In 10 hours over two and a half days, the UCP party debated, passed and forced Closure on Bill 22, an 87-page omnibus bill, with its own little SNCLavalin secret hidden deep within the document.
Never in the history of Alberta or Canada has even the tiniest, most insignificant piece of legislation ever gone through a legislature or parliament with such speed.
A lot of things smell about the unprecedented passage of Bill 22, but no more than a government whose political party is being investigated for illegal actions during their own leadership campaign. But unlike the Trudeau/SNC-Lavalin coverup, there appears to be no Jodi Wilson-Raybould nor Jane Phillipot within the UCP Party with the moxie or ethics to just say, “Not going to do it for you, Mr. Leader”.
Some history is in order. An unknown Jeff Callaway entered the UCP leadership race making it a 3-way with Jason Kenney and Brian Jean.
The Kenney/Callaway campaigns were in cahoots from the beginning to undermine Brian Jean’s campaign.
Callaway used his platform to personally attack Jean’s character and then at a predetermined date pulled out and threw his support behind Kenney.
But the public was later to find out there was more going on than just dirty politics—there was also some donation schemes that eventually brought the Independent Elections Commissioner into the fray.
There are tight rules around raising money for election campaigns. That placed the ‘no-intention-in-staying-in-the-race Callaway’ in a difficult spot.
How was he to get money for his short-lived campaign?
It turns out a few friendly executives wanting Kenney as Premier took cash out of their corporate accounts and handed it to individuals, who in turn made personal campaign contributions.
That’s illegal. Using the money of others as your own to make political contributions is simply a form of money laundering.
Before the Office of the Independent Election Commissioner was dissolved under Bill 22, and the Commissioner sent into the sunset, there were 15 people in the Callaway campaign already charged with breaking election financial rules, resulting in
$200,000 in fines. It is understood, more charges were coming. Optics are everything in politics and for Kenney, the optics were so bad around Bill 22, that for those two and a half days of debate and Closure on Bill 22, Kenney was conveniently away in Texas. Of course, the Ethics Commissioners had warned all ‘unclean hands’ in the UCP party to not take part in the debate or vote.
The Ethics Commissioner specifically called out Jason Kenney as being directly impacted by the proposed Bill 22.
Kenney’s MLAs in the Legislature and perhaps the million people who voted for him may be willing to hold their noses and support this coverup, but be warned it becomes a slippery slope for people in powerful positions.
Getting away with one small coverup of wrongdoing can lead to the next coverup, and the next, often getting more egregious over time.
Fortunately for citizens who believe elected officials shouldn’t be above the law and shouldn’t be able to shut down investigations looking at their potential wrongdoings, the RCMP continue to investigate the UCP leadership election.
Specifically, they are investigating the purchase of voting passwords and other irregularities that were reported to have occurred in voting kiosks.
Without the completion of the Independent Elections Commissioner’s investigation, we will never know whether Jason Kenney is a legitimate or an illegitimate Premier.
But one thing we now know for sure, he and Justin Trudeau have a lot in common when it comes to character.
by B. Schimke