The final week of the provincial election was a busy one, with numerous interesting moments to consider. H+K’s “Top Five” interesting moments for the week of April 27 are below.
1. Business leaders warn of NDP government
This week, five Edmonton businessmen held a press conference to sound the alarm regarding the “alarming” increase in support for the NDP. Lawyer Doug Goss, Melcor Developments chairman Tim Melton, Clark Builders CEO Paul Verhesen, Trust Science president and NPO Zero CEO Ashif Mawji, and Keller Construction’s John Cameron said businesses such as theirs would be unable to support local charities if corporate taxes go up. Collectively, the five have donated almost $95,000 to the Tories since 2010, and some have received significant government contracts within the last five years.
Social media commentators alleged the men are Tory insiders and that it’s inappropriate for them to “coerce Albertans” into voting for the PC Party by threatening to pull charitable donations.
2. Leaked nomination candidate texts
Former PC candidate Jamie Lall leaked his text messages with party executive director Kelley Charlebois and former justice minister Jonathan Denis. Lall sought the PC nomination in Chestermere-Rocky View until the party disqualified him in March.
Texts released by Lall suggest the party was trying to push him out of the nomination race, with Denis warning Lall that he was being “set up.”
Lall, who is now running as an independent, was subject to a restraining order in 2007. He ran for the PC Party in Calgary-Buffalo in the 2012 provincial election. Charlebois noted that the restraining order was what prevented Lall from serving as a candidate. Social media commentators argued the PC Party has been inconsistent in its vetting processes for nominations, given that Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo incumbent Mike Allen—charged in 2014 for solicitation while representing Alberta in the US—was allowed to run.
3. “I’m Voting NDP” – Irreplaceable song
NDP supporters released an amateur parody video this week to the tune of Beyonce’s hit song, “Irreplaceable.”
Lyrics sung by the young supporters include: “To the left, to the left, every single vote in the box to the left.” While the musical merits of this video are questionable, the parody does speak to the NDP’s success in attracting youth and momentum in their campaign.
4. PC leader’s dinner
Despite numerous polls suggesting the PC Party may be in trouble on May 5, the PC Party held a record-setting Edmonton fundraising dinner on April 30. The $500-a-head fundraiser brought in more than $800,000 for the party and had the highest attendance for the event within the last five years.
Premier Jim Prentice used the dinner to rally his troops while cautioning that NDP would “put jobs at risk” and “undermine the heart of Alberta’s economy.” The dinner was sparsely attended by MLAs and party candidates, most of whom remained home in their constituencies to campaign.
5. Former justice minister’s estranged wife fundraises for legal battle
Breanna Palmer, estranged wife of former justice minister Jonathan Denis, attempted to begin an online fundraising campaign this week to raise money for her legal bills. Palmer alleged that Denis was “physically and emotionally abusive” and she needed funds to protect herself in court.
Premier Jim Prentice asked that Denis resign his cabinet post earlier this week because he has an active matter before the courts. During the week, a publication ban prevented media from reporting on Denis and Palmer’s court proceedings. The publication ban has since been lifted and Justice Craig Jones has revoked an emergency protective order against Denis, ruling that although Palmer may feel anxious about Denis’ actions, the case doesn’t warrant the extraordinary measure of a court order.