Columbia River-Revelstoke candidate for the BC Liberals, Doug Clovechok, attended a fundraiser for his campaign in Calgary last Thursday (January 17) night with some big names from his party, including Deputy Premier Rich Coleman and Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Bill Bennett.
Holding a political fundraiser out of province has raised some eyebrows, and in fact Premier Christy Clark defended the fundraiser in the Globe and Mail the day prior.
Clovechok defends it as well, though he said he was a bit surprised at a “little tiny fundraiser turning into a national event”.
“This is not an unusual thing as other parties including our provincial NDP raise money in other provinces,” Clovechok said.
He said he wasn’t aware if the NDP had ever actually held a fundraiser out of province, but that it wasn’t that unusual.
The $125 a plate dinner was held at the Delta Bow Valley in Calgary. Invitation letters, signed by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) owner Murray Edwards, were sent out to business people in both Alberta and B.C.
“RCR owns two resorts in Columbia River-Revelstoke — Kicking Horse and Kimberley — and one in Bill’s riding (Fernie). I am grateful to Murray for doing this,” Clovechok said.
Edwards did not organize the fundraiser, he said.
“The event was organized by Rod Love, who is helping with our campaign, and a group of senior Calgary business men. This is a unique opportunity for us to raise some funds, but also to promote our area to Albertans. We call Albertans our friends and neighbours. I am going to Alberta representing the people I hope to represent after the next election, the people of Columbia River Revelstoke. We are Alberta friendly, we want Albertans to invest in this area and are open to Albertans doing business here. Columbia River-Revelstoke is Alberta friendly, but I will be representing British Columbians, not Albertans.”
However, Clovechok said that as second homeowners at many resort communities in this riding, Albertans do pay taxes and contribute to the economy.
“I get so many phone calls from Albertans who have bought in this riding who want to know where their tax dollars are going. They can’t vote, but my office will be open to them. Currently I’ve been told by countless Albertans that they have tried to write to Norm Macdonald (NDP MLA) with questions and have received little support.”
Macdonald categorically denies that he doesn’t respond to requests for assistance wherever they come from or that he fundraises out of province.
“When?” he asked of the out-of-province fundraising. “I know where I raise my money. We raise money from the people in our area. We get it $100 to $200 at a time. Where our campaigns are successful is in volunteers.
“The BC Liberal candidate will have all sorts of money but we will simply outwork him on the ground. We have won the last two elections spending less money than any other winning campaign. That speaks to a whole lot of people — from Kimberley to Revelstoke and across this riding — putting their time and effort into the political process and I am very proud of that. It roots you in doing what is best for all people as a whole rather than a vested interest.”
Macdonald also said he does hear from Albertans.
“What Mr. Clovechok is asserting is wrong. We do a good job responding to anything that comes to us. But I represent the people of Columbia RiverRevelstoke. The idea of holding a fundraiser in another province brings up questions. Who are you beholden to?
“We do hear from Albertans and they complain about gas prices which have increased dramatically because of BC Liberal policy. They complain about the HST, which was official BC Liberal policy. They complain about second homes purchases being impacted by the HST, which until recently were flatlined because of BC Liberal policy. These complaints go directly to very controversial BC Liberal policies.”
Clovechok said the timing of the fundraiser was opportune as both Coleman and Bennett had other business in Calgary at the same time.
Carolyn Grant is the editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin.