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Longtime Tory supporter, ex-Hydro board chair Riley donates to Liberals

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A well-known Progressive Conservative supporter appears to have changed party allegiances, pledging the maximum amount he could donate to the Manitoba Liberals in a calendar year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/04/2019 (1324 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A well-known Progressive Conservative supporter appears to have changed party allegiances, pledging the maximum amount he could donate to the Manitoba Liberals in a calendar year.

Sandy Riley, the former board chair of Manitoba Hydro, gave $5,000 to the Manitoba Liberal party last year. The party’s annual returns were posted on the Elections Manitoba website Tuesday. They showed Riley donated more than any other contributor to the party.

Since 2010, Riley had donated at least $18,000 to the provincial Tories and helped organize at least one fundraiser for the party, according to Premier Brian Pallister.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Sandy Riley, the former board chair of Manitoba Hydro

After resigning from the Hydro board last year along with eight other directors citing an inability to meet with Pallister to discuss issues at the Crown corporation, Riley took meetings with Dougald Lamont and apparently threw his support behind the Manitoba Liberal leader.

“I’m honoured to have that kind of show of support,” Lamont said of Riley’s donation. “I think he thinks we have an opportunity here. I think there are a lot of people who are extremely disaffected (with the) PCs, especially in Winnipeg but frankly across Manitoba, who are looking for a viable option.”

Pallister thanked Riley for his past help with fundraising. He suggested Riley’s change of heart was due to a disagreement with the province over the Hydro board’s consideration of a $67.5-million payment to the Manitoba Metis Federation, so as not to oppose future Hydro developments. (The MMF has taken Hydro and the province to court over the quashed deal.)

“We’re not going to be, I suppose, satisfying everyone as we make decisions that we hope are in the best interests of the province,” Pallister said. “And the recommendation that we pay (MMF president) David Chartrand close to $70 million was not a recommendation that we followed. And that I believe, you know, was the impetus for the dissatisfaction of Mr. Riley.”

Riley could not immediately be reached for comment.

Altogether, the Manitoba Liberals collected about $176,000 in donations last year, about $9,000 more than they did in 2017.

Gail Asper gave the second-highest amount with $4,000, while Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont pledged the third-most with $3,840.

The Liberals had about $53,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2018. Meantime, the Manitoba NDP had around $238,000 and the Tories had more than $1 million.

According to the PC party’s 2018 financial statement, the Tories raised more than $2 million in 2018 — more than three times that raised by the rival NDP, who collected around $628,000 in donations.

jessica.botelho@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @_jessbu

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