Premier Christy Clark is defending a move by a pair of senior cabinet ministers to participate in political fundraising in Alberta for the 2013 election in British Columbia.
Energy Minister Rich Coleman and Community Minister Bill Bennett are to attend a $125-per ticket fundraiser in Calgary on Thursday for the campaign of Doug Clovechok, the B.C. Liberal candidate in Columbia River-Revelstoke. The B.C. Liberals noted that invitations were sent out to business people in both B.C. and Alberta.
"You might be surprised at the political stripes of politicians in B.C. who go to Alberta and do fundraisers," Ms. Clark told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the issue, adding that such fundraising has happened in previous elections.
"Remember this: There are companies that are based in Toronto, that are based in Calgary, that are based all across the country that have a big investment in making sure that British Columbia succeeds."
Mike McDonald, the B.C. Liberal campaign director, said the move by Calgary-born Mr. Clovechock, currently manager of the Invermere campus of the College of the Rockies, made sense because of his previous career links to Alberta, and also a geographic political base with close ties to Alberta.
"It's tough raising money. You raise it where you think you can find it," he said.
Michael Roy, spokesman for the B.C. New Democrats, said the party has accepted donations from companies not based in B.C. that, nonetheless, do business in this province, but that he could not recall any fundraisers outside the province.
Still, he noted that there are undoubtedly individual donors to the party, who do not live in B.C. but support the B.C. NDP cause.
News of the effort comes amidst reports that Jim Shepard, a former Canfor CEO and adviser to Ms. Clark, is planning to run a $1-million advertising campaign, financed by private donations, to argue for the Liberals ahead of the May. 14 election. The effort would be managed through his group Concerned Citizens for B.C.