Chair announced for new Invest Alberta connected to $55,000 in PC & UCP donations

As I reported earlier, the corporation will be governed by a board of directors, including a chair and vice-chair. That board was approved today.

Earlier this month, I reported that the provincial government had intended to create Invest Alberta Corporation, an arms-length corporation that’d focus on attracting private sector investment in Alberta.

Bill 33, otherwise known as the Alberta Investment Attraction Act, passed third reading this past Monday by a vote of 25–7. Yesterday, it received royal assent, and it goes into effect as of tomorrow.

As I reported in the original news story, the corporation will be governed by a board of directors of up to 7 members, including a chair and vice-chair.

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Well, that board of directors has been chosen.

The lieutenant governor—on recommendation from Tanya Fir, the minister of economic development, trade, and tourism—approved the decision of the UCP cabinet to appoint the following individuals to Invest Alberta Corporation’s board of directors:

  • Scott Hutcheson (chair)
  • Anne McLellan (vice-chair)
  • Bob Dhillon
  • Chen Fong
  • Ashif Mawji
  • Janet Riopel
  • Adam Waterous

Scott Hutcheson will chair the board of directors. He’s the executive chair for Aspen Properties, a Calgary-based real estate management firm. In 2014, he donated over $10,000 to the PC party. He also donated $500 to Doug Schweitzer’s UCP leadership campaign in 2017. His company donated over $10,000 to Jim Prentice’s PC leadership bid in 2014, as well as $4,500 to Ric McIver’s bid in the same race. Aspen Properties donated to the PC party every year between 2004 and 2014 (except 2011) for a combined total of over $30,000, including a $2,300 donation during the 2008 election and $5,000 during the 2012 election.

Anne McLellan was a member of parliament from 1993 to 2006, representing the riding of Edmonton Centre. She served as a cabinet minister under both Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, including minister of natural resources. Between 2007 and 2016, McLellan donated over $10,000 to the provincial Liberal party, including 7 candidates in the 2008, 2012, and 2015 provincial elections: Lisa Higgerty, Jim Kane, Laurie Blakeman, Bruce Miller, Weslyn Mather, Arif Khan, and Karen Sevcik.

Bob Dhillon is founder, president, and CEO of Mainstreet Equity Corp., as well as founder and owner of National Payments. He also sat on the Economic Recovery Council. Dhillon donated $600 to the PC party in 2010. Mainstreet Equity donated $500 to Doug Horner’s PC 2008 campaign, $1,000 to Peter Sandhu’s 2012 PC campaign, $3,000 in 2014 and $15,000 to the PCs in 2014 and 2015, $30,000 to Jim Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership campaign, $990 to the Calgary–Greenway PC constituency association, $2,000 to Harman Kandola’s PC campaign, and $15,000 for the PC 2015 election campaign. National Payments donated $500 to the PCs in 2014 and $5,000 to Jim Prentice’s PC leadership campaign.

Chen Fong is a professor emeritus of radiology with the University of Calgary. He donated to the PC, Alberta, and Wildrose parties between 2004 and 2017, including $1,000 to Ralph Klein in the 2004 election; $2,000 to Donna Kennedy-Glans and $1,000 to Farouk Adatia in the 2012 election; and $2,000 to Greg Clark and and $1,000 to Prentice in the 2014 byelection. He also donated $10,000 to Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership bid.

Ashif Mawji is a venture partner with Rising Tide VC. He donated $2,500 to the PC party in 2013, as well as $1,000 to Stephen Mandel’s 2014 PC election campaign. His spouse, Zainul Mawji, donated $2,500 to the PC party in 2013.

Janet Riopel is the president and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. She donated $675 to the Alberta NDP in both 2008 and 2016.

Adam Waterous is the CEO of Waterous Energy Fund a private equity fund that invests in oil and gas businesses. During the 2015 election, he donated $20,000 to the Wildrose Party. He donated $1,575 to the NDP in 2018 and $3,000 to the UCP in 2019.

All appointments are until 2023.

The chair will receive a $20,000 retainer every year, as well as $400 for each meeting attended.

The vice-chair’s annual retainer will be $10,ooo, unless she has to fill in for the chair; then it switches to $20,000. She will receive $300 per meeting attended as vice-chair and $400 as chair.

Other board members are entitled to a $10,000 annual retainer, as well as $300 per meeting attended.

All board members (including chair and vice-chair) can also be reimbursed for airfare, meals, accommodations, ground transportation, hosting, and personal expenses.

This board will oversee the corporation’s operations and investment attraction activities, which includes $6 million in annual operating funding promised by the provincial government for the next 3 years.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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