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Take Back Alberta Founder Vows to Fight Election Watchdog’s Investigation Into Donors

Far-right organizer David Parker admits there are large donors, warns “It’s a dangerous game messing with the powerful.”

Take Back Alberta is being subpoenaed to reveal its financial backers after repeated refusals by founder David Parker.

Parker has been summoned by the election watchdog Elections Alberta after repeatedly refusing to cooperate with investigators over the far-right group’s funding and political activity. 

He will appear in Edmonton on Friday with what he hopes will be a throng of supporters to join him in protest.

“Corruption at Elections Alberta must end,” Parker told PressProgress, in reference to his belief that the organization is controlled by his political enemies. “I have zero obligation to report to them under law.”

Nevertheless, Parker says he will speak to investigators Friday in Edmonton, which will likely involve many questions surrounding who funds the group.

Parker, who is a personal friend of Premier Danielle Smith and has organized thousands of supporters to influence the United Conservative Party at AGM’s, is vowing to do everything he can to prevent opening the books on his organization.

Campaigns driven by TBA organizers have ranged from anti-LGBTQ2SA+ demonstrations, far-right speaking events, and late night election training seminars for members.

All donations over $250 to a third party political organization must be reported to Elections Alberta with the donor names, which are posted publicly online. Donations can go as high as $30,000. Elections Alberta has the power to levy fines for violations of the rules.

Parker admits there are large donors who have contributed in the thousands, though they remain a mystery for now. He says he intends to keep it that way.

“I wouldn’t want to be naming those donors if I was Elections Alberta,” Parker said. “It’s a dangerous game messing with the powerful.”

He also says he will post the full interview with Elections Alberta online.

TBA reported zero donations and zero expenditures as a registered election advertiser, despite frequent fundraising appeals to supporters. Parker denies any election advertising.

“The subpoena is because I have been canceling my interviews with them the day of to piss them off because this investigation is a witch hunt,” Parker said. “I’ll answer any question they have.”

Parker isn’t the only person affiliated with the right wing group who has drawn the attention of the Elections Alberta investigation. 

In one of a series of emails sent out to supporters over the last week, Parker said “many of the volunteers in our team who were key in planning and organizing our events” had been pulled in.

One such figure is former TBA Chief Financial Officer Marco Van Huigenbos, who is facing criminal charges for mischief over $5,000 relating to his role in the Coutts border blockade. He worked with Parker early-on as they grew the organization. 

Van Huigenbos, who has since had a public falling out with Parker, told PressProgress in November that he had already been in contact with Elections Alberta investigators multiple times and that the oversight body is “on the trail” with regards to TBA’s finances. 

Van Huigenbos said he is cooperating with the investigators and expects there will be “things coming down the line that will have consequences for them.” 

He has since declined to comment further.

As for Parker, his declared intent with Elections Alberta is “the resignation of every NDP appointee that works there.”

“That’s the only outcome I’ll accept. I suspect there will be a large crowd.”

TBA is sending out fundraising emails to support a legal team to fight Elections Alberta’s probe.

Regarding the belief that TBA isn’t obligated to open its books to Elections Alberta’s public online database, Parker has stated it’s because TBA is a society. It is, however, registered as a third-party political group in the province.

According to public records, TBA incorporated as a federal non-profit late last year with the intention of expanding to all of the western provinces, and possibly Ontario. 

Plans to expand to BC will be revealed in the near future, Parker recently confirmed.

 

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Stephen Magusiak
Reporter
Stephen Magusiak is PressProgress’ Alberta reporter. His reporting has a focus on public accountability, public services and privatization, and the right-wing war on environmentalists.

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