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k.d. lang invites Jason Kenney to Calgary Pride; spokesperson says he’s busy with UCP campaign

K.d. lang
k.d. lang waves to the crowd after receiving a Juno for her Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction during the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Alberta crooner k.d. lang has invited Jason Kenney to Calgary’s Pride festivities — but it appears he won’t be attending.

The country singer took to Twitter on Tuesday to offer Kenney — a leadership candidate for the province’s new United Conservative Party — free tickets to a concert if he’d sit down and discuss LGBTQ rights with her.

Lang’s offer followed a tweet from blogger Mike Morrison, who also invited Kenney on Twitter to attend Pride.

It all stemmed from a statement Kenney’s spokeswoman, Annie Dormuth, issued Monday, saying he would skip the annual parade because he wasn’t invited.

In response to lang’s invitation, another spokesman, Blaise Boehmer, tweeted that Kenney was “100% focused” on the leadership campaign and had a “packed week meeting with members.”

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Calgary Pride begins Friday and ends Sept. 4. The marquee parade will be held on Sept 3.

READ MORE: Jason Kenney slammed for comments about gay-straight alliances

In Edmonton on Wednesday, Alberta deputy premier Sarah Hoffman encouraged Kenney to meet with lang.

“I think she probably would be able to help him learn a few things,” Hoffman told reporters at the legislature.

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While lang and Morrison urged Kenney to attend, parade organizers made it clear on the weekend that the United Conservative Party was not welcome because the party doesn’t have a clear stance on sexual diversity issues.

Leadership candidate Brian Jean said he hoped they would reconsider, noting he had asked to march in the parade and has always championed diversity and tolerance. Jean’s campaign organizers said he might try to attend as a spectator.

Others affiliated with the party expect to attend as spectators, too, including interim leader Nathan Cooper, and leadership candidates Doug Schweitzer and Jeff Callaway.

The United Conservative Party was created last month after members of the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties voted overwhelmingly to join forces. A new leader is to be picked in October.

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READ MORE: Jason Kenney won’t release policy platform before UCP vote in Alberta

Both the PCs and Wildrose have had strained relationships with the LGBTQ community.

The Wildrose party lost the 2012 general election in part due to its refusal to sanction a candidate who once warned gays to repent or face eternity in hell’s “lake of fire.”

The PCs faced a backlash in government over their handling of gay-straight alliances before passing legislation acceptable to all sides in early 2015.

Kenney has had an especially fractious relationship with the LGBTQ community, drawing criticism for urging that parents, in some circumstances, be told if their children attend a gay-straight alliance group. Critics say that could out kids before they are ready and put them at risk of family estrangement or worse.

With files from Dean Bennett