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Premier Jason Kenney to travel to U.K. with adviser to attract investment to Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Ottawa on Monday Dec. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Ottawa on Monday Dec. 9, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Premier Jason Kenney is heading to London, England next week to promote Alberta’s energy sector and try to attract investment into the province, his office announced on Friday.

“One of the greatest challenges facing our largest industry is access to capital, particularly in European markets,” Kenney said in a news release.

“That’s why it’s critically important to tell Alberta’s story, partly in response to the campaign that has pushed for a ban on investment in our oilsands.”

READ MORE: Indigenous activists protest proposal of massive Alberta oilsands mine at COP25 in Madrid

According to the premier’s office, Kenney’s trip will see him meet with international business leaders and financial institutions and tell them about his government’s efforts to reduce red tape, introduce enhanced capital cost allowances, provide certainty to the oil and gas royalty structure and to take action on climate change “in a way that makes sense for Alberta’s economy.”

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“One of our key platform commitments to get Alberta back to work was to restore global investor confidence to our province,” Kenney said.

“London is the global financial capital, so it’s critical that we engage directly with financial leaders there who make decisions that affect our economy here at home.”

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Kenney’s office also said he will meet with Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor who was recently appointed the United Nation’s special envoy on climate change. Carney was previously the head of the Bank of Canada from 2008 until 2013, at the same time Kenney was a federal cabinet minister in Ottawa.

READ MORE: Bank of England’s Mark Carney to become United Nations climate finance envoy

The premier’s office said it estimates the cost of the trip, which runs from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, will be $34,000. Kenney will be accompanied by special advisor David Knight Legg and a security detail, which is factored into that cost estimate.

Last month, Alberta New Democats accused the Kenney government of mismanaging taxpayers’ money after it obtained invoices showing 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.

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“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.” NDP MLA Heather Sweet said at the time.

READ MORE: UCP top adviser billed taxpayers $45,000 in expenses, including luxury London hotel stays: NDP

The UCP defended the expenses in response to the criticism.

“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,” Harrison Fleming, a government spokesperson, said at the time.

Knight Legg was hired on as the premier’s principal adviser in May 2019, with a salary of $195,000.

— With files from Allison Bench, Global News

Watch below: Some Global News videos about Premier Jason Kenney.