United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney held a news conference Friday at an Edmonton bakery, speaking in front of a rack of sourdough bread.
Journalists half expected Kenney to get a little sour himself, knowing he would face questions about how his party will have to conduct the coming election campaign under the cloud of an RCMP investigation.
After all, Kenney has become exasperated in the past when asked about alleged improprieties that may have occurred a year and half ago during the UCP leadership race.
After RCMP confirmed Friday that they are now involved in an ongoing probe of Jeff Callaway’s leadership campaign, it certainly seemed like it could provide the yeast to make Kenney’s resentment rise again.
Yet the UCP leader was on his best behaviour, answering numerous questions about the case in a professional and calm demeanour, with no hint of irritation.
He’ll have to keep it up for at least several more weeks, as the investigation unfolds and campaigning ramps up.
And you can bet NDP won’t make it easy for him.
Within hours of the initial story by CBC breaking the news, a seemingly reinvigorated NDP Leader Rachel Notley was on the offensive, demanding Kenney “come clean” on what he knew about Callaway’s campaign.
“If the shoe was on the other foot and a politician seeking to lead the province were under investigation by the RCMP, he’d likely say that person is unfit to be premier and he’d be right,” Notley said.
Notley’s attack was a little off the mark, because there is no definitive evidence that Kenney himself is under investigation.
Yet she wasn’t wrong to suggest that this controversy is escalating at the worst possible time for the UCP leader.
Remember that there are allegations Kenney and Callaway collaborated on a scheme to run Callaway as a “kamikaze” candidate during the 2017 leadership race, to take down Kenney’s chief rival Brian Jean.
Kenney and Callaway have flatly denied it, yet that hasn’t stopped Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson from looking into whether any of Callaway’s funding came from donors submitting money that was not their own.
That accusation seems to have some substance, since Gibson has already fined one donor to Callaway’s campaign for donating “with funds given or furnished by another person.”
And the UCP last week dropped one of its candidates in Calgary, alleging he had not been forthright with the party about his financial contributions to Callaway’s campaign.
However, according …read more
Source:: Edmonton Journal – Politics