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NDP legislation aimed at tackling ‘big money’ in Alberta politics gets royal assent

Alberta Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal Christina Gray (second from left) attends official signing of Bill 35, the Fair Elections Financing Act, on Dec. 14, 2016. CREDIT: Twitter/@ChristinaNDP

An NDP bill aimed at reining in the influence of what the party calls “big money” spent on elections received royal assent Wednesday.

The most significant change brought forward by the Fair Elections Financing Act is a new $4,000 limit on political donations per individual contributor per year. Before, donations to political parties were capped at $15,000 per calendar year and $30,000 in election years.

READ MORE: NDP introduces legislation to tackle ‘big money’ and ‘special interests’ in Alberta politics

“Alberta’s laws will now lead the country in limiting the influence of big money on elections,” Christina Gray, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, said in a statement.

“With this legislation, we are putting an end to loopholes and backroom deals for well-connected friends and insiders of political parties. This act helps ensure a transparent, level playing field for all parties and candidates.”

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The law also limits how much can be spent on campaigns. Political parties’ spending will be capped at $2 million and candidates in individual electoral divisions will see their combined spending limited to a maximum of $50,000.

READ MORE: Alberta NDP looking to cap election spending

Watch below: Tom Vernon filed the following report on Aug. 15, 2016 about the NDP’s plans to reform election campaign spending.

Click to play video: 'Alberta NDP looks to cap election spending' Alberta NDP looks to cap election spending
Alberta NDP looks to cap election spending – Aug 15, 2016

The new law will also limit how much third-party advertisers – including unions and corporations – can spend on election advertising during the writ period to $150,000. Advertising spending is capped at $3,000 in individual electoral divisions.

The Fair Elections Financing Act is also aimed at providing more transparency in terms of who spends money on advertising and how much they spend. Third parties will now have to register with Elections Alberta between elections and divulge their contributions on a sunshine list if they plan to spend $1,000 or more on political advertising. They will also be forced to identify themselves in their ads.

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