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Association to shine spotlight on public education

Aim of election advertising will be to raise education’s profile

February 4, 2019 Jen Janzen, ATA News Staff

To comply with new rules around advertising during provincial elections, the Alberta Teachers’ Association has registered as a third-party election advertiser.

According to the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act, a person, corporation or group is required to register when it plans to spend at least $1,000 in election advertising.

Education will always be our priority, no matter who is leading the province.

— Greg Jeffery, ATA president

Although the Association is not a partisan organization, it is responsible for advocating for public education and is planning to ramp up those efforts over the next few months, said ATA president Greg Jeffery.

“We want to ensure that public education is kept top-of-mind throughout the election period,” said Jeffery. “Education will always be our priority, no matter who is leading the province.”

The act places limits on how much money can be used for political and election advertising. Up to $150,000 can be spent before the writ drops and another $150,000 once the election is announced. If a third-party advertiser is found to be in violation, it could face a fine upwards of $100,000.

The Association will spend up to $270,000 on ads, which is the second-highest amount listed among organizations that have registered thus far. Topping the list at $277,000 is a group called Shaping Alberta’s Future, which is connected to several automobile dealerships. Other registrants include the Alberta Medical Association, Firefighters for Alberta, Protect Alberta Kids from Big Tobacco and the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.

As part of the legislation, contributions greater than $250 must be reported to Elections Alberta and will be publicly disclosed and, although contributors may receive official receipts, the receipts aren’t eligible for Alberta income tax credits. ❚

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