Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says hiring the former legislature member who gave up his constituency seat for Kenney was the right thing to do.

The premier dismissed a reporter’s question Wednesday on whether his appointment of Dave Rodney is political payback.

“He (Rodney) never asked for any kind of consideration in the future,” Kenney said.

“He’s been working in the private sector since that time. When we were looking for somebody to appoint to Houston, we had a short list and Dave just stood out to me as the kind of go-getter that we need.”

Kenney said Rodney approached him in late 2016 about leaving his Calgary-Lougheed seat in the legislature. Rodney eventually stepped down in the fall of 2017, after Kenney had just won the leadership of the United Conservative party. That led to a byelection that Kenny won two months later.

Earlier this week, Kenney announced Rodney will be the new agent general to Houston. He’ll be paid $250,000 a year to drum up business in the energy sector and other emerging fields.

The appointment is part of a broader plan for Alberta to be more aggressive attracting business and jobs from other jurisdictions to grow a provincial economy decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Albertans can connect the dots on the Rodney appointment to draw a stark picture of patronage.

“There’s very little in David Rodney’s background to suggest that he is qualified for this position in Houston. There’s also, frankly, no reason to justify the outrageous salary that he’s being paid,” she said.

“We just have to ask Albertans to add one plus one plus one to get an inside deal to help Jason Kenney’s friend and insider whose biggest political achievement was stepping aside for Jason Kenney.”

Rodney had been an MLA since 2004 with the former Progressive Conservative party, which was later folded into the UCP.

While the Tories were in government, Rodney served as parliamentary secretary for Sustainable Resource Development and forged ties with U.S. legislators as Alberta’s energy representative to the Council of State Governments.

Kenney said Rodney has the business skills but also the legislative background critical to a job that is as much about politics as commerce.

“When (former politicians) sit down with governors, congresspeople, senators, mayors and others, they understand the political decision-making process.”

Rodney’s three-year term begins immediately. He’ll connect with investors and decision-makers in Texas through technology until the Canada-U.S. border reopens.

As part of the renewed effort at attracting investment, Kenney’s government has also introduced a bill to create the Invest Alberta Corp. It is to be an arm’s-length agency to promote the province to investors and to create new jobs.

Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir said the corporation will pursue investment in industries such as high-tech, aviation and aerospace and financial services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Alberta

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

Image/ Metro Creative Connection
County of Wetaskiwin responds to Alberta Energy Regulator’s decision on Directive 067.

On April 7, 2021 the Alberta Energy Regular (AER) announced a new edition of Directive 067.

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read