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Redford nearly quadrupled Smith’s fundraising sums in last Alberta election, documents show

Alberta Premier Alison Redford during a press conference in Calgary April 24, 2012 after being elected premier Monday night.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Alberta's Progressive Conservatives may have lost their fundraising edge, but Premier Alison Redford is no slouch in her home riding.

According to individual candidates' financial documents filed with Elections Alberta and posted online Thursday, Ms. Redford raked in $191,964.87 in her bid for re-election during fundraising events as well as from donations made by individuals and businesses.

That compares to Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, now Official Opposition leader, who raised $57,070 from contributors and at fundraising events.

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Despite polls that suggested Wildrose could form government in last April's election, Ms. Redford's Progressive Conservatives rode a surge of late momentum and won a massive majority. Ms. Smith now leads a caucus of 17 in the 87-seat legislature.

The candidates' financial reports also reveal the names of people or companies who donated more than $375 during the four-week campaign. They include a series of energy companies donating to Ms. Redford, energy minister Ken Hughes and environment minister Diana McQueen.

The maximum contribution from a individual registered candidate is $2,000, and $10,000 in aggregate to all registered candidates from the same party, Elections Alberta spokesman Drew Westwater said.

Ms. Redford's reported donors, meanwhile, are a who's-who of the province's business community. Those that donated more than $375 include utility giant Atco Ltd. (and its CEO Nancy Southern), Cenovus Energy Inc. (and its CEO Brian Ferguson), Encana Corp., Marathon Oil Canada Corp., Northwest Upgrading Inc., Precision Drilling Corp. (and its CEO Kevin Neveu), Talisman Energy Inc. and Telus Corp.

Calgary corporate leaders including George Brookman, Pat Daniel, Murray Edwards and Brett Wilson also donated to Ms. Redford.

Ms. Redford spent $154,345.53 in her re-election campaign, and reported a surplus of $100,109.68, including money saved from previous campaigns and transferred from her party.

Ms. Smith's supporters, meanwhile, were mostly developers and real estate companies, rather than big oil. While Encana gave each leader $1,000, Mr. Ferguson of Cenovus gave $1,000 to Ms. Smith and $2,000 to Ms. Redford.

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According to Ms. Smith's financial documents, she spent $55,010.97 on her campaign and came out with a surplus of $14,559.03.

During the election campaign, Ms. Smith's Wildrose said it had raised $2.37-million, ahead of the PCs at $1.8-million. It was a rare loss for the PCs, who have traditionally been able to vastly outspend their political rivals. PC Campaign strategist Stephen Carter has said the party's donations spiked in the final days as Wildrose suffered a series of gaffes. The parties' formal financial disclosures will be released Oct. 23.

Many companies, such as Atco Ltd., donated to several candidates.

Mr. Hughes, a Redford ally who became energy minister after the election, raised $55,273.75 in his west-Calgary riding, including several contributions from executives with Maxim Power Corp., which is rushing to build a new coal power plant in Alberta before new federal regulations kick in. Maxim CEO John Bobenic, Vice President of Corporate Services Kim Karran, Vice President of Finance Mike Mayder and Vice President of Operations Jamie Urquhart each donated $2,000 – a total of $8,000 to a man who became energy minister.

Former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jim Prentice also donated $1,000 to Mr. Hughes, as most of Mr. Prentice's former federal caucus colleagues lined up behind Wildrose. Other donors included energy companies, prominent energy executives as well as Alberta Health Services board chair Cathy Roozen (the successor to Mr. Hughes in that post).

Ms. McQueen, the environment minister, raised $23,919.75 much of it from industry. Her donations included $1,000 from Encana Corp., a major natural gas producer; $500 from oil sands company Cenovus Energy; $500 from Atco Ltd.; $500 from Marathon Oil Corp., a Texas-based energy company and oil sands investor; $500 from Lydell Logging, which is based in Drayton Valley, a small community where Ms. McQueen once served as mayor; and $1,000 from Weyerhauser Canada Inc., which permanently closed a mill in Drayton Valley four years ago.

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Only 12 candidates of the 431 people who ran in the last provincial election missed last week's filing deadline, according to Mr. Westwater. Every MLA filed on time, he added. The maximum contribution from a individual registered candidate is $2,000, and $10,000 in aggregate to all registered candidates from the same party, Mr. Westwater said.

Liberal Leader Raj Sherman, whose party managed to hold onto five seats but lost Official Opposition status, spent $48,199.61 on his own campaign. He raised $28,579 in contributions from individuals and businesses, including the Alberta Medical Association and several trade unions. After dipping into the surplus from the last election, Dr. Sherman reported coming out of the election with a small surplus of $834.57.

NDP Leader Brian Mason spent $34,610.82 on his campaign - exactly the same amount he received from the party. He reported no fundraising or donations to his campaign. The NDP has a long standing policy not to accept corporate donations, but will accept donations from individuals. His party doubled its seat count to four from two in the election.

PC stalwart Doug Horner, a former leadership hopeful whose supporters led Ms. Redford to become premier, raised $84,684.12 in donations. Atco Ltd, Encana Corp, TELUS and CN are among his supporters, as well as prominent local business leaders. Mr. Horner entered the campaign as deputy premier, and is now finance minister.

It wasn't all rosy for PC candidates, particularly in southern Alberta, where Wildrose support is strong. Former Agriculture Minister Evan Berger raised $18,675, including $1,900 from energy companies and $1,000 from a local farm. Mr. Berger lost his seat, and has since been appointed to a lucrative job in Alberta's civil service.

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About the Authors
Dawn Walton

Dawn Walton has been based in Calgary for The Globe and Mail since 2000. Before leaving Toronto to head West, she won a National Newspaper Award and was twice nominated for the Michener Award for her work with the Report on Business. More

Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

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