," Kenney wrote in an email.

"Unlike the NDP, we have passionate supporters who are voluntarily donating to our Unite campaign. We're not using the power of government to take their hard-earned dollars, as the NDP prefers.”

Kenney was campaigning in southern Alberta Thursday as part of his "United Alberta Truck Tour".

He said he plans to visit all of Alberta's 87 electoral districts and every major community at least once over the next few months.