University of Lethbridge and the Wildrose Party

Earlier today, the Wildrose Party released information that accused the University of Lethbridge of illegally donating money to the Progressive Conservative party through golf tournaments and Premier Dinners.

This is following the recent allegations that different public organizations, such as municipalities and other academic institutions, have illegally donated through political fundraisers; as well as accusations that MLA’s are soliciting donations from sources that are illegal under the Election Finances and Contributions Act.

A serious issue to be sure, and one that many have noted is sadly unsurprising due to the way politics is in Alberta and the dominance a massive party 40 years in power has over the entire province.

The University of Lethbridge has responded to the allegations made by the Wildrose Alliance Party:

The University of Lethbridge responds to today’s allegations by the Wildrose Party as follows:

1.    In the fall 2005, the University of Lethbridge was notified of changes to the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.

2.    As soon as the University of Lethbridge was notified of changes to the Act, University Administration, the Board of Governors and the Board Finance and Audit Committee took immediate steps to ensure the University was in compliance with the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.

3.    There is a Board of Governors Policy in place, which reflects the Act’s guidelines and prohibits the University from purchasing tickets to political party fundraising functions where the cost per ticket exceeds $25.

4.    This policy was implemented upon notification of changes to the Act and was discussed at the first opportunity with the Board of Governors.

5.    The University has strictly adhered to this Policy.  Individuals who attend functions hosted by any political party are not reimbursed by the University.

6.    The October 2007 expense referenced in the Wildrose release complies with the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act in that it was not a contribution to a political party.  It was an event organized by a student group.

7.    There have been no expenses that violate the University of Lethbridge Board Policy or the Province of Alberta Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act since the policy and Act were implemented six years ago.

At this time, this statement is the University’s immediate response.

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