Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney is being fined $5,000 by the party after an investigation into his activities at a PC delegate selection meeting last week.
The probe was ordered by the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta after the party said Kenney broke leadership campaign rules by setting up a hospitality suite near the meeting for the Edmonton-Ellerslie constituency on Nov. 16.
Kenney also appeared at the gathering and was asked to leave by party president Katherine O’Neill.
Candidates are forbidden from being in or near a selection meeting.
Party volunteers and members of two other leadership campaigns who were at the event filed a complaint with the party’s chief returning officer, Rob Dunseith.
The association’s board decided Sunday to issue the fine and hold a new delegate selection meeting for the constituency, based on recommendations from Dunseith’s report.
The money to cover the fine will come from a $20,000 deposit that each leadership candidate is required to put up to enter the race in order to guarantee their good conduct and compliance with the rules.
Dunseith said in his report that he didn’t consider Kenney’s breaches serious enough to warrant the full forfeiture of his deposit because the hospitality room was shut down and he left the hallway outside the meeting when he was challenged.
But he also noted what he called “two aggravating factors:” that Kenney organizer Alan Hallman said their campaign could afford a fine when warned that his boss could be punished if he came near the meeting and that the Kenney campaign decided to push the boundaries of the rules.
“I cannot be satisfied that the results of the delegate selection meeting were not tainted or influenced by these breaches,” Dunseith said in his report. “Moreover, I consider this result is necessary to protect the integrity of the leadership selection process.”
Dunseith also said it appears there was no fault on the part of the constituency association, which he believes will encounter considerable trouble and expense setting up a new selection meeting.
He recommended using a portion of Kenney’s fine to help cover additional expenses.
O’Neill said in a statement released Sunday night that “Our party is committed to a fair, open and transparent race during this leadership process. We want to rebuild our trust and relationship with all Albertans.”
A date for a new Edmonton-Ellerslie meeting has not been set.