August 28, 2014 12:08 am

Lukaszuk says call from ‘distressed cabinet minister’ contributed to $20,000 cell phone bill

Watch above: Details have emerged on what caused Thomas Lukazsuk’s phone bill to balloon to $20,000 while on a trip to Europe in October 2012.

EDMONTON – Alberta PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk says a call from a “distressed cabinet minister” contributed to $20,000 in cell phone charges he racked up during a trip overseas.

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Lukaszuk says the name of the minister and the details of the alleged incident are protected by a publication ban, but says he received the call on his government cell phone while on a personal trip in October 2012.

“I had received on my government cell phone a call from a distressed cabinet minister saying that, ‘I’m in a situation where there was some violence involved and police are on the way. What do I do?'”

Lukaszuk says he stayed on the phone “for some time” to counsel the minister until police arrive. He says the minister contacted him in an official capacity, as he was deputy premier at the time of the call.

“I did what I felt was morally the right thing to do. There is no code of conduct on how to deal with a distressed cabinet minister calling me in the middle of the night, but I did what I could to assist that cabinet minister,” Lukaszuk said over the phone Wednesday night.

The leadership candidate says the following day he contacted the premier’s office about the call. He says 2 gigabytes of data were used as parties had video conferences and exchanged documents.

Details of the $20,000 bill surfaced Monday, after the Edmonton Sun obtained documents itemizing more than $20,000 worth of roaming charges.

The government says it tried fighting the bill, but failed.

READ MORE: Lukaszuk defends $20,000 data roaming charges

Calgary police are investigating to determine who leaked the information about the cell phone bill.

Lukaszuk is one of three candidates vying for the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership. Jim Prentice and Ric McIver are also running.

Both the Prentice and McIver campaigns have denied leaking the document.

PC party members will cast their votes for the new leader on Sept. 6.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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