WATCH: The Wildrose Party is calling on the NDP to explain its choice for newly-appointed staffer Brent Dancey, after court records were posted online. Online reporter Erika Tucker joins us with the details.
CALGARY – Alberta’s Wildrose party called on the NDP to explain the appointment of Brent Dancey as chief of staff for the minister of status of women and environment on Tuesday.
The Wildrose cited reports that Dancey was convicted of a brutal assault, for which he served nine months in prison. The Rebel published links to what it claims are Saskatchewan court records dating back to 1994, which detail Dancey’s involvement in a mob that attacked a man, punching and kicking him as he lay on the ground.
A spokesperson for the Courts of Saskatchewan said a pardon had since been granted in the case, but declined to provide further details.
“As the Shadow Minister for the Status of Women I find the appointment of Mr. Dancey deeply concerning and Albertans I’ve spoken with are looking for explanations,” said Wildrose Shadow Minister for the Status of Women Angela Pitt in a statement. “Violence against women is one of the top issues facing the new women’s ministry, and the fact the NDP thought it was appropriate to appoint someone with an apparent criminal history of violence as a top advisor to the minister is incredibly out-of-touch with the values of Alberta families.”
A spokesperson for the NDP declined to comment on the case, and wouldn’t confirm if Dancey was still employed by the government, or if there was an internal investigation into his past.
“There are a number of legal implications and issues that may arise as per the publication of the details in this matter, and so because of that, it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time,” said Cheryl Oates, communications for Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
Global News attempted to contact Dancey directly to ask him about the allegations, but didn’t hear back by the time of publication.
A #FireDancey hashtag appears to have originated from The Rebel, which also started a petition for his removal from office. The Rebel media company is run by ultra-Conservative former Sun Media personality Ezra Levant.
The Wildrose Party declined an interview on the topic, referring to its original statement.
“We’ve seen a pattern emerge from this government of appointing staffers with dubious backgrounds to high-level positions,” said Pitt in the statement. “If the Premier believes that Mr. Dancey is the best person for the job, she should explain to Albertans what his qualifications are because we just don’t see them.”
Dancey was a key member of Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger’s staff, serving as a special adviser to the cabinet on energy issues before he left for Alberta at the end of May.