Progressive Conservative leadership contender Jim Prentice became the first candidate to release his donor list to the public on Friday, revealing the campaign has raised over $1.8 million since he joined the race in May.
The former federal MP received the lion’s share of his backing from 39 donors contributing a total of $925,000, including Ford dealership owner Denny Andrews, former TransAlta Pipelines chairman Richard Haskayne, Shaw Communications executive J.R. Shaw, and Canadian businessman and former Edmonton city councilor Stanley Milner.
“I am proactively disclosing all my donations well ahead of Elections Alberta requirements, because this is the kind of honest leadership that Albertans are asking for right across this province,” said Prentice in a statement.
Donations of $250 or less came from 203 donors while 180 donors gave up to $1,000, and 142 donors gave between $1,001 and $10,000. Prentice received donations from Cenovus Energy, Century Casinos, LaFarge Canada, and Telus as well as Irving and Dianne Kipnes and Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA David Dorward, the only MLA to donate. Prentice also donated to his own campaign.
The campaign says Prentice’s fundraising would be critical for the embattled PC’s going into the 2016 election. Prentice challenged his rivals Ric McIver and Thomas Lukaszuk to release their lists. Both former ministers have said they will.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) also released expense documents from Prentice’s time as a federal cabinet minister on Friday. CTF Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt was previously told by federal Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development representatives that Prentice’s expense claims from his time as minister were destroyed but after a month-long review and repeated queries, the department admitted the lack of records “was the result of a number of administrative errors connected to the accessing and labeling of archived copies of these receipts.”
“It doesn’t pass the smell test for us,” said Fildebrandt, who received over 3,200 pages of Prentice’s expenses.
“I don’t have very much faith in the completion of these records or that they were handled without any political interference.”
An initial review of the documents shows that in July 2007, Prentice’s office chartered a King Air 100 plane to fly from Calgary to Fort MacLeod, a distance of roughly 170 kilometres. Fildebrandt says the $2,970.92 flight had just four passengers. Fildebrandt cited Parliament of Canada procedures that dictate MP’s and their staff use “the most economical and practical means of transportation” as well as the “most direct route available.”
“It wouldn’t strike anyone in Calgary as something remotely normal to charter a plane for the short haul drive to Fort McLeod. It’s a short drive that many Calgarians make on a Sunday afternoon. To charter a plane is baffling,” he said.
Prentice has pledged to fly commercial whenever possible if he becomes premier. PC members will choose Alberta’s next premier on September 6.