Leader says he regrets comments made years ago about gay rights
UCP to investigate nomination race in Calgary East
EDMONTON United Conservative leader says he regrets comments made in his earlier days about overturning a law extending hospital visitation rights to gay couples during the 1980s AIDS epidemic in San Francisco.
Jason Kenney says, since then, his public record in Parliament shows he supports domestic partner arrangements and benefits for couples regardless of sexual orientation.
Kenney made the comments after a two-decade-old audio recording of him surfaced recently.
On the recording, Kenney touts his role in organizing a petition calling for a referendum to repeal the city ordinance extending recognition rights of heterosexual couples, such as hospital visitation, to same-sex couples.
The ordinance was defeated by a narrow margin in a referendum.
Kenney, who is a Catholic, says on the tape he believes his actions brought him spiritually closer to his church.
“Sure, there are things that I’ve done and said in my life that I regret,” Kenney said Thursday at the legislature.
“Is that (the San Francisco comments) one of them?” he was asked.
“Sure,” he replied. “I can tell you in 2003, and ‘04 and ‘05 you can look at the Hansard transcript and see me supporting domestic partner arrangements for dependent couples regardless of sexual orientation.
“That has been my longstanding public view.”
Kenney and his United Conservatives have an uneasy relationship with Alberta’s gay community and have been denied permission to march in recent Pride parades.
The party is currently deliberating the fate of highprofile party member John Carpay, who publicly compared the pride rainbow flag to the Nazi swastika.
The United Conservatives have taken issue with the province’s policy mandating gay-straight alliances in schools, particularly the law stating that parents not being automatically told if a child joins such a group.
Proponents say some kids who join the alliances risk the wrath of their parents and that such a rule would effectively spell the end of such groups.
Kenney has said he wants parents to be told.
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says his party is investigating allegations of fraud and bribery in a nomination race in Calgary.
Kenney declined to discuss the issue further, saying he doesn’t want to compromise the review into the race that selected Peter Singh as the party’s candidate for Calgary East on Nov. 3.
Four losing candidates have since said Singh won by offering gifts to voters and signing up people as party members without their consent.
Singh has denied the allegations.
Calls to his place of business were not returned and his phone’s mailbox was full.
NDP deputy premier Sarah Hoffman says the investigation should go to the police, given it’s alleged that people’s credit card numbers were used without their knowledge to purchase UCP memberships.
Kenney says it should be noted that his party has had 68 nomination races and only four have involved accusations of malfeasance or controversy.
“We obviously take seriously any allegations of wrongdoing, so there will be a fair investigation into that particular instance,” Kenney said Thursday.
“Inevitably when you have hotly contested nominations, there are going to be in some cases complaints about the process.” Hoffman disagreed. “If somebody were using credit card information that wasn’t granted to do so in purchasing things, that certainly sounds like allegations of fraud and I don’t think an internal party process is appropriate,” she said.
“I think the UCP should be referring this to police.”
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says his party has launched an investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery surrounding a nomination race in Calgary.