Alberta car dealers funnel cash to political ad group
In a move that some have described as “dodging election laws,” Jason Kenney of the Alberta Conservative party has allegedly made promises to the Motor Dealers’ Association of Alberta (MDA) to ban the import of “RHD Asian vehicles” in exchange for a $100,000 donation towards a third-party advertiser called Shaping Alberta’s Future, whose sole declared purpose is to crush the NDP and elect Jason Kenney.
In a letter to Jason Kenney, the MDA outlined some changes it’d like to be made in exchange for donations to his initiative. Out of six bullet points, the last one clearly states “Banning of Imported RHD Asian vehicles – Legislation will be pushed through the legislature.”
In Canada, after a vehicle from another foreign market turns 15 years old, it becomes eligible for importation into Canada; in the United States, a vehicle must be 25 years old to become eligible.
Most of the vehicles that wind up being imported are from Japan, as they have made some of the most desirable and well-made sports cars of the last 15 years, chief among them the Nissan Skyline. MDA’s plan pretty much targets these cars directly—but why?
Jalopnik‘s Jason Torchinsky talked to a dealership in Alberta that told him it’s as simple as this: dealers don’t want cars to be sold anywhere but their dealership. Dealers see it as competition—even private sales are deemed a threat.
Torchinsky also talked to the President of the MDA, Denis Ducharme, who said dealers do not sell 15-year-old cars because of safety and environmental concerns. When pressed on the question of “why not ban all old cars and not just Japanese imports, then?” Ducharme ignored it.
The MDA is hoping to raise $100,000 toward Jason Kenney’s initiative by calling on all the dealerships in its network to donate $5,000. MDA has also claimed that the NDP government has been “very harmful to dealers“. While there are no hard numbers to back up that claim, it’s possible they are referring to the carbon tax and minimum wage hike, which Kenney plans to eliminate.