The UCP are again being accused of mismanaging taxpayer dollars. The NDP claims the UCP spent thousands on a high-level provincial staffer’s travel, amounting to what the opposition is calling a “life of luxury.”
On Wednesday, NDP critic for democracy and ethics, Heather Sweet, said that the NDP had obtained invoices that show Premier Jason Kenney‘s principal adviser David Knight Legg had billed over $45,000 in expenses over a six-month period, including $18,000 in relation to four recent trips to London.
“While he was in London, Mr. Knight Legg stayed in five-star hotels,” said Sweet.
“Even as Premier Kenney is saying the province is broke, even as he’s cutting funding for schools and hospitals, cutting the benefits for disabled Albertans… the premier’s own staff are living a life of luxury.”
Some of the expenses outlined from the NDP include a three-night stay in September at Kettners totaling nearly $1,200 British Pounds, a hotel in London’s Soho neighbourhood that describes itself as “a home to aristocrats.”
“Why would he need to go four times?” asked Sweet. “He could have gone to London and stayed at a two-star hotel,” she said.
The NDP is asking for a full itinerary to be released on the London meetings.
“We would like to see what that trip was about, why he had to go so frequently, and who he met with,” Sweet said
The UCP defended the expenses on Wednesday, saying in a statement from deputy press secretary Harrison Fleming that: “under the NDP, Alberta saw tens of billions of dollars in job-creating investment flee our province,”
“Mr. Knight Legg, a highly-credentialed and experienced business professional, is tasked with working to bring investment back to Alberta. This obviously includes meeting with companies and investors to sell the merits of Alberta,” Fleming said.
Fleming added that: “Mr. Knight Legg also hosts meetings with investors at the hotel, which requires being in or near the financial district of the city.”
David Knight Legg was hired on as the premier’s principal adviser in May 2019, with a salary of $195,000.
This allegation comes under a week after the NDP also accused the UCP of spending $16,000 on a charter flight for premiers following a Calgary Stampede event.