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Alberta Election 2019

Kenney lieutenant denies running “puppet” candidate in party leadership race

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  • EDMONTON — The staffer at the centre of a spreading scandal over Alberta’s United Conservative leadership race says party leader Jason Kenney’s team did not direct and prop up a bogus candidate to attack Kenney’s main rival.

    In a letter obtained by The Canadian Press, Matt Wolf says that when he worked on Kenney’s campaign, he shared policy and research ideas with the campaign of Jeff Callaway — but Callaway was his own boss.

    “To be clear, this was not a ‘puppet’-type operation,” Wolf wrote in an email to the UCP caucus Sunday morning.

    “Mr. Callaway made his own decisions for his own reasons. And while communicating with the Callaway campaign was hardly my preoccupation during the leadership (race), I did, at times push things like research materials to Mr. Callaway’s team.”

    Wolf also said he is not aware of anyone on Kenney’s team illicitly funding Callaway’s campaign.

    Such funding would violate Alberta’s election finance laws. Alberta’s elections commissioner has already fined one UCP member for making such an illegal contribution to the Callaway campaign, and the CBC has reported that the RCMP has now taken over the funding aspect of the investigation.

    “Our leadership campaign did not in any way funnel donations to the Callaway camp — an act that would clearly be in violation of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act,” wrote Wolf, who is currently Kenney’s deputy chief of staff for the UCP caucus.

    “I am very confident that even a suggestion of doing so would firmly be rejected by our campaign’s leadership team at the time, and rightly so.”

    Wolf could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

    He wrote the letter just hours after CBC published a story and supporting documents late Saturday night detailing communications between the two campaigns.

    In those documents, later obtained by The Canadian Press, Wolf is shown in emails and other exchanges giving Callaway’s organizers talking points, speech and policy advice on attacking Kenney’s main rival in the race, Brian Jean.

    One piece of correspondence discussed when Callaway should drop out of the race — something he eventually did three weeks before voting day on Oct. 28, 2017, throwing his support to Kenney.

    Callaway was one of three rivals for the UCP leadership. The party was created after Kenney’s Progressive Conservatives and Brian Jean’s Wildrose party voted to merge.

    Jean was seen as Kenney’s main rival in the race. Kenney defeated Jean and candidate Doug Schweitzer handily, with 61 per cent of the vote. Jean garnered 32 per cent.

    Callaway, who had worked with Jean in the Wildrose party, repeatedly attacked Jean during the campaign in speeches, events and media scrums, questioning his policy ideas and financial management of the Wildrose.

    Callaway could not be reached for comment.

    The UCP did not make Kenney available Sunday, but the party’s executive director, Janice Harrington released a statement.

    It read: “Communication between leadership campaigns is perfectly normal in a preferential ballot election and was within the rules of the 2017 UCP leadership election.”

    Kenney and Callaway have previously denied that their campaigns worked together, and Wolf said in his letter that while his emails may look “unflattering,” the correspondence is normal practice among rival camps in politics.

    Premier Rachel Notley, in a speech to supporters on Sunday, said Kenney already showed questionable judgment recently when his staff staked out and filmed a political opponent.

    “But an alleged conspiracy to torpedo an opponent’s leadership campaign takes it to a whole other level,” Notley told supporters at her Edmonton-Strathcona nomination meeting.

    “Mr. Kenney owes Albertans a full accounting, not just empty denials…. Mr. Kenney has demonstrated a profound absence of integrity, and Albertans deserve better.”

    Derek Fildebrandt, a former UCP legislature member now running against Kenney as the head of the new Freedom Conservative party, said in a statement the documents show Kenney’s “willingness to do or say anything to obtain power; to corrupt and abuse the grassroots democratic promise to achieve his own ends.”

    The allegations come at a super-heated time in Alberta politics.

    Politicians return to the legislature Monday for a throne speech to begin a new session. The session could end at any time when Premier Rachel Notley decides to call the election.

    By law, the 28-day campaign and vote must be held before June 1.

     

    Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press



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    Alberta

    Advanced polls are open and voting is underway!

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  • From the Government of Alberta

    Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer, Glen Resler, confirms that advance polls are now open.  Advance poll locations are available throughout the province from Tuesday, April 9 to Saturday, April 13.

    Advance poll locations are available to all eligible electors and for the first time are providing a ‘Vote Anywhere’ service, whereby electors can receive the ballot for their electoral divisions, at any location.

