Free McCartney tickets just part of the job, says Alberta speaker

The speaker of the Alberta Legislature says he did nothing wrong by accepting free tickets to the Paul McCartney concert in November.

Gene Zwozdesky says the gift from Telus was within the rules.

Albertans should not be concerned that a corporation may have been trying to buy influence, said Zwozdesky.

"I don't think there's any issue with respect to the public seeing the need to meet with community organizations," he said.

"Telus is a community foundation — that's who I was attending with," he said. "They do great work in the community and I think it behooves us to show some support back to them by attending some of their functions."

Zwozdesky, who claims he has met McCartney on three occasions, said was also supporting a local university.

"I just really respect who he is as an artist and what he's done to help promote the relationship that MacEwan University has here with the Liverpool Institute is truly phenomenal and it deserves our support all the way," he said.

"It's put Edmonton on a whole new worldwide map."

The ethics commissioner recently released disclosure statements for all MLA's which include any gifts they received with a value of over $400.

NDP MLA Rachel Notley accepted $928 in hotel and airfare expenses from the United Steelworkers union a few weeks ago so that she could speak at a conference in San Diego.

The expenses are not a gift, she said.

"The union was paying for me to go and do something for the union, to provide a service, to speak," she said.

"It's a bit different than if the union had just paid for me to go and sit on the beach for three days.

"One is a gift where there's actually sort of a bonus — a benefit — whereas the other one was expenses."

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