Candidates hesitant on releasing donations origins
Only two City of Airdrie municipal election candidate chose to disclose campaign donors to the Airdrie City View prior to the Oct. 21 election.
Of the 15 candidates, 12 responded to emails and only Darrell Belyk and Fred Burley, citing local businesses as donors, disclosed their supporters.
Election candidates are not required to release names or amounts of donations made to their campaign before the election date, but are legally required to release donors names and amounts after the election has closed.
Most of the candidates told the City View their campaigns was “self-funded” and others said they were “not accepting donations.”
Others would admit that their campaign was in part funded by donations, but wouldn’t release the names or amounts.
“Even though I’m trying to be transparent and open I can’t release the names, but they are local community supporters,” said Rob Jamieson, alderman candidate running for the first time.
Jamieson – who is on leave from a local radio station to run for election – explained that anonymity was part of the donation process.
Despite his decision not to disclose his supporters, he said transparency is important in local politics.
“I think with the way politics works, it is definitely important to know who is supporting who (it can affect votes),” he said. “I want votes to come because of what I can do.”
Kevin Galley, alderman candidate also running for the first time, would not release the donation information before the election, as “he would prefer not to … (but) will release after the campaign.”
Mohamed Benini, owner of Avacab Taxis and Cowboy Taxi, explained that his campaign is “self-funded and will not be accepting donations, however (he) will be accepting votes.”
Benini estimates that his campaign budget is less than $2,000.
Current Alderman Kelly Hegg, also explained that his campaign is selffunded by himself and his wife, but said he would release any major donations that arise.
For his 2010 campaign, Hegg received $500 in donations and contributed $1,889 toward his election run, according to City reports.
Kevin Hughes – one fourth of the Airdrie Team United group – explained that his campaign is “self-funded” as well, but the Team would be hosting a fundraiser for campaign donations on Oct. 10 at the Overtime Lounge, where tickets will cost $40.
The three other political components of Airdrie Team United – Angela Pitt, Mike De Bokx and Jane Anderson – all told the City View that their campaigns were also “self-funded.”
Anderson, mother of Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson and member of the provincial Wild Rose Party along with fellow teammate Angela Pitt, stated that she will be funding her campaign by herself.
The City View tried numerous times to clarify that no donations were received towards Anderson’s campaign, as Rob stated in a letter to the editor in another media outlet that he had made a campaign donation to his mother’s cause.
Anderson did not return emails as of press time.
Political newcomer, Ken Maines – owner of Race Track RV – explained that he “will not be taking donations, (and that the campaign) is (his) expense.”
Candice Kolson – manager of the Airdrie Farmer’s Market - explained that her campaign was “100 per cent self-funded and because of her business ethics” that she will not be collecting donations, despite “having many people ask.”
The first candidate that disclosed his campaign donations was Belyk. This will be his second time running for a seat on City council as he unsuccessfully ran in the 2010 election.
Donations made to Belyk’s campaign to date came from Vitreous Glass Inc. and Il-Fona Restaurant.
According to City reports, Belyk received $1,000 in donations in 2010, and contributed $3,675 towards his campaign. Vitreous Glass Inc. was also a sponsor of his campaign in 2010.
Current Alderman Fred Burley was the second to release his campaign donations, with one donation coming from Westmark Holdings and the other a personal donation from a friend.
“I have no problem releasing that information,” he said. “I usually get $750 in donations.”
However, according to reports from the City, Burley received $1,150 in donations in 2010 towards his campaign and contributed $2,917 of his own funds. The largest donation Burley received was $500.
According to the City of Airdrie archives, requested by the City View, a total of $55,202 was received from donations to candidates in the 2010 election campaigns, with the biggest donations coming from Mattamy Homes with a $5,000 donation to both current acclaimed City of Airdrie mayor Peter Brown and former mayor Linda Bruce.
Also included in the report, current alderman Ron Chapman received $1,895 in donations towards his 2010 campaign, and contributed $2,027 of his own money towards the cause.
Allan Hunter, fellow current councillor, received $9,736 in donations towards his campaign three years ago and contributed $3,223 of his own funds, according to City records.
The largest donation to Hunter’s campaign came from The Desert Pita and Grill in northeast Calgary who contributed $4,636.
The following candidates did not respond as of press time: current aldermen Chapman, Hunter and newcomer Richard Douglas Herdman.