UCP alleges election law violations by union groups; ATA responds

The UCP says it is eager to work with Elections Alberta to help with their review and investigation.

Later on Wednesday, the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) released a statement calling the allegation by the UCP “unfounded and based on false information.”

The statement in part reads, “The ATA is a nonpartisan organization that has no formal ties or any affiliation with the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) or any other party. There are no “deep structural connections,” and any references to the NDP constitution suggesting otherwise are false in their interpretation.”

The full ATA statement is below:

A news release and corresponding letter sent from the United Conservative Party (UCP) to Elections Alberta accuses the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) of “running an illegal third party advertising campaign.” This allegation is unfounded and based on false information.

The ATA is a nonpartisan organization that has no formal ties or any affiliation with the Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) or any other party. There are no “deep structural connections,” and any references to the NDP constitution suggesting otherwise are false in their interpretation.

The ATA is currently running a nonpartisan campaign focused on raising awareness of education as a matter of general public policy. We have paid close attention to the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act and have ensured that our advertising is in all respects compliant with it. Our campaign does not promote or oppose any party. Nor is it advertising that “takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or registered candidate is associated.”

As is noted in the UCP letter, “public education is quite clearly a major issue that is associated with both the UCP and the NDP.” An issue that is associated with all parties cannot be considered to be associated with any individual party.

Our work in promoting public education is consistent with the objects set out in the Teaching Profession Act, which compel the ATA to “arouse and increase public interest in the importance of education and public knowledge of the aims of education, financial support for education, and other educational matters.” This campaign is similar to numerous information campaigns we have run over the years, at various times, regardless of the timing of elections.

Our efforts to engage our members and the public around public education are nonpartisan in nature, and we have invited representatives from the UCP and the NDP, as the two parties represented in the last legislative assembly, to present to teachers on their visions for public education . If the UCP is interested in discussing this matter, or any of our efforts to promote public education, we would be happy to meet at any time.

We are also prepared to fully cooperate with Elections Alberta should it decide that an investigation into this complaint is warranted.

Read more at LethbridgeNewsNow.com

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