Ottawa’s ethics commissioner should review MP Jason Kenney’s activities and ethics as Alberta PC candidate

Posted on August 02, 2016, 12:24 am
8 mins

PHOTOS: Freshly made up, MP Jason Kenney arrives at his news conference yesterday on the grounds of Alberta’s Legislature, where he one day hopes to have a legal parking spot. (Screenshot of CBC video.) Below: Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, plus proof that not all provincial political Dodge Ram tours end well. The question also arises, which “Calvin” decal should be applied to Mr. Kenney’s new truck? A couple of possibilities are suggested.

Who is paying for Jason Kenney’s risible pickup-truck tour of Alberta?

Who is paying for his campaign to lead Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party and unite it with the Wildrose Party to, he says, ensure there won’t be a second NDP majority government in Alberta?

Mary Dawson (OTTAWA, ONT.: AUGUST 28, 2012 -- Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada, Mary Dawson, in her office in Ottawa on August 28, 2012. (Michelle Cochrane/Postmedia News). FOR MIKE DE SOUZA (POSTMEDIA NEWS). 0901-ethics-feds)

Are the people making contributions to his campaign influenced by the fact he is a sitting member of Parliament, still a big name in a party that not so long ago was the government of Canada and could be the government of Canada again one day?

Do the rules of Parliament allow a sitting MP to accept donations for such an effort – be they cash from U.S.-style “political action committees” set up specifically to finance the unite-the-right effort and to evade Alberta’s election financing laws or a free bed from a homeowner in “Whitelock” Alberta?

Enquiring minds started to ask questions like these on social media as soon as Mr. Kenney was spotted yesterday sitting in his enormous Tory blue Dodge Ram pickup in a no-parking zone on the grounds of the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton applying his TV makeup in preparation for the 10 a.m. media launch of his “Unite Alberta Truck Tour.”

Behind the scenes, though, both conservative and progressive circles in Alberta have been abuzz with the same concerns for days.

As for the tour, there’s not all that much to tell. Mr. Kenney advised the media yesterday he was going to begin with a quick stop at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, another mass no-parking zone for those of us in the Hoi Polloi. No idea how that worked out.

TeamRajAfter that, he was off to “Whitelock” – which if it wasn’t a glimpse of the hem of Mr. Kenney’s Freudian slip, was at least evidence of how long it’s been since he’s really been an Albertan. The name of the town he presumably had in mind is Westlock, or maybe Whitecourt.

He says he plans to visit all 87 Alberta ridings. That’s a long vacation for a guy who also intends to continue to accept the taxpayer’s dime to represent the Calgary Midnapore riding, at least until the start of October.

When Twitter gadfly and gay activist Dave Beninger spotted Mr. Kenney idling in his truck in front of the Terrace Building yesterday, makeup brush in hand, he asked the candidate if he had time for a question. “He said he was too busy because he had a press conference, he slowly put his foundation brush down, took his truck out of park and sped off out of the ‘authorized parking only’ spot he had been parked in,” Mr. Beninger wrote on Facebook.

To restate the problem, it’s that in addition to being a candidate for the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party – even though, officially, there is no race, there are no rules, there are no spending limits – Mr. Kenney is also a sitting Member of Parliament.

Calvin-PC1But this is not just a question of Mr. Kenney accepting a Parliamentary salary while he does another, completely unrelated job – a luxury most of us working folks would not be afforded by our employers.

If Mr. Kenney is still an MP, any and all funds that are expended in his campaign for the leadership of the PC Party of Alberta should be disclosed as federal donations and examined for their propriety by Mary Dawson, Parliament’s Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

We are not, after all, in a federal election writ period.

The expenses Ms. Dawson should examine include hall rentals, flights, ad-wrapped campaign vehicles, the professionally printed sign on Mr. Kenney’s new blue Ram pickup (and possibly the truck itself, since we know nothing of the details of its ownership), hotel rooms and in-home accommodations, brochures, his fancy new campaign website, professional photographers and communications staff on call and so on.

He can’t really claim this is all a legitimate part of the PC leadership race because, as noted above, at the moment there is no PC leadership race, even though everyone knows there will be one soon. And once there is a race, one would think Mr. Kenney should resign from his position as an MP to run – which, by the sound of it, he doesn’t intend to do immediately.

Calvin-WRP1Ms. Dawson might also want to look at Mr. Kenney’s social media activities – he is busy on Facebook and Twitter running for the leadership. His Twitter account declares him explicitly to be both an MP and a candidate in a race that hasn’t started.

She should certainly look into Mr. Kenney’s use of his House of Commons web page to redirect readers to the site he now uses to raise funds, identify supporters and campaign for the leadership of the PC Party. The link was eventually removed after the obvious misuse of the Parliamentary website was noted and harshly criticized.

