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UCP reveals affordable housing review panel

Last week, Josephine Pon, Alberta’s minister over seniors and housing, announced that she had created an expert panel to review affordable housing in the province.

Last week, Josephine Pon, Alberta’s minister over seniors and housing, announced that she had created an expert panel to review affordable housing in the province.

Mickey Amery, the MLA for Calgary–Cross will chair the committee.

According to the announcement, the panel will “transform” affordable housing. It will identify ways to “make the affordable housing system better serve Albertans” and “make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars”.

That last one sounds like cuts.

Speaking of which, the panel has 4 main considerations:

  1. The role the government plays in providing affordable housing
  2. Simplifying or easing regulatory structures that create costs and red tape for housing providers
  3. Gaps in the current affordable housing system
  4. Innovative approaches that will enable government and its partners to meet increasing demand for affordable housing

Personally, I like #3.

#1 sounds like the government wants to get out of some (all?) aspects of affordable housing. Maybe even privatize it?

I found #2 interesting: simplify or ease regulatory structures that create costs”. So they want to ultimately reduce costs for providers? Why? Profits are too low?

And #4. You know, I’ve always had an issue when the government uses “innovative approaches” to describe public services. It often ends up with private funding models, cuts, or both.

Anyhow, here are the panel members:

  • Paul Boskovich
  • Lauren Ingalls
  • Jeffrey Johnson
  • Sam Kolias
  • Javaid (Jerry) Naqvi
  • Marcia Nelson
  • Raymond Swonek
  • Sasha Tsenkova
  • Rachelle Venne

Paul Boskovich is president of Genstar Development Company, a real estate developer. There’s no record of Boskovich making political donations, but his company has made several to the PC party: $500 each to Cindy Ady’s and Guy Boutilier’s 2004 election campaigns as well as to the party’s election campaign; $425 to the party in 2006 and 2007 each, as well as $850 in 2008; ; $500 each to Ady’s and Ron Stevens’ 2008 election campaign; $500 to Diane Colley-Urquhart’s 2009 byelection campaign; $500 to Dave Hancock’s 2012 election campaign; $600 to the Calgary–Hays constituency association; $600 in 2008, $500 in 2013, and $500 in 2014 to the St. Albert constituency association; $2,000 to the party in 2014; $500 to Stephen Mandel’s 2014 PC byelection campaign; $1,000 to the Calgary–Greenway constituency association in 2015; and $500 each to the 2015 campaigns of Dave Rodney, Jeff Wilson, and Rick Fraser, as well as $250 to Kyle Fawcett’s campaign. That’s a total of $12,400.

Lauren Ingalls is the executive director of Westwinds Communities, the largest provider of subsidized and affordable rental housing for families and individuals living within Foothills County. There were no records of political donations for Ingalls.

Jeffrey Johnson was a PC MLA from 2008 to 2015. He served as minister of education and later as minister of seniors for part of that time. In 2013, he faced an investigation by the privacy commissioner for accessing teacher registration records to obtain email addresses of teachers to email in the middle of contract negotiations. Naturally, he donated to the PC party while he was in office, but he made one donation to the party in 2016 of $500. Since then, his donations have gone to the UCP: $187.50 to the St. Albert constituency association and $450 to the Calgary–Edgemont constituency association in 2018; $650 again to Calgary–Edgemont in 2019, as well as $750 to the Morinville–St. Albert constituency assocaiton; and $1,930 to the party in 2019. That’s $4,467.50.

Sam Kolias is the co-founder, chair, and CEO of Boardwalk REIT, a real estate investment firm. He’s made several donations connected to the PC party: $950 to the Calgary–West constituency association in 2009; $1,000 to the Calgary–Edgemont constituency association in both 2011 and 2012; $2,000 to Alison Redford’s 2012 campaign; $5,000 to the party’s 2012 campaign; $500 to the party in 2014; $2,000 each to Gordon Dirks, Jim Prentice, Mike Ellis, and Mandel during for their 2014 byelection campaigns; $1,000 each to Rick Hanson and Dirks for their 2015 campaign, as well $15,000 to the party’s campaign. He also donated $2,250 to the party in 2016. As well, he donated $2,000 to Roy Alexander’s Wildrose campaign in 2012. Finally, he donated $5,000 to Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership campaign in 2014 and $12,750.00 to Jason Kenney’s PC leadership campaign in 2017. Boardwalk also donated $1,000 each in both 2005 and 2006 to Kenney as federal MP, and Kolias donated $9,100 to Kenney while he was an MP.

As well, there were 2 donations of $1,000 each made in the name of Sam’s spouse, Melissa (who also works at Boardwalk), in 2011 and 2012, both to the Calgary–Edgemont PC constituency association. There were also 3 donations of $1,000 each made in the name of Sam’s child, Samantha (who also works at Boardwalk), in 2011, 2012, and 2013 to the same constituency association and to the Calgary–Acadia constituency association.

