Kenney criticized for $16,000 flight for other premiers

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney spent more than $16,000 of taxpayer money to fly Conservative premiers and their spouses on a charter flight, NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said Thursday.

Notley brought the accusation to light during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future.

She said Kenney chartered a flight from Calgary, where the premiers and their spouses were attending Stampede in July, to Saskatoon.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs were on that flight along with Bob McLeod, former Premier of the Northwest Territories.

“I don’t think you needed to bribe them. Are you seriously saying that in order to get people to sign off on communique that looks a great deal like the communique that had been written previously, you need to pay for them to fly around the country and drag them out to a party at the Calgary Stampede?”

Kenney defended the expenses by saying it was no big deal and that he was not ashamed to spend money on improving relationships with other governments.

“I’m going to be spending more on travel expenses to get around the country,” he told Notley, “To St. John’s, Halifax, Iqaluit, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Ottawa to strengthen those relationships and this is a promise made and a promise kept.”

Notley calls the money spent unacceptable for taxpayer dollars and asked Kenney to pay the funds back.