With the Alberta election campaign in its final days, NDP Leader Rachel Notley launched another attack on the integrity of the United Conservative’s Jason Kenney at a raucous rally in Calgary.
Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, is Notley’s main rival in Tuesday’s vote.
“We’ve made sure Albertans know exactly who Jason Kenney is and we’ve made sure they know the risk that he presents to Calgary because those risks are real,” Notley said Saturday to about 400 screaming supporters as many chanted “four more years” during her speech.
Notley has pledged that if she’s re-elected premier, she would offer an honest, scandal-free government that would diversify the economy, build a pipeline and defend public services.
In addition to revelations of racist and homophobic remarks by UCP candidates in open nomination contests and during the campaign, the party is also under investigation by elections officials and the RCMP into the leadership race that delivered Kenney to victory in 2017.
Earlier this week, RCMP searched an auto-repair shop owned by Calgary UCP candidate Peter Singh. Mounties seized a computer hard drive, other electronic devices and a suitcase but have not released the nature of the investigation or who is being investigated.
The UCP issued a statement saying the RCMP had not contacted the party or Singh regarding the investigation but had been in contact with Singh’s son.
Singh also said in a statement that he has done nothing wrong and accused political opponents of undermining his campaign and his party.
Notley said Saturday that Kenney should have removed Singh from the party.
“It is quite striking and shocking to me that Mr. Singh is still a candidate for the UCP,” Notley said.
“We should not be voting for people who are under active criminal investigation and it is clear that is what is going on now.”
Notley told reporters she knows the campaign has been negative but isn’t apologizing for it.
“These are things that people need to know about. I wish it wasn’t so negative but at the end of the day I think these are things that people need to consider,” she said.
Calgary is considered a battleground in the election and the NDP took out a front page ad in a major newspaper on the weekend showing an unflattering photo of the UCP leader with the headline: “Jason Kenney is TOO RISKY for Calgary.”
The NDP isn’t without controversy. Two members of Notley’s caucus have been accused of inappropriate behaviour since 2015 and, following independent investigations and the adoption of recommendations, the names of the politicians were not made public to protect the privacy of the complainants.
Notley was asked Saturday whether the two MLAs are running again in the election.
“I can’t answer that,” she replied.
Kenney spoke Saturday at rally at an oil services company in Valleyview, northwest of Edmonton.
He didn’t mention the RCMP’s search of Singh’s business.
Instead, he repeated his pledge to call a public inquiry into foreign-funded anti-oilsands campaigns and promised those in the cheering crowd that had moved to Alberta for work that he would fight for more jobs.
“You’re Albertans by choice and not chance. You or your parents came here to pursue opportunity,” Kenney said.
“We need the ability to be that beacon of opportunity for generations to come. We need to stand up without apology to fight for this province, to fight for our resources, to fight for jobs and, in so doing, fight for Canada and for an Alberta that is strong and free.”