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EXCLUSIVE: Fired Kenney chief of staff lands $60K severance payout

“Mr. Huckabay had served as the now-Premier’s Chief of Staff since his time in opposition going back to 2018. Mr. Huckabay’s severance is in the range of $60,000,” said his staff

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After refusing to answer Western Standard questions about Jason Kenney’s former chief of staff Jamie Huckabay’s severance package, the Premier’s Office finally released the numbers.

The Western Standard has been asking Kenney’s office daily since last Friday whether Huckabay would get a severance package – but has been met with complete silence. Western Standard reporters have also been denied the right to ask questions of Kenney in press conferences.

Minutes after the Western Standard published a story on Wednesday afternoon about the refusal to answer, the Premier’s Office said that Huckabay’s severance payout was less than the $130,000 pocketed by former Alison Redford chief of staff Stephen Carter.

“Sincere apologies for the length of time it has taken me to respond to your inquiry,” wrote Kenney’s chief spokesman Christine Myatt.

“The terms for severance are outlined in staff contracts – contracts that are publicly posted for all to see. These terms for political staffers are standard, longstanding, and not unique to the current government.

“I’d note that the NDP government paid out severance of close to $6 million in public funds for their government staff after the 2019 election.

“Mr. Huckabay had served as the now-Premier’s Chief of Staff since his time in opposition going back to 2018. Mr. Huckabay’s severance is in the range of $60,000 (pre-tax) – in line with the terms of his contract.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wasn’t happy with the severance.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for Huckabay’s severance,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“Someone messed up but it wasn’t taxpayers, so we shouldn’t be paying for the mistake.”

The last time a (COS) got replaced mid-term was in 2012, when Stephen Carter left the job with then-premier Alison Redford.

Stephen Carter (photo credit: Calgary Sun)

Even though he had only been on the job for six months, Carter left the job in April 2012, with a $130,000 cheque.

Carter, whose company defaulted on $600,000 in court-ordered payments, was Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s campaign chair in 2010.

A huge hubbub erupted when Carter’s severance was initially not made public.

Redford said she couldn’t release the figure because of FOIP laws but announced the provincial government would be forming a new policy that would see all salary and severance information for senior government employees disclosed by the end of the year.

In the end, Carter tweeted the amount of severance himself on October of 2013. He said he had negotiated his own severance contract that paid him the $130,000.

Huckabay was fired by Kenney during the UCP snowbird scandal, when it was discovered at least 10 MLAs and staffers had jetted out of the province for warmer climes, despite health recommendations advising against non-essential travel. Huckabay flew to the U.K.

The province was also in lockdown, meaning Christmas was cancelled for most people because household gatherings were banned. The measures meant people were not able to visit relatives in long term care centres over the holiday.

The Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard lost her cabinet position – and the $60,000 bump in salary that came with it – after she was ordered back to the province from Hawaii, where she was having “a 17-year-traditional” Christmas gathering.

Huckabay’s publicly posted contract, dated April 30, 2019, lists his salary as $8,620.69 every two weeks – for a yearly total of $224,137,94.

It is not known whether he negotiated his own severance package.

Huckabay’s contract

Huckabay was a longtime Kenney ally, working with him on his UCP leadership campaign.

Hukabay’s contract can be reviewed here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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WIP leader Hinman says Alberta should shut off natural gas taps to US after Keystone cancellation

Hinman noted it was cold now in parts of the US, and urged Premier Jason Kenney give Biden 24 hours to change his mind on Keystone or Alberta would be “shutting down our gas lines.”

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Wildrose Independence Party leader Paul Hinman says Alberta should turn off the taps of natural gas to the US, after Joe Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline expansion this week.

Hinman noted, during WIP’s founding convention Saturday, it was cold now in parts of the US, and urged Premier Jason Kenney give Biden 24 hours to change his mind on Keystone or Alberta would be “shutting down our gas lines.”

Biden cancelled the project on Wednesday – his first day in power. Kenney has asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help Alberta and operator TC Energy get their money back.

Hinman added it’s “heartbreaking” the way Albertans are being treated during the COVID-19 lockdown. He said Kenney’s pandemic lockdown response has turned Alberta into a “police state.” Hinman said Kenney was just “fear-mongering” with “propaganda.”

Hinman told viewers to the virtual AGM, he had received a call from an Alberta grandmother this week who decided to break lockdown regulations and open her business. Hinman said the woman was visited at home by RCMP officers and Alberta Health Services officials who threatened to arrest, fine her and apprehend the grandchildren she was caring for.

Hinman also called for recall legislation to be brought in. Kenney has promised recall legislation during his election campaign and after he came to office. He also made the case for a provincial police force and pension plan.

“There is a light, and that light is the Wildrose Independence Party,” said Hinman.

Members voted on the party’s constitution, put together by a committee. The constitution was voted on as a document in its entirety and required the backing of 75 per cent of delegates to pass. A total of 98 per cent said ‘yes.’

Members will be going through with line-by-line amendments when the law allows the party to hold an in-person gathering.

The delegates also voted on prepared policy documents, with a vote of 50 per cent needed to pass. It received 99 per cent support. Again, they will be fine-tuned at a later meeting.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AGM was a virtual one, with events streamed through a YouTube channel.

WIP President Rick Northey said that their membership rolls have swelled by around 1,000 over the last month to a total of 6,500.

