HOW MUCH DID KENNEY’S UCP TAKE FROM ALBERTA TAXPAYERS WITHOUT PERMISSION OVER THE PAST YEAR?
EDMONTON – As voluntary donations dry up for Jason Kenney’s UCP, the amount of money his party has taken from taxpayers through a federal wage subsidy program remains a closely guarded secret.
In response to an Access to Information request, the Canada Revenue Agency said that subsidy information “cannot be retrieved or provided without the consent of the individual companies,” in this case the United Conservative Party.
“Albertans have a right to know how much of their tax dollars have been used to pay Kenney’s party staff,” said Christina Gray, NDP Critic for Labour. “I’m calling on Kenney to agree for this information to be released by the federal government, or better yet, release it himself.”
In May of 2020, Kenney’s party applied for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, which was intended to help small businesses and nonprofits keep paying their workers through the pandemic. But Kenney has refused to reveal how much taxpayers’ money he’s taken from this program over the past year to bankroll the UCP.
In its 2020 annual financial statement, the UCP reported $352,044 in “other income” but it’s unclear how much of that is the wage subsidy.
Alberta’s NDP did not take any subsidy, and out-fundraised the UCP in 2020 through voluntary contributions. In the first quarter of 2021, the NDP raised more than twice the amount of the UCP.
“It’s clear that taxpayers are being forced to prop up Kenney’s failing party as donors turn away,” said Gray. “Kenney is charging Albertans more in provincial income tax, more in property taxes, more in school fees, more in tuition, more in student debt interest, more in camping and parks fees, while also allowing their insurance and utilities bills to skyrocket.
“The UCP chose to apply for a federal program meant to help struggling Albertan businesses. They made the decision to take tax dollars into their partisan coffers, at a time when their own provincial government was doing almost nothing to help struggling Alberta small businesses. This was shameful.”