Toronto – August 10, 2016 – Jason Kenney’s campaign to unite the right and return Alberta to the past continued its tour around the province in a colourful motor home, all while Kenney continues to collect his pay cheque as a federal Member of Parliament.
Kenney’s acceptance of his MP’s salary while he campaigns for another job raises several ethical issues. Not many people get to tour the province organizing a shotgun wedding of Alberta’s two right-wing parties while collecting a salary paid by the taxpayers. And who owns the campaign motor home? Who paid for the fancy graphics pasted on it that advertise and promote Kenney’s campaign? Who paid for the semi-trailer billboard outside of Grande Prairie that is being used to promote his campaign? Is Kenney skirting Alberta’s election financing laws by using services and materials donated by individuals and corporations to so called “political action committees” that have been set up by his supporters?
Now Kenney has temporarily parked the motor home for a shiny new blue pickup truck to launch his “Truck Tour” for uniting Alberta’s right. Kenney will be driving his foreign-made truck around Alberta to talk about creating local jobs. Considering that, as an MP, Kenney has gone out of his way to tell people to buy Canadian products, this is more than ironic. Remember his outrage when the restaurant chain Earls announced that it would not be using Alberta beef? If Kenney is such a big defender of buying Canadian and Alberta-made goods, why did he not choose one of the many vehicles that are built by Canadian workers? Just a few days ago, Kenney criticized the Alberta government for taking action to ensure that Alberta workers and businesses get the first chance at contracts from municipalities. Maybe driving around Alberta in his foreign-made truck is a metaphor for Kenney’s inconsistent talk about jobs and investment.
If you are wondering who is managing Kenney’s campaign and truck tours, it is one of Stephen Harper’s closest friends, the self-proclaimed climate change skeptic John Weissenberger. Weissenberger is a well-known climate change denier and geologist who works for Husky Energy. He was given a plum appointment by Harper to the board of directors of a federal government agency responsible for scientific research. Weissenberger and one of the Koch brothers once even criticized the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, calling the oil and lobbyists ‘intellectually lazy” because they decided to accept the science of climate change.
So as Kenney rides in his truck around Alberta, it would be helpful to know who is whispering in his ear and providing his campaign with advice and support. It would also be nice to know who is donating all of the goods and services that he is using to unite the right in Alberta and take the province back to the 20th century. And one can’t help but wonder whether his idol and mentor, Stephen Harper, will be driving the truck.