The Daryl Katz campaign contribution scandal continued to grow this week, as:
- Elections Alberta launched an investigation into whether the Edmonton Oilers owner’s reported $300,000 in donations — 20% of all money raised by the Progressive Conservative Party this spring — broke the law. Meanwhile, members of the opposition New Democratic Party questioned why the Alberta government doubled fees for pharmacists giving flu shots this year — a boon to Katz’ Rexall pharmacy chain.
- Alberta finance minister Doug Horner said the province turned down both Katz’ request for arena funding and his request for a casino license regardless of the campaign money, saying that donations don’t affect policy decisions.
- Alberta municipal affairs chief Doug Griffiths says an Oilers arena would be “eligible” to use money from a provincial development fund, but insists Katz’ donations have nothing to do with this ruling, saying he “never considered him at all” in funding decisions.
- Calgary pols are starting to gripe that Edmonton shouldn’t get any extra arena money before they get the light-rail funds they’ve been promised, dammit.
At this point, the exact details of whether Katz bought votes (or tried to) for his arena project are less important than the fact that anyone in the province who didn’t already hate him surely does now, and it’s going to be nearly impossible now for him to get any support for increased funding without people metaphorically hurling rotten fruit his way. (Do they hurl metaphorical rotten fruit in Canada? Rotten donuts?) Time heals all wounds, eventually, but as Tom Ricketts can tell you, that can take an awful lot of time.