Brian Topp Taps Canadian Actors Bank To Finance Political Campaign

The executive director of ACTRA Toronto has secured a $50,000 line of credit from a cooperative bank for Ontario film and TV performers and technicians that he chairs.

TORONTO - Brian Topp has turned to a Canadian film and TV industry credit union to help finance his campaign to become leader of the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party in Ottawa.

No surprise here as Topp's political resume includes being a long-serving executive director of ACTRA Toronto, the biggest branch of Canada’s actors union.

That routinely put Topp in the bargaining room when Canadian actors negotiated with North American film and TV producers for new collective agreements.

Topp in a registration with Elections Canada has reported he arranged a $50,000 line of credit from the Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union, whose customers include Ontario members of ACTRA, technicians’ unions like NABET and IATSE, and the Director's Guild of Canada.

The Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union was launched in 2008 by ACTRA Toronto, and its board of directors includes Topp as chairman, and leading Canadian actors like Heather Allin, Peter Keleghan, Karl Pruner, Priya Rao and Theresa Tova.

Elections Canada allows Topp to tap the credit union loan as long as he pays a commercial interest rate, which he has done.

Topp’s campaign spokesman Jim Rutkowski on Wednesday told the Toronto Star newspaper that there was no conflict of interest by the federal political candidate.

“The loan certainly wouldn’t have been applied for if there was a conflict and certainly wouldn’t have been approved if there was a conflict, appearance or otherwise,” Rutkowski said.

Topp is looking to succeed the late Jack Layton as leader of the NDP in Ottawa.