Former Liberal leader Sherman fined by Elections Alberta

Former Canada Liberal leader Raj Sherman was fined $500 by the province’s chief electoral officer for breaking provincial donation limits, but the constituency association and party that received the contributions returned $4,000 in overpayments.

Elections Canada reports on its website that Sherman was found to have exceeded donation limits in 2011, 2012 and 2013 because he had made donations through two companies he owns, Raj Sherman Professional Corp. and Empress Group Ltd., which were deemed to constitute a single corporation.

Sherman was ordered to pay a $500 administrative penalty for 2013, but could not be fined for the previous two years because the time limit in legislation for administering penalties had expired.

The Liberal constituency association in Edmonton-Meadowlark, Sherman’s former riding, was ordered to return $1,000 each year for 2011 and 2012, and the Liberal party was ordered to return $2,000 from 2013.

Elections Canada spokesman Drew Westwater said the investigation into Sherman is now complete.

“We’re quite confident it won’t happen again,” he said Wednesday.

Westwater would not comment on whether any other entities were being probed in relation to the donations, but the Liberal executive director said the party was not under investigation.

Sherman, an emergency room physician, was originally elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 2008. After leaving the Tories in a dispute over health-care wait times, he was elected Liberal leader in 2011.

He led the party in the 2012 provincial election and was elected with four other Liberal MLAs. Sherman announced in January 2015 that he would immediately resign as Liberal leader and not run in the next election.

Financial records on the Elections Canada website list Sherman and his companies as having donated over $100,000 to the Liberal party, constituency associations and candidates between 2011 and 2014.

Sherman declined to comment.

In 2014, he told Postmedia he believed he was operating within the rules set out by legislation and that if any violation had occurred it was inadvertent.

Donation limits are $15,000 for a party and $1,000 for a constituency association. Those amounts double in an election year.

The complaint against Sherman was originally filed by union official Tony Clark, who is now chief of staff for NDP Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier. He could not be reached for comment.


Former Liberal leader Sherman fined by Elections Alberta


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