Alberta Premier Kenney cleared after questions raised about MP housing expenses
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to a question as he speaks to reporters after appearing at the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources about Bill C-69 at the Senate of Canada Building on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 5:20PM EDT
OTTAWA -- A House of Commons committee has cleared Alberta Premier Jason Kenney of allegations he wrongly claimed residential expenses while he was a Conservative cabinet minister in Ottawa.
The Board of Internal Economy has found that Kenney did nothing wrong based on housing rules in place at the time.
The allegations were raised by Ottawa lawyer Kyle Morrow, who questioned earlier this year why Kenney listed a Calgary home as his primary residence from 2013 to 2015 when flight records suggested he spent little time in his riding.
Morrow wondered why Kenney was collecting $900 month in secondary residence subsidies for his place in Ottawa while claiming part of his mother's home in a Calgary retirement village as his primary residence.
Kenney's staff called the allegations a partisan smear, and noted that Morrow had been sharply critical of Kenney in the past on LGBTQ issues.
Conservative whip Mark Strahl says the committee should be concerned that it was used for partisan purposes in the lead-up to the recent Alberta election campaign.
"Quite frankly, I think this was a very disturbing case because we can all play this game," Strahl said Friday.
"We can go back to times when members of the Liberal party were found to have been illegally claiming housing allowances. We can do that if that's what we want this board to become."
Liberal whip Mark Holland said it is important for the committee to look into issues when they are raised in a public forum.
"There's a question with secondary expenses -- in this instance whether or not staying in your mom's basement constituted a principle residence or not," Holland told the committee.
"The fact that those questions were out there, it was important to explore them."
Kenney's United Conservative Party won the Alberta election last month with 63 of 87 seats.