The surge in memberships comes in the wake of the UCP Snowbird Scandal, which saw at least 10 MLAs and staffers jet off to sun and sand destinations while the rest of the province was in a pandemic lockdown.

The party was founded in June when members of Wexit Alberta and the Freedom Conservative Party voted to merge their parties into the new Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta.

The party surged in a recently Mainstreet Research poll conducted for the Western Standard to nine per cent province-wide support.

A leadership race is expected to be held between the spring and fall of 2021 to select the party’s standard bearer going into the next election.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Former Liberal MP calls Trudeau a ‘fool’ unconcerned with increasing costs

Dan McTeague said Justin Trudeau’s Clean Fuel Standard and $170 carbon tax are far worse than the “Green Shift” proposed by Stephane Dion

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A long-time Liberal and former MP says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a “a fool who is nothing more than a marionette for the Laurentian elite.”

Dan McTeague, who has helped Liberal campaigns since 1978 and was a Liberal MP for Pickering from 1993-2011, said Trudeau’s Clean Fuel Standard and $170 carbon tax are far worse than the “Green Shift” proposed by Stephane Dion as Liberal leader in 2008.

“There was a time when Liberals actually did give a damn about the cost of living and they don’t today,” said McTeague, who once chaired a government task force on gasoline pricing and is now president of Canadians for Affordable Energy.

By 2030, Trudeau’s Clean Fuel Standard is expected to add another 11 cents per litre to the cost of gasoline, while the hike in carbon taxes will increase gas prices by another 36 cents per litre.

“We’re being led down this path of high costs, less jobs, all to be brought even into this fear, the aura of wokeness on the belief in the green climate front,” said McTeague in an interview with the Western Standard.

McTeague insists Trudeau’s “climate alarmism…has gripped the country at a time which would have the most devastating impact.” He also expressed concerns with Trudeau’s “virtue signalling” and “preachy” approach to government.

“It’s left a good number of Canadians without them knowing whether it’s a party that has their back, that has their interests. It’s really about top-down lecturing, moralizing about the new [climate] cult, and conform or be cast out. And that’s really the divide and conquer that I think has unfortunately gripped the nation beyond its economic woes, beyond its lack of accountability in terms of representation, beyond its dangerous move towards a fiscal collapse,” said McTeague.

“It’s important to have a strong energy sector to be able to pay for the social programs – you start messing with those as this Prime Minister has done, and his gang, you start cutting away the very economic and social underpinnings of this country.”

The 18-year Liberal MP believes the Trudeau government has deeply divided Canadians.

“We’re looking at really an undeniable collapse in our democracy and it’s unfortunate, but it’s created significant divides that I never thought would be ones a country could withstand – regional divides, city versus rural, West versus East, have and have nots versus haves, and…public servants versus those who work in the private sector.

“All these things tend to demonstrate there is no common purpose. The goal of government to make everyone work together and to get all the cylinders firing up and are rolling in the same direction has all been thrown out in favour of one or two handpicked issues in which you, your opposition, each either track or stand or fall.”

McTeague interned on Parliament Hill in 1981-82 when the first Trudeau was in power, and says the elder was more tolerant of debate and disagreement.

“The Liberal Party was far more tolerant and far more objective about future of Canada and everyone had a role. And that was true under Pierre Trudeau, whether we liked him or not. That guy could stand up to people in a good debate unlike his son who can’t tolerate anybody who is opposed to him. And that would not be like Paul Martin or Jean Chretien or Bill Graham or Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff.

“If you had something to say, you could say it. You could say it publicly, you could disagree with him, you could disagree with him on the floor of the House of Commons. At the end of the day, we were all Liberals. That is no longer the case. It’s an intolerant, academically intolerant group of people whose whole purpose is to divide and conquer and win by the narrowest of pluralities.”

McTeague believes Canada is on a path toward greater authoritarianism and that “this prime minister and the technocrats who dictated this policy to him are really only interested in attaining their woke objective, getting their carbon offset markets up and running, and enrichening their friends.”

“Every Canadian should be prepared to throw these bums to the side…these guys are not Liberals, they’re pretenders – and dangerous ones at that.”

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Horgan told he can’t build a ‘BC Wall’

Many pundits said such a move would be against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but Horgan plugged away and last week ordered government lawyer to do some digging to see if he could.

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BC Premier John Horgan isn’t legally allowed to ban other Canadians from travelling to his province, his lawyers have told him.

Horgan has been musing for several months about the ban, which he said would help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Many pundits said such a move would be against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but Horgan plugged away and last week ordered government lawyers to do some digging to see if he could.

Section 6. (2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states: “Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right: to move to and take up residence in any province; [and] to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.”

And guess what BC lawyers found – they concluded the pundits were correct!

“The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians,” Horgan said.

“Much of current interprovincial travel is work related and therefore cannot be restricted.

“Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules. Therefore, we will not be imposing travel restrictions at this time.

“If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers. We will continue to work with the tourism and hospitality sectors to make sure all possible safety precautions are in place.”

In November, Horgan said: “We need a pan-Canadian approach to travel. People in Quebec and Manitoba should stay in Quebec and Manitoba.

“We want to make sure we have an approach to travel not inconsistent with citizenship. Non-essential travel should not be happening in British Columbia,” he said.

So far, BC has had almost 63,000 cases of COVID-19 with 1,119 deaths.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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