UCP donors awarded Alberta Order of Excellence

Combined, the 3 recipients donated nearly $60,000 to the United Conservative Party or its predecessor, the PC Party.

Yesterday, the Alberta government announced that it was awarding the Alberta Order of Excellence to 8 individuals. Among them are people who have donated to the United Conservative Party or its predecessors.

The Alberta Order of Excellence is the highest honour the province can bestow upon anyone and are meant for people “who have made an outstanding provincial, national or international impact”.

First, here are the 8 recipients, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Joan Donald, Red Deer, board director. She served with several business, health, education, social justice, sport, and culture organizations.
  • Cyril Kay, Edmonton, biochemist
  • Murray McCann, Calgary, accountant. He created veteran support programmes.
  • Barb & Merle Olson, Calgary, researchers in veterinary medicine
  • Greg Powell, Calgary, emergency physician. He co-founded STARS.
  • Cor Van Raay, Lethbridge, farmer
  • Lena Heavy Shields-Russell (Ikkináínihki), Kainai Nation, elder and teacher. She created Alberta’s Blackfoot curriculum.

Now onto the donations.

Joan Donald has donated multiple times to the UCP party and its predecessor, the PC Party. For example, she donated $6,850 to the PC constituency associations in the following ridings during a 7-year period.

Innisfail–Sylvan Lake$500$500
Red Deer-North$500$500$500$500$500
Red Deer-South$500$500$500$500$1,350

She donated $505 to the PC Party itself in 2011 and $3,500 in 2014. She also donated $1,000 to the party during the 2015 election campaign, as well as $1,000 to Christine Moore (Red Deer-North PC candidate), and $1,250 to Darcy Mykytyshyn (Red Deer–South PC candidate), and $1,000 to Kerry Towle (Innisfail–Sylvan Lake PC candidate).

In 2018, she donated $400 toward the campaign of Lawrence Lee, who was running for the UCP nomination in Red Deer-North. Also that year, she donated $3,500 to the UCP. She followed that up with a $1,000 donation to the party during the 2019 election, as well as $3,000 to Devin Dreeshen’s 2019 election campaign. Dreeshen is currently the Alberta agriculture minister. She also maxed out her contributions to the UCP last year, at $4,243, and donated $2,978.82 to the Red Deer-South constituency association last year. In 2021, she’s donated $3,000 so far to the UCP.

She donated $10,000 to Jim Prentice’s 2014 PC leadership bid, $500 to Doug Schweitzer’s 2017 UCP leadership bid, and $2,500 to Jason Kenney’s UCP leadership bid.

In total, Donald has donated over $46,000 to the UCP or the PC party over the last 14 years.

Murray McCann donated $1,500 to the PCs for their 2004 election campaign. In 2017, he donated $1,000 to Alberta Advantage Fund, a third-party advertiser, which helped create the UCP and crown Kenney as its leader.

Cor Van Raay’s company donated $10,000 to the PC’s 2015 election campaign.

I could find no evidence of political donations from Cyril Kay, the Olsons, Greg Powell, or Heavy Shields-Russell to any party, UCP or otherwise. I did find several donations to the Alberta NDP from a Greg Powell in Edmonton, however, but they are likely different people.

These 8 bestowals will bring the all-time total of AOE recipients to 197.

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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.

2 replies on “UCP donors awarded Alberta Order of Excellence”

I was wondering how a recipient listed simply as ‘farmer’ would be worthy of this award. Now I know. Thanks for bringing this all together.

He was also a philanthropist. He made millions of dollars off the backs of his workers and through land sales, then gave it away to local programmes and initiatives, as long as they made sure his name was stamped all over it. He made sure people knew all about his donations.

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