Most of these type of organizations do not make political donations or sponsorships at all.
The Alberta Liberal opposition has drawn a connection between the actions of government-supervised agricultural marketing organizations and funding received from government agencies.
Official Opposition Leader David Swann is condemning Premier Ed Stelmach for allowing his Progressive Conservative party to accept sponsorships from taxpayer-funded organizations created and overseen by Conservative governments. A list of sponsors at the recent PC annual general meeting includes the Alberta Milk Producers and the Alberta Turkey Producers, both receive funds from the taxpayer-funded Alberta Livestock Meat Agency (ALMA).
Swann said that ALMA is currently funding over $640,000 in Alberta Milk projects and over $27,000 in Alberta Turkey projects. According to the Alberta Liberals, from the PC AGM sponsorship itself, Alberta Milk has donated thousands of dollars to the Progressive Conservative party.
The opposition leader has accused the Stelmach government of dodging the issue of government-directed organizations funding Conservative party events. He said the refusal to even acknowledge how improper this type of sponsorship is reveals just how arrogant this government has become.
“If you follow the money, you can see that the party in power has created an environment in which public funds are too easily diverted to partisan ends.”
In the legislature, Premier Stelmach stated, “These are not government organizations.
These are producer groups, and it’s their money.”
During question period in the legislature in response to the opposition leader’s statements on the PC party meeting list of sponsors, Premier Stelmach asked. “Would he be able to tell this House how many of those companies on that list have actually given money to the Liberal party?”
However, according to the Alberta Liberal party media office, they have received no political donations of any significance from agriculture commissions or marketing boards.
A spokesperson for the Alberta Beef Producers has stated that to the best of their knowledge their organization has not made any donations to any political parties. The Alberta Pork and Alberta Lamb Producers organizations have also not made any donations to political parties. All three livestock organizations have recently seen the mandatory application of their checkoffs removed by the Minister of Agriculture.