'Ongoing, aggressive promotion': Premier Kenney defends adviser's $45K expenses, defers questions on law firm contract
EDMONTON -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney spoke with reporters on Friday and defended adviser David Knight Legg's $48,000 in expenses and deferred questions about a legal contract awarded by inquiry commissioner Steve Allen to a law firm where his son is a partner.
Yesterday, the NDP Opposition called for an Auditor General probe after revealing that Legg, Kenney's principal adviser, had spent $45,000 of taxpayer money since he was appointed six months ago, including more than $18,000 on four trips abroad to London.
Today, Kenney defended the expenses and said government staff will continue to travel abroad to boost business for the province.
"There is one area we will be spending more. That’s getting in front of investors to attract them to Alberta," said Kenney. "You can't do that simply by sitting in Edmonton."
Kenney said he's departing early next week on a trip to Texas as part of what he calls "ongoing, aggressive promotion strategy."
"We ran on this commitment to get out there and tell Alberta’s story assertively."
The Opposition also called for Steve Allen's resignation as head of the province's public inquiry into foreign influence on the energy industry's reputation.
That demand follows revelations that Allen had paid Calgary law firm Dentons more than $900,000 for legal advice. Allan’s son Toby Allan is a partner in that firm.
Kenney deferred questions saying he'd been advised by the public service that there was no conflict of interest.
"Commissioner Allen is independent so it’s inappropriate for the government to seek to micromanage the independent commission."
The NDP says it's sent a letter to the deputy minister of energy to look into any conflict of interest over the Allen contract.
Kennedy spoke to reporters at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention in Edmonton.
The RMA invites elected leaders and staff from Alberta's 69 counties and municipal districts to its convention.
Other issues discussed there this week include rural crime, broadband internet access and a new property tax on cannabis production facilities.