Take Back Alberta director lashes out at Alberta election investigation

Take Back Alberta is widely believed to wield considerable influence in the UCP government.

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The leader of a political action group with close ties to the UCP is attacking Elections Alberta for investigating his political donation practices.

David Parker, who heads Take Back Alberta (TBA), said he refuses to hand over a list of donors to the elections watchdog he accuses of corruption.

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“They are demanding that I release the full list of donors to Take Back Alberta. “This is a violation of the Election Act, as Take Back Alberta donors were not donating for political advertising,” he said in a March 15 post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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“I will not release the names of our donors so they can be harassed by left-wing activists.”

He said he was summoned to appear before Alberta election officials on Friday and said his group is organizing a protest outside his Edmonton office that day.

The TBA is widely believed to wield considerable influence over the UCP government, on issues such as recently announced limitations on medical treatment for trans youth and vaccine policy.

Those with close ties to TBA occupy much of the UCP board, and the group takes credit for unseating former premier Jason Kenney and securing the leadership of current premier Daniel Smith, who is a friend of Parker.

The party has vehemently denied receiving instructions from TBA.

Parker said the group is being unfairly attacked “for simply teaching people how their democracy works and encouraging people to get involved in their democracy.”

Elections Alberta does not comment on ongoing investigations, but does make the results public, agency spokesperson Robyn Bell said.

But he said that “the investigation of any possible violation of the Election Finance and Contributions Disclosure Act is within the authority of the election commissioner.”

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Many, including political scientist Duane Bratt of Mount Royal University, say the group can be argued to be orchestrating UCP politics, such as allowing political parties to compete in municipal elections.

And he noted that other third-party advertisers publicly list their donors.

“Everyone else does it, at least those who aren’t sanctioned by Elections Alberta,” Bratt said.

On its website, TBA promotes a petition to arrest NDP Leader Rachel Notley with the message: “We are aware that Alberta has a long history of conservative leadership and that the NDP does not represent the values ​​of the majority of Albertans.”

TBA also takes policy positions consistent with those of the UCP government, although Bratt said that’s not an issue with Elections Alberta, although how the two coordinate on it might be.

In X, Parker insisted Elections Alberta operates a double standard by failing to investigate concerns about “collusion between the Alberta NDP and unions.”

Elections Alberta did not comment on that allegation, nor did the Alberta NDP.

No one from TBA responded to requests for comment.

[email protected]

X (Twitter): @BillKaufmannjrn

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