Posted on Dec 28, 2020


EDMONTON – Alberta’s NDP is calling on Jason Kenney and the UCP to reveal — finally — how much federal money they took to subsidize their political operations while failing to secure funding for frontline workers.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the United Conservative Party used a loophole to access funding from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program, a COVID-19 program created to support struggling small businesses.

It was later revealed that the UCP has left about $300 million in federal funding in Ottawa that was intended to support frontline workers during the pandemic.

The new Canadian Emergency Wage Website lists the United Conservative Association as being among the recipients of the wage subsidy but does not provide specific details on how much funding was received. As well, the UCP confirmed both to the media and in the Legislative Assembly that their party office was receiving the subsidy, but thus far have failed to state how much they took as part of the bailout of their party operations.

“Jason Kenney and the UCP leapt at the first opportunity to take tax dollars to fund their own political operations, but they have ignored $300 million meant to top-up the pay for Alberta's frontline pandemic heroes,” said NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray.

“They have no problem taking public money to fund their operations – fundraising, attacking political opponents — but can’t be bothered to support Albertans.

So, I’m calling on the UCP to, at the very least, publicly disclose how much Canadians were forced to contribute to their political operation. It’s our money, we deserve to know.”

It has also been revealed that, following the 2019 election, the UCP's fiscal incompetence led them to massive party debt and deficit. It’s likely incompetent UCP management was part of the reason they felt entitled to this subsidy program they should not have been eligible for.

“We have a UCP political staff getting paid with federal funding while there are threats of layoffs and pay cuts for frontline healthcare workers the moment the pandemic is over,” said NDP Democracy & Ethics Critic Heather Sweet. “The ethical thing to do is at least come clean with Albertans on how much the people of our province and our country have given to pay down UCP debts and cover wages of their political staff.”

The Alberta NDP is proud to have worked to support Albertans and Alberta businesses during this pandemic, and to have done so without taking subsidies.  UCP members should be ashamed that their party's leaders took tax dollars intended to help struggling businesses survive.