Moreover, it seems to me that Ms. Dawson should extend any such investigation to the activities of Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose and other Alberta MPs who, it could be argued persuasively, are using Parliament’s resources to campaign for Mr. Kenney. This group would include former prime minister Stephen Harper, who like Ms. Ambrose has endorsed Mr. Kenney’s Alberta candidacy and travelled to at least one of his campaign events.

In summary, Jason Kenney is a Member of Parliament. Everything he does is the action of a Member of Parliament. The fact he is running, as an MP, for a political job in another jurisdiction requires a review of his ethics, and a review of his financial activities.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

25 Comments to: Ottawa’s ethics commissioner should review MP Jason Kenney’s activities and ethics as Alberta PC candidate

  1. G Aucoin

    August 2nd, 2016

    Set aside some of the obvious truths; like how JK thinks the existing Alberta conservative parties are so inept only he can pull them together by destroying them both only to rebuild them in his image, or how he’s consistently attacking the Alberta NDP party on social media and in public, or how he constantly undermines Ric McIvor and Brian Jean with every comment he makes, and you still have a man who is paid to do a specific job and represent his constituents yet he is on his own personal campaign for a job that DOES NOT EVEN EXIST YET! How in the name of all that’s good and holy can someone fathom of doing something so utterly deceitful? If anyone other than a polished Harper-era conservative tried that in Alberta they’d be hung, drawn and quartered within seconds. Anyone recall the howler monkey exhibit put on by the Wild Bros Party when Kathleen Wynne dared step foot in the Alberta Legislature? Why isn’t anything within 10% of that being hurled at carpetbagger Kenney for this circus he’s created for himself? We really need more Dave’s on the job getting Wild Jay to be accountable for what he’s doing, because this is pure hypocritical BS.

    Reply
  2. jakelake

    August 2nd, 2016

    Would it be too unconservative or too liberal to enact law that dictates a representative of any level of government step down before running in another race? Or is double dipping OK with everyone? Or is it OK with RWers to be on the take X2? I don’t know. I don’t belong to your club so I’m just wondering…

    Reply
    • Ron

      August 2nd, 2016

      New Canadian rule needed:
      If you quit an elected position (at any level) you may not run in any election (at any level) until the term you resigned from expires.

      That’ll fix em. In all parties …folks like Jenny Kwan too.

      Reply
  3. August 2nd, 2016

    Seven Jason Kenneys

    “A telling collection of facts can be found in Marci McDonald’s deeply reported, 11,162 word profile of Kenney published by The Walrus in 2014. The editors topped it with a question: “Jason Kenney wants Stephen Harper’s job. But is he too extreme for the Tories?”

    Just how extreme? Just how divisive? Do read the whole piece for the engrossing answer. If you’re in a hurry, though, here’s a boiled down backgrounder on Kenney – seven Kenneys, actually – drawn from McDonald’s superb reporting.”

    http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/07/26/Seven-Jason-Kenneys/

    Reply
  4. jerrymacgp

    August 2nd, 2016

    Hmmm… “Whitelock”… Yes, could be Westlock. Could also be Whitecourt, or Whitelaw…

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 2nd, 2016

      Jerry: I’ll give you Whitecourt, pop. 9,000. You could just be right. Or Westlock, pop. 5,000. But White law, at pop. 134, is unlikely. Unless Mr. Kenney knows someone there.

      Reply
  5. David

    August 2nd, 2016

    It is interesting to see the picture of the Team Raj truck in this post. When I heard about Kenney’s truck tour, I also thought immediately of it. In the end, Raj did win the leadership, but of course he wasn’t promising to obliterate the party he was running for. However, electoral success proved elusive for him after winning the leadership.

    At least Raj spent all of his political career in Alberta. Right now, Kenney seems to be more an Ottawa politician than an Alberta one. I think people here do not like people coming from Ottawa and telling them how to run things. He seems to be good example of how the Harper government morphed from listening to the grassroots to dictating to the grass roots.

    However, before he gets too far into his tour of rural Alberta, he should probably get the GPS in that truck checked out and maybe fixed. If it is telling him he is in Whitelock, that is really not a good sign. Maybe he will turn into a lost tourist and in a few months we will all be wondering what ever happened to Jason Kenney.

    Reply
  6. Filostrato

    August 2nd, 2016

    So, Li’l Jason hasn’t acquired the skill of putting on his make-up and driving at the same time? If he’s going to be truck-stopping and talking at cameras, he really should park in a secluded place to do the necessary repainting before he faces the bright lights.