Sam’s brother Van (who also works at the family business) also donated to the PC party: $2,000 in 2004 to Ralph Klein’s campaign; $950 in 2009 to the Calgary–West constituency association; $1,000 to the Calgary–Edgemont constituency association in both 2011 and 2012; also in 2012, $2,000 to Redford’s campaign and $5,000 to the party’s campaign; $500 to the party in 2014; and $1,000 in 2015 to Dirks and Hanson each for their campaigns. Van also donated $5,000 to Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership bid.

Finally, the family company itself has made donations to the PC party: $1,000 to the Calgary–Nose Creek PC constituency association in 2004; in 2004, $1,000 to Gary Mar and $900 to Jon Lord for their campaigns; $850 in 2007 to the party; $2,000 each in 2008 to Stevens, Stelmach, Lloyd Snelgrove, and Ray Danyluk for their campaigns, as well as $10,000 to the party for their campaign; $1,000 in 2009 to the Calgary–West constituency association; $1,000 to the Calgary–Edgemont constituency association in both 2011 and 2012; , as well as $5,500 to the party in 2011 and $4,750 in 2012; $950 to the Calgary–Acadia constituency association in 2012 and $887.50 in 2014; $2,000 in 2012 to Danyluk’s election campaign; $3,750 to the party in 2013; and to the party, $4,250 in 2014 and $3,740 in 2015. He also donated $2,000 to the Wildrose election campaign in 2012.

If you add that all up, it comes to $81,900 donated to the PC and Wildrose parties—including donations for 5 of the last 6 premiers—by the family and $52,587.50 donated directly from the business. Plus $11,100 to Kenney as an MP. That’s a total of $145,187.50.

And that’s not including their cousin Ike’s donations to the PCs and UCP.

Jerry Naqvi is the chair and founder of Cameron Development Corporation, a commercial real estate developer. Jerry has a varied donation history. He donated $500 to the Alberta NDP in 2004; $2,780 to the PCs in 2010; $450 to the St. Albert constituency association in 2014; in the 2015 election $1000 to Ric McIver, $250 to Harma Kandola, and $500 each to Mandel and Stephen Khan, for their PC campaigns; $4,000 to the Edmonton–Millwoods PC constituency association in 2016; $1,192 to the NDP in 2017; $2,062.50 to the Alberta Party and $1,937.50 to the NDP in 2018; $500 to the Alberta Party and $1,000 to the NDP in 2019; $400 each in 2019 to the Edmonton–Castle Downs UCP constituency association and the Edmonton–Riverview UCP constituency association in 2019; and $500 tp the Alberta Party during last year’s election campaign. He also donated $4,000 to Brian Jean’s UCP leadership bid in 2017. That’s a total of $20,822 in donations.

Jerry’s son Cameron, who’s the company’s president, donated $4,000 in 2018 to Shaping Alberta’s Future, a political action committee that backed the UCP leading up to last year’s election. He also donated $1,000 to the UCP nomination campaign of Sohail Quadri last year. As well, he donated $424 to the PC party in 2010; $750 in 2015 to Tony Caterina’s PC campaign; $1000 to the NDP in 2018; $500 each to the NDP and Alberta Party in 2019; and $500 to the Alberta Party during last year’s election campaign. That’s a total of $8,675 in donations.

Jerry’s daughter, Tina, who’s the company’s CEO, donated $4,000 to the Edmonton–Millwoods PC constituency association in 2016; $1,000 to the NDP each in 2018 and in 2019. That’s $6,000 in donations.

There were several donations made in the name of Henrietta Naqvi, Jerry’s spouse: $500 to the NDP in 2004 and $1000 in 2018; $2,975 to the Alberta Party in 2018; and $400 to the Calgary–Buffalo UCP constituency association in 2019. That’s $4,875 in donations.

Altogether, the Naqvi family has donated over $40,000 to various political parties and candidates over the last 16 years.

Marcia Nelson is an executive fellow at the University of Calgary in the Canadian Centre for Advanced Leadership in Business within the Haskayne School of Business, as well as in the School of Public Policy. From 2002 to 2015, she was employed by the Government of Alberta, most recently as deputy minister of innovation and advanced education. There were no records of political donations for Nelson.

Raymond Swonek is the CEO of GEF Seniors Housing, the largest provider of subsidized seniors’ housing in Alberta. There were no records of political donations for Swonek.

Sasha Tsenkova is a professor of planning and international development with the University of Calgary’s faculty of environmental design. There were no records of political donations for Tsenkova.

Rachelle Venne is the CEO with the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. Venne donated $300 to the Alberta NDP in each of 2017 and 2018. Her mother, Muriel, who was the founder of IAAW, donated over $11,000 to the NDP between 2006 and 2019.

Also, what’s up with so many donations to the St. Albert constituency?

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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