Freebies abound for Alberta politicians in 2014

WATCH ABOVE: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation responds to the online release of the list of freebies Alberta MLAs received this year.

EDMONTON – In the season of giving, we’re getting an idea of just what kind of freebies Alberta politicians received this year. On Friday, the ethics commissioner’s office released its conflict-of-interest disclosures report online.

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The report is usually released in November, and this is the first time it has been released online. The report details what kinds of free things MLAs accepted in 2014.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Several MLAs received free trips. The Calgary Airport Authority paid for former Tourism Minister Richard Starke to fly to and stay in China, where he assisted with negotiations with Beijing Air for a direct flight between Calgary to Beijing. PC MLA Teresa Woo-Paw accepted a flight, one night hotel accommodations and meals from The Fort McMurray Airport Authority for the inaugural flight between Fort McMurray to Denver. The trip included a press conference and meetings in the American city.

PC MLA Thomas Lukaszuk and Gene Zwozdesky, Speaker of the Alberta Legislature, were both given $500 tickets to MacEwan University’s Mad Hatters Gala by the Chair of the Board of Governors.

Liberal Leader Raj Sherman was given tickets for several shows. He accepted tickets to ‘Tribute to the Beatles’ from Christenson Equities, one of the biggest real estate developers in Alberta. Sherman also disclosed pairs of tickets from Cirque du Soleil for two shows. Tory MLA Steve Young also accepted tickets from Cirque du Soleil.

Former Wildrose party leader Danielle Smith – now a PC backbencher – was reimbursed for her airfare and hotel for a speaking engagement at the Manning Centre in Ottawa. She was also given tickets to Edmonton’s Festival of Trees and attended an event honouring Clive Beddoe, chairman of West Jet Airlines, as a guest of Jim Davidson at the First Energy table.

PC MLA Sandra Jansen accepted a $750 ticket from Bell Canada to the True North Strong Free Fundraiser.

Premier Jim Prentice did not have any conflicts-of-interest to disclose, but he did reveal that he owns 100 per cent of a private corporation called Katassi Development, which is held in a blind trust approved by the ethics commissioner.

To see the rest of the disclosed conflicts-of-interest, see the report below.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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