    Maybe he should put both those Calvin decals on the Blue Ram, one on each side, or perhaps pointing at each other. Just a thought…

    I suppose they may want to avoid something like the Danielle Smith Bus Decal disaster, although it was pretty funny.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/wildrose-campaign-bus-raises-eyebrows-1.1144379

    Time to rehire Harper’s former comms director, Dimi Soudas. He recently picked up a master’s from SFU on how political parties can manipulate elections to their advantage using social media.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/government-media-political-communications-spin-1.3701589

    Uh-huh. That worked for the Cons the last time.

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      August 2nd, 2016

      In fairness to Mr. Kenney, he was parked in a relatively secluded spot to apply his makeup – in front of the Terrace Building on the hillside to the southeast of the Legislative Building. It was really just bad luck for him that Mr. Beninger happened to wander by, cellphone in hand. This shouldn’t be a problem in the Legislative precinct, where folks get it about the need for pancake makeup when appearing in TV. In rural Alberta, not so much. My advice would be for Mr. Kenney to forgo the makeup entirely while visiting rural ridings, lest there be a misunderstanding. A little reflection from the camera lights on one’s forehead would seem to me to be worth the risk.

      Reply
      • Athabascan

        August 2nd, 2016

        David, what misunderstanding are you alluding to? To my mind there is no misunderstanding about Kenney the avowed “bachelor.”

        Is there anyone out there who is still confused about this so-called misunderstanding?

        If there is such a “misunderstanding” it is entirely in Kenney’s mind and no one else’s. Maybe some day he will come clean with the worst-kept misunderstanding ever. He still thinks most of us haven’t already figured it out.

        Reply
  7. Robert Gerard

    August 2nd, 2016

    Every reader should send a copy of this to Mary Dawson! [email protected] I did!

    Reply
    • public servant

      August 2nd, 2016

      I just did. Great idea!

      Reply
    • lungta

      August 2nd, 2016

      good idea ….and done
      may jasons truck tour
      echo
      harpers last bus tour

      Reply
    • Hana Razga

      August 3rd, 2016

      Done, thanks for the suggestion

      Reply
  8. Mike

    August 2nd, 2016

    If the right wing supporters out there think Jason Kenny can save and unite the right they need to consider that the current NDP government has carried themselves with such integrity that they are virtually bulletproof against this clown!
    Have fun canvassing the bottom of the barrel Jason those are the only people who will believe and listen to you!

    Reply
  9. Maria

    August 2nd, 2016

    Mr. Kenney shows us exactly how a conservative operates: collecting taxpayer money while doing his own thing and ignoring the people who elected him; criticizing elected officials for fulfilling their election promises by fear-mongering, trampling on other conservative parties/politicians who are have a slight bend to the centre; not bothering to learn even the name of the place they intend to visit…. I wonder how successful Kenney’s Edmonton truck stop was yesterday. The sooner he falls on his face the better.

    Reply
  10. Paul Doherty

    August 2nd, 2016

    I had an interesting conversation with KenneyFactCheck yesterday where they stated:

    JKenneyFactCheck ‏@KenneyFactCheck 19h19 hours ago “@pgalberta He attended the electoral reform committee in Ottawa just last week. Parliament is in summer recess”

    The thing is – he was nowhere near that committee. Kady OMalley noted both his absence and replacement dlvr.it/LvY2cR

    So now we’re to believe he’s going to roam around Alberta in a truck on his own dime. Given his comfort with spending tax dollars, I suspect the only place that truck will drive is to the Park n’ Go at the airport.

    Reply
  11. ema

    August 2nd, 2016

    Have the CONS not learned yet that you cannot put lipstick on a pig? Or pan makeup, for that matter either!

    Reply
  12. Alvin Finkel

    August 2nd, 2016

    The ultra-conservative Mr. Kenney seems to be trying to demonstrate that public spending is mostly wasted by embodying such waste.

    Reply
  13. Expat Albertan

    August 2nd, 2016

    Thanks, David. This needed to be said.

    Reply
  14. Sylvia

    August 2nd, 2016

    Done!
    Thanks Robert for the suggestion!

    Reply
  15. anonymous

    August 2nd, 2016

    Pancake makeup is an entry level drug. Next thing you know, you’re on mascara, eyeliner and lipstick. Then it’s fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. Mr Kenney should be careful cause it could be a real bitch controlling those Ram truck pedals while wearing stilettos.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFwom4D3i4g

    Reply
    • Athabascan

      August 3rd, 2016

      Not to worry Anonymous. I’m guessing Mr. Kenney is way passed that entry level point. As for the stilettos, it’s more likely than not that he has plenty of experience driving while wearing them.

      Just sayin’

      Reply

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