Questions raised as Kenney joins Alberta energy minister at Washington energy meeting

The premier’s participation in the trip to Washington, D.C., has been questioned by some in light of his announcement last month of his intention to resign as UCP leader.

The premier announced last month he intends to resign from his role

Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage will both attend a workshop Wednesday on the Alberta oilsands. (Amber Bracken/The Canadian Press)

Premier Jason Kenney will join Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with U.S. Congress members and participate in sessions on energy security. 

Savage will travel south on Monday with meetings scheduled for Tuesday on Capitol Hill, before attending an oilsands workshop Wednesday with Kenney.

"We continue working to address North American and global energy security concerns that have been neglected for too long," said Savage in a statement sent to CBC News.

"It is important for Alberta to have a seat at the table when these matters are being discussed."

Savage will return to Calgary on Thursday, while Kenney will return to Calgary on Friday. 

Kenney said he was looking forward to productive discussions on the trip, and that Alberta is ready to stand by the United States in creating a stable, affordable and ethical energy system. 

The premier's participation in the trip has been questioned by some in light of his announcement last month of his intention to resign as UCP leader

While Kenney will stay on as premier until a new leader is chosen, Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said this sort of travel is surprising for an official in a de-facto temporary position. 

"This is going well beyond a caretaker role," said Bratt.

"What sort of discussions can you have … knowing that you're not a decision-maker at all? You're walking in with no credibility."

Bratt said he doesn't think Kenney should be going on the trip in the first place but added that it will be telling to see how U.S. lawmakers respond to him. 

"Based on everything we've seen over the last month, he is acting in a sense as if May 18th never happened."

The UCP plans to choose its next leader on Oct. 6. There are eight candidates officially in the running for the position. 

With files from Elise Von Scheel