Alberta Politics

Will the Real “Champion of the Taxpayers” Please Stand Up

The Canadian Taxpayer Federation (CTF) was the brainchild of Kevin Avram and began as the Association of Saskatchewan Taxpayers in 1989.  Jason Kenney, who had recently found himself looking for work after his employer, Ralph Goodale, lost his seat in the 1988 general election, signed up with Avram and headed to Alberta.

Like Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt, as an Alberta Director of the CTF, Jason Kenney held politicians to a very high standard.  Kenney himself rallied against MLA pensions in Alberta (but has a very healthy pension from his time as MP).  As CTF Director, Kenney referred to Klein as a “spendthrift“, but now invokes the man’s name at every opportunity as some sort of homage to days gone by.

In making amends for his perceived transgressions, Fildebrandt released an expense report showing he had not claimed allowable expenses of almost $9,000 since becoming an MLA in 2015.  Kenney’s UCP has been caught at least once, and offered to pay back office funds used for a partisan fundraiser.  This latest issue with the housing allowance is no different but Jason Kenney has decided instead to dig his heels in and make an emotional appeal that he was merely trying to “assist” his mother.

Assisting your parents in their later years is a noble cause indeed and one that many people struggle with financially; unless you’re Jason Kenney.  The high standards of the CTF, which also provide a credible platform and notoriety through targeted marketing and a willing media, seems to be nothing more than a cheap slogan; “Do as I say, not as I do”.

Because according to the Member By-laws, Section 53(1.1), if a primary residence is rented, a lease agreement should accompany the claim.  There was also an unfortunate miscommunication between Jason Kenney’s staff and the House because they didn’t know what his primary address was.  This ended up with Kenney’s address being both his mother’s retirement residence and a home she had sold a few years earlier.  Whoops.

As Jason Kenney clearly stated in his numerous posts over the weekend, since the “early 2000’s” he has been living in his parent’s homes “to help them out”.  As he spent the majority of his time in Ottawa, at one point returning to his constituency only four times during a one year period, his primary residence was, arguably, in Ottawa.

Kenney’s alternate Twitter account, Unite Alberta, stated he doesn’t “think Albertans hold it against him that he was working to keep a fellow Albertan, Stephen Harper, in the Prime Minister’s Office.” But do they deserve a refund if the stated purpose was a failure?

Few people care that he lived in his mother’s basement; in fact many applaud him for stepping up to help out his aging parents.  The issue here is that there is no proof.  Park your partisanship for one moment and ask yourself if you would accept this explanation from Justin Trudeau.  Something tells me the incessant outrage would be intense – and led by Jason Kenney, “Champion of the Taxpayer”.

This post contains both fact and opinion.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

@Mitchell_AB @thisweekinAB

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