Alberta PC leadership hopeful Jason Kenney fined $5,000 by party

Jason Kenney is being fined $5,000 after he showed up at a delegate selection meeting in Edmonton-Ellerslie last week.

Edmonton delegate selection meeting ordered redone after Kenney showed up against party rules

PC leadership candidate Jason Kenney is being fined by the party after he made an appearance at a delegate-selection meeting in Edmonton. (The Canadian Press)

Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney has been fined $5,000 by the party and a delegate selection meeting in Edmonton-Ellerslie will have to be held again.

Party president Katherine O'Neill confirmed to CBC News Sunday that the board of directors had accepted the recommendation of chief returning officer Rob Dunseith for Kenney to forfeit $5,000 of the $20,000 performance bond he put up for his leadership bid.

In addition, the party will conduct the Edmonton-Ellerslie meeting for a second time.

The ruling is related to an incident last week when Kenney showed up at the Edmonton-Ellerslie meeting.

Party rules stipulate candidates running for the leadership cannot be in attendance.

I hope this is a lesson to the camp and to all the candidates that we're very serious about these rules and they will be enforced.- Katherine O'Neill, Alberta PC president

"I hope this is a lesson to the camp and to all the candidates that we're very serious about these rules and they will be enforced," O'Neill said.

Delegate selection meetings are being held in constituencies across the province. Delegates will vote for the next party leader at a convention in Calgary March 17-18. Kenney is joined in the leadership race by Richard Starke, Byron Nelson and Stephen Khan.

Kenney's communications director said the candidate is disappointed with the ruling but will comply with the returning officer's decision.

"We regret that grassroots members in Edmonton-Ellerslie will have to spend another evening to repeat their [delegate selection meeting], but are confident that the democratic will of the members will be expressed with the same clarity," ​Blaise Boehmer said in a written statement.

Kenney was at golf course clubhouse 

The PCs launched an investigation into Kenney's presence at the Mill Woods golf course clubhouse on Nov. 16 following complaints from the scrutineers of the other candidates — none of whom were in attendance.

The Kenney campaign booked a hospitality room in the same building on the same floor as the delegate selection meeting, arguing that what meant to be "near" the event was ambiguous.

"If the Kenney campaign had asked if it would be permissible for its candidate to enter the hallway outside the [delegate selection meeting] to be seen by and presumably speak with the delegates waiting for the meeting, again the answer would have been clear," Dunseith wrote in a report to the PC association's board.

"The rules specifically prohibit these activities." 

O'Neill said the the party plans to use money from the fine assessed against Kenney to pay for the newspaper advertising and room rental for the next Edmonton-Ellerslie meeting.

"We still have several of these meetings to go and we want the process to be respected," O'Neill said.

'We're trying to rebuild the trust of Albertans'

There are 87 ridings across the province. With the results of Edmonton-Ellerslie's delegate selection meeting annulled, only Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville and Spruce Grove-St. Albert have firmed up delegates to send to vote at the convention.

"We have been from the outset very determined to run a fair, open and transparent race because we're trying to rebuild the trust of Albertans after the last election," O'Neill said.

In 2015, Alberta's four-decade PC dynasty was toppled by the NDP.

One of the ways we can do it is by showing Albertans that as party members, we follow rules.- Katherine O'Neill, Alberta PC President

"One of the ways we can do it is by showing Albertans that as party members, we follow rules," O'Neill said.

The Kenney campaign was sent the ruling Sunday evening, before it was shared with CBC News, O'Neill said. 

There is no room for Kenney to appeal the ruling, O'Neill said.

Before the leadership race began, candidates agreed to the terms and conditions. 

"One of those was once the board makes a decision on a chief returning officer's ruling that the board has final say," O'Neill said.

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Read the Chief Returning Officer's ruling here