UCP's finances hit hard by COVID-19; could 'cease operations' if it doesn’t raise more funds
EDMONTON -- The United Conservative Party warned its members Monday night that it would “cease operations” unless donations came pouring in.
“Like every not-for-profit organization, our financial position has been hit hard by the current (COVID-19) crisis,” the email sent to UCP members read.
Premier Jason Kenney asked party staffers to stop fundraising when the COVID-19 crisis began, and that hurt the party’s bank account, the email said.
“That means we have received almost no revenue this month, and we are getting close to hitting the maximum of our line of credit,” it read.
“We have cut costs, but if we do not receive some revenue to support our basic operations we will be unable to pay our bills, and will have to cease operations,” it continued.
The UCP raised $7.37 million in 2019, including $1.42 million in the final quarter, according to a press release from the party dated Jan. 23.
The first quarter ends Tuesday and all parties must report fundraising updates to Elections Alberta by April 15.
This comes as layoffs surge in Alberta due to coronavirus cutbacks, stock market troubles and oil prices hitting lows not seen in years.
The letter acknowledges the tough time many Alberta families are facing.
“The priority should be taking care of the health, safety, and security of yourself and your family first and foremost,” it said. “As Jason (Kenney) has said, ‘even at a time of crisis, the work of democracy must go on.’”
The UCP declined a request for a phone interview with CTV News Edmonton Tuesday, but a party spokesperson emailed a statement.
“We wanted to be upfront and transparent with our members about our need to resume fundraising activities to generate revenue,” Evan Menzies, UCP Director of Communications, wrote.
Menzies did not say what “ceasing operations” would entail or how likely that was, but he did say he was “very encouraged” by the response to the fundraising email.
The letter links directly to the party’s website where quick donation options range from $5 to $4,000.