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Elections Alberta hands $500 penalty to McLean for taking illegal contributions

Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean has been handed a $500 fine for accepting in-kind donations from businesses during the 2021 campaign.

The donations were in the form of prizes handed out at a campaign style Stampede Breakfast held July 10, 2021.

Speaking by phone Wednesday, Councillor McLean called the violation unintentional and minor. He said he simply thought of the event as a way to pump local business and celebrate Stampede.

In a decision published on the Elections Alberta website, the investigator found McLean's conduct was "unintentional" and that the councillor was "entirely forthcoming" during the investigation.

The complaint was filed on behalf of one of McLean's opponents in the election, Jay Unsworth.

"Local businesses that thought they were donating to a community event. And turns out they were clearly donating to a political event," Unsworth said. "I think that's problematic."

"To minimize it, to say 'we're feeding people some pancakes and doing a good deed.' There was clearly an agenda there and I think that we all know that and we just deserve better from our elected our elected representatives," Unworth added.

Lori Williams of Mount Royal University's Political Science department said the ongoing series of scandals large and small for council's conservative bloc are adding up to a troubling pattern.

Former councillor Joe Magliocca paid back $10,000 in expense claims and was later charged by police. The investigation into an alleged sexual assault by councillor Sean Chu has repeatedly come up with council. Some community groups now refuse to work with him. This past year he admitted to taking pictures of Mayor Gondek's license plate in a secure parkade and sharing them.

Previous to this McLean was shown in leaked videos that included racist content. Williams said it reminds her of the entitlement in the last days of the former Progressive Conservative dynasty.

"A lot of those conservatives are looking for a home and they're very disappointed with these failures of character and of action that we're seeing," Williams said. "It's not just that there's wrongdoing, it's a minimization of the wrongdoing, suggesting it's not that bad or denying that any wrongdoing doing happened in the first place."

McLean declined interview requests but did say in a brief phone conversation that he sought legal advice ahead of the event and believed he was within the law. He called it a "good faith mistake."

The $500 fine is the baseline penalty under the Local Authorities Election Act. Top Stories

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