Regina candidates split on paying for political fundraisers

April 23, 2012 - 6:46am Updated: April 23, 2012 - 10:30am
Canadian Money. News Talk file photo
Canadian Money. News Talk file photo

There is a divide amongst the five declared mayoral candidates in Regina about whether or not it's appropriate to use taxpayer dollars to buy tickets to political fundraising dinners.

They insist it isn't meant to be a political gesture but thousands of dollars are being spent annually by councillors, the mayor, and the library board on tickets to the NDP and Saskatchewan Party leadership dinners.

Spending taxpayer money on political fundraisers is not allowed in Saskatoon and illegal in Alberta.

Current city councillor Michael Fougere says he has spent his travel and communications allowance on such events. He said these events are used only for lobbying for city causes and nothing more.

"I am not donating to a political party, I am buying a ticket to go to an event, that's all it is," he explained. "They receive it that way and they must report it that way but that doesn't mean that is what I am doing."

Fougere's opponents Meka Okochi and Chad Novak don't think council should be relying on paid events to have their voice heard.

"There's a lot more opportunities for interacting with the government through other means, so I don't see a real purpose for these kind of events," Novak commented.

Jim Elliott who is also on the ballot for mayor agrees, saying councillors should pay out of their funded expenses.

David Robert Loblaw said councillors should not attend political fundraising events at all, saying municipal politicans shouldn't risk being influenced by provincial parties.

Edited by News Talk Radio's Adriana Christianson