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Meet The Aggrieved CEO and Saskatchewan Party Insiders Behind Alberta’s New Right-wing Billboard Campaign

CGC filed an interim report with Elections Canada, reporting $15,000 from only two donors

WestWatch, a political advertiser headed by Saskatchewan Party insiders and donors, is targeting Alberta’s non-Conservative MPs, with a billboard campaign, ahead of the Federal election.

As PressProgress reported previously, WestWatch is a project of the Canada Growth Council. The CGC was founded by Saskatchewan party insiders and donors. They also appear to provide much of the funding for the council.

The latest WestWatch campaign targets Liberal MPs Kent Hehr in Calgary and Randy Boissonnault and Amarjeet Sohi in Edmonton, after WestWatch previously targeted Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

As of July 2, the group had filed an interim financial disclosure with Elections Canada. It claims $10,872.50 in expenses from $15,000 in donations.

The group’s top known donor is E. Craig Lothian. Lothian is listed as the President and CEO of the energy company Keystone Royalty Corp and chair of Lex Capital Management, a private equity firm in Regina ⁠– he gave $10,000 to the campaign.

Lothian told PressProgress he began supporting the campaign after feeling ignored by the Liberal government.

“Ralph refused to meet with either myself, or with my business partner, Dean Popil, CEO of Lex Capital Management Inc. Clearly, he wasn’t interested in hearing from his constituents” Lothian said.

Lothian said, further, as a result of pipeline delays and other federal energy regulations, “Ralph Goodale and his Liberal government have cost me millions of dollars in the past 3+ years.” Feeling snubbed, he told PressProgress, he decided to put his efforts towards unseating the minister and the governing party.

“Measured in that perspective, the $10,000 was a rounding error,” he said.

Lothian’s companies also donated over $14,000 to the Saskatchewan Party between 2016 and 2018.

And the Regina Leader Post reported Lothian was appointed by the Wall government as one of the founding directors of Enterprise Saskatchewan. The Post noted that came after his “companies donated a combined $8,330 to the Saskatchewan Party.”

The interim Elections Canada disclosure also shows an additional $5,000 was given to the CGC by a company held by board-member Eric Clark.

Elections Canada

Corporate filings show several CGC board members, including Clark, have ties to the Saskatchewan Party:

  • Tyler Willox: top individual donor to the Saskatchewan Party in 2018.
  • Eric Clark: former member of the Saskatchewan Party’s Board of Directors.
  • Derek Robinson: former top communications staffer under Brad Wall.

Filings also show the address CGC incorporated at is that of Kanuka Thuringer LLP, a Regina-based law firm that represents natural resource companies. The firm also donated $23,200 to the Saskatchewan Party in  2016.

 

Correction: This story has been updated to clarify that Mr. Lothian was appointed to Enterprise Saskatchewan, not the Saskatchewan Party. 

 

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PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

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