Don Braid writes in the Calgary Herald about a fundraising ethics mess that the Alberta NDP created for themselves by coming up with a fundraising plan that involves selling tickets to “Join Premier Rachel Notley, cabinet, and MLAs for the evening to discuss issues facing the province that are important to you.” – http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/braid-from-attack-to-apology-in-a-split-second-the-ndp-fundraising-uproar
These fundraisers illustrate the very fine line that divides naked, pay-to-play corruption schemes and legitimate political fundraisers where MLAs are in attendance.
It is very difficult for a party in power to claim that selling access to their MLAs who are in cabinet should not be viewed as selling access to government. It is also difficult to avoid the perception that those who have $250 to spend will have their views heard by the government, while those without the $250 will not.
What do you think of the Ethics Commissioner’s take on this fundraiser? Does it really matter, as the ethics commissioner has advised, that the advertisement for the fundraiser took out the positions of the NDP MLAs who would be attending? Does anyone not know that Rachel Notley is not only an MLA, but also the Premier? How does that change to the advertisement make any practical difference?
Governing parties must be very aware of the perception that these types of fundraisers create, and question whether the financial benefit is worth the perception of corruption, which while may be proven, is impossible to disprove.