    Information about the locations and their hours of operations can be found on Where to Vote cards mailed to electors, in local newspapers and on www.elections.ab.ca.

    Eligible electors are Canadian citizens who reside in Alberta and are at least 18 years of age or older on Election Day.

    To be added to the list of electors, an elector may register at an advance poll or on Election Day by providing authorized identification containing their name and residential address.  A list of authorized identification is on our website: https://www.elections.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/Authorized-Identification-Poster.pdf

    The ‘Vote Anywhere’ service is only available at the advance polls.  Electors voting on Election Day, must vote at their assigned voting location.  Election Day is Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

    For more information about the provincial general election visit www.elections.ab.ca, call toll free at 1-877-422-VOTE (8683) open weekdays from 8:15 am to 8:00 pm and weekends from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on voting days from 8:15 am to 8:00 pm, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

    Elections Alberta is an independent non-partisan office of the Legislative Assembly responsible for administering provincial elections, by-elections and referenda.


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    Alberta

    Kenney threatens to “turn off the tap” if BC continues to block pipeline

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  • From the United Conservative party

    Kenney visits Medicine Hat, renews call for BC to end opposition to Alberta pipelines

    Rachel Notley has said she does not want to proceed with the legislation.”
    – anti-pipeline BC NDP Premier John Horgan (BC Hansard, Apr. 17, 2018)

    MEDICINE HAT, AB: British Columbians can expect to continue to pay soaring prices for gasoline if Premier John Horgan’s NDP government continues to obstruct pipeline construction according to United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney.

    While visiting candidates Drew Barnes (Cypress-Medicine Hat) and Michaela Glasgo (Brooks-Medicine Hat), Kenney renewed his vow to use legislation to scale back exports of Alberta crude to BC-based refineries if that province’s NDP government continues to obstruct the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

    BC Premier John Horgan was assured by his fellow New Democrat Rachel Notley that she would not turn off the taps (see Backgrounder).

    “In recent days, lower mainland BC has been paying through the nose for gasoline,” Kenney said. “Unless John Horgan ends his unconstitutional fight against Alberta energy exports, the people of BC will need to get used to paying well over $1.70/L for gas as the result of NDP anti-pipeline obstructionism.”

    BC’s NDP government is still working to stop the Trans Mountain expansion, fighting in the BC Court of Appeal just last month. Alberta’s NDP government finally caved to United Conservative pressure to pass ‘Turn of the Taps’ legislation, but failed to proclaim it, let alone ever use it.

    Next Tuesday will mark one year since the NDP took UCP advice and introduced Bill 12. Since then, precisely 0 kilometres of the Trans Mountain expansion has been built and the private sector abandoned the project entirely.

    Kenney announced today that a United Conservative government would proclaim Bill 12, the ‘Turn off the Taps’ law, on its first day in office.

    “Albertans see through the NDP’s phony fight for pipelines,” Kenney said. “Voters remember the NDP’s historic opposition to our energy industry, including their campaign against the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines, the appointment of anti-pipeline radicals like Tzeoporah Berman, Ed Whittingham, their Cabinet Ministers protesting pipelines, and so much more. Albertans want real action to defend our jobs and way of life, not more bad political theatre from the NDP that has done so much damage to our energy industry.”

    “That is why on day one of a UCP government, we will proclaim into law the Turn off the Taps legislation, and let Premier Horgan know that we will not roll over in the face of his governments unconstitutional efforts to block our energy,” Kenney announced.

    Rachel Notley’s NDP government repeatedly dismissed the threat posed to the Trans Mountain expansion by the Horgan NDP in British Columbia. Despite the BC NDP openly campaigning against Trans Mountain, Rachel Notley dismissed their threat after they came to office, saying, “The BC government has stopped talking about stopping the pipeline and instead, they’re talking about ensuring that it meets high standards.”

    Since 2017, Jason Kenney had been calling for the Government of Alberta to turn off the taps to BC if their anti-pipeline activism didn’t halt. Rachel Notley mocked and dismissed the suggestion repeatedly (see Backgrounder).

    Alberta’s NDP government, all talk and no action on pipelines, never actually used Bill 12.

    In recent days, gasoline prices have skyrocketed in Vancouver, reaching an all-time high of $1.67L on Thursday.


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