UCP leader Danielle Smith says three NDP-affiliated unions should “get some legal advice” as the party awaits a ruling from Elections Alberta on its allegations the unions breached election law.
On Wednesday, the UCP published letters it sent to Elections Alberta requesting an investigation into the unions for possible alleged violations of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act (EFCDA).
A May 2 letter signed by UCP executive director Dustin Van Vugt alleges the Alberta Federation of Labour, CUPE Alberta, and the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) acted as third-party advertisers despite EFCDA regulations. The party alleges there’s evidence the unions colluded with the Alberta NDP to exceed contribution and expense limits while also failing to submit the required financial reports.
Smith said the Alberta NDP is closely affiliated with public sector unions who are registered third-party advertisers, referring to groups which spend money to advocate for policies.
“I hope that they go and get some legal advice and become in compliance with the law,” she said in response to a question from True North at a campaign stop in Calgary on Thursday.
“And if not, I hope we hear some judgment from Elections Alberta on this.”
The UCP requested Elections Alberta send immediate cease and desist letters to the unions to end their alleged advertising activities.
“We ask that Elections Alberta take immediate steps to stop these groups from carrying
out illegal advertising in the election period,” it reads.
“A failure to do so will cause irreparable harm to the election and taint the results of the election in favour of the NDP.”
The party says the Alberta Federation of Labour and CUPE Alberta ran extensive paid Facebook/Instagram advertising campaigns and invested in paid advertising on platforms like YouTube.
In a second letter on Tuesday, the UCP expressed concerns that Elections Alberta is not taking action regarding the complaint.
“The law is clear that affiliated third parties are prohibited from undertaking advertising to benefit the NDP or any other party, but evidence shows this is happening right now in Alberta,” van Vugt said.
CUPE Alberta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AFL president Gil McGowan told Global News the allegations aee “unfounded” and potentially libellous. He said the AFL has fully complied with regulations.
The ATA said education is a bipartisan issue and shouldn’t be associated with one party.
“The ATA is a nonpartisan organization that has no formal ties or any affiliation with the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) or any other party. There are no ‘deep structural connections,’ and any references to the NDP constitution suggesting otherwise are false in their interpretation,” it told Global News.