Posted on Nov 7, 2019

Premier Jason Kenney used taxpayer dollars to fly Saskatchewan, New Brunswick premiers & their spouses on charter flight

Invoices and flight manifests released by the NDP Official Opposition show that Premier Jason Kenney bought tickets on a charter plane for two Conservative Premiers and their spouses, among others, following a photo-op during the Calgary Stampede in 2019.

The gross misuse of public funds was raised Thursday morning by NDP Leader Rachel Notley during executive council budget discussions.

Overall, 16 people, flew on a July 8, 2018 Sunwest Aviation charter flight at a cost of more than $16,000. Among those on the flight were Premier Kenney, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his wife Kristy Moe, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and his wife Marcia Higgs and then-Premier of the Northwest Territories Bob McLeod. 

The flight appears to have been a few hours after Kenney gathered the aforementioned Premiers and Ontario Premier Doug Ford for a Stampede pancake breakfast photo-op. The likely destination was the Premiers’ Summer Meeting in Saskatoon July 9-11. A typical, one-way flight from Calgary to Saskatoon costs between $300-400.

“It’s one thing to invite your Conservative buddies for a partisan photo op at the Stampede - it’s entirely another matter for Alberta taxpayers to be footing the bill,” Notley said. “And beyond that, what possible justification is there for flying the spouses of these Premiers? This is a gross misuse of public dollars.

“When this Premier told Albertans it was time to live within our means, it’s clear those rules didn’t apply to him.”

The flight manifest shows that only 5 of the 16 passengers on the Sunwest charter flight were employees of the Government of Alberta. The other 11 passengers were:

  • Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his wife Kristy Moe 
  • New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and his wife Marcia Higgs
  • Premier of the Northwest Territories Bob McLeod 
  • Chief of Staff to the Premier of Saskatchewan Premier Shannon Andrews
  • Cabinet Secretary to the Premier of the Northwest Territories MIke Aumond
  • Principal Secretary to the Premier of the Northwest Territories Gary Bohnet
  • Chief of Staff to the Premier of New Brunswick Louis Leger 
  • Director of Communications of the Premier of New Brunswick Nicolle Carlin
  • Timothy Davies, position unknown

“If this Premier can’t justify keeping tuition levels affordable or supporting vulnerable youth and Albertans with disabilities, how can he justify taking a private flight with his Conservative buddies and their spouses?” Notley said. 

“Premier Kenney should be immediately paying these egregious expenses back out of his own pocket and apologizing to Albertans.”

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