During the first few days of the Alberta election campaign, the NDP has focused on Jason Kenney’s record on LGBTQ issues.
On Wednesday, the NDP claimed the United Conservative Party leader has “been fighting against LGBTQ rights his entire life and he continues that fight today.”
Incumbent Edmonton NDP MLA Sarah Hoffman announced a TV ad attacking Kenney’s record on LGBTQ rights, particularly his role in a campaign to overturn a law extending hospital visitation rights to gay couples during the 1980s AIDS epidemic in San Francisco.
WATCH: UCP Leader Jason Kenney responds to attacks by political parties on his past positions on LGBTQ issues.
Decades-old audio of him discussing that campaign surfaced late last year and Kenney has since said he regrets those remarks.
When asked whether the negative campaigning might sour voters, Hoffman said: “I believe Jason Kenney’s unfit to be premier of Alberta and that Albertans deserve to know who the real Jason Kenney is.”
Members and supporters of Alberta’s LGBTQ community have also attacked Kenney’s history on the issue since NDP leader Rachel Notley dropped the writ on Tuesday.
Kenney said he regrets organizing a petition calling for a referendum to repeal the city of San Francisco ordinance extending recognition rights of heterosexual couples, such as hospital visitation, to same-sex couples.
In December he added, since then, his public record in Parliament showed he supports domestic partner arrangements and benefits for couples regardless of sexual orientation.
“I have been clear for years that I accept the new social, legal and political consensus on the definition of marriage in Canada,” Kenney said on Thursday.
“I publicly supported a motion at the Conservative Party of Canada’s 2016 Convention to remove language in its policy declaration which affirmed the traditional definition of marriage.”
The United Conservative Party’s FACTCHECK Alberta argued at that time Kenney was “representing the views of the majority of Canadians, Albertans and his constituents in his position and that this view was virtually universal amongst political figures across the political spectrum, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”
The website highlighted ways in which Kenney supported LBGTQ rights.
“As federal Minister of Immigration, one of his first acts was to create Canada’s first ever specific refugee resettlement program for gay refugees, specifically from those fleeing potential execution in Iran, which included providing financial support to groups in the gay community supporting these refugees.”
The UCP also noted Kenney supported domestic partnership in 2005 when same-sex marriage was being debated in Parliament.
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