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Alberta passes bill banning corporate and union donations

The Alberta legislature on March 27, 2015. Emily Mertz, Global News

EDMONTON — Legislation banning corporate and union donations to political parties has passed in the Alberta legislature.

It is the flagship first bill of the new NDP government under Premier Rachel Notley.

The bill passed unanimously, including with support of the Progressive Conservatives.

PC Leader Ric McIver had said last week his caucus opposed the bill because it would tilt fundraising in favour of the NDP.

He also said corporations will find ways around the law to continue contributing.

Wildrose leader Brian Jeans said he is pleased that the bill passed, but believes the existing legislation still needs some work.

“Getting union and corporate donations out of politics is good for democracy, it’s good for Alberta. The NDP even accepted one of our amendments, which shows some progress,” said Jean. “But there is still a horrendous loophole in this legislation; unions can actually pay their employees to volunteer for a political party. We don’t think that’s right.”

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“We tried to get the NDP government to close that loophole, but they wouldn’t budge,” he added.

Alberta’s NDP has traditionally gained about 10 per cent of its funding from unions, while the PCs have relied heavily on corporate donations.

READ MORE: Throne speech: NDP plan higher taxes for wealthy Albertans, big business 

With files from Melissa Ramsay, Global News

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