Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

Gave up seat for Kenney to run: Premier defends hiring ex-MLA for trade office

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says hiring the former legislature member who gave up his constituency seat for Kenney was the right thing to do.

The premier dismissed a reporter’s question Wednesday on whether his appointment of Dave Rodney is political payback.

“He (Rodney) never asked for any kind of consideration in the future,” Kenney said.

“He’s been working in the private sector since that time. When we were looking for somebody to appoint to Houston, we had a short list and Dave just stood out to me as the kind of go-getter that we need.”

Kenney said Rodney approached him in late 2016 about leaving his Calgary-Lougheed seat in the legislature. Rodney eventually stepped down in the fall of 2017, after Kenney had just won the leadership of the United Conservative party. That led to a byelection that Kenny won two months later.

Earlier this week, Kenney announced Rodney will be the new agent general to Houston. He’ll be paid $250,000 a year to drum up business in the energy sector and other emerging fields.

The appointment is part of a broader plan for Alberta to be more aggressive attracting business and jobs from other jurisdictions to grow a provincial economy decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Albertans can connect the dots on the Rodney appointment to draw a stark picture of patronage.

“There’s very little in David Rodney’s background to suggest that he is qualified for this position in Houston. There’s also, frankly, no reason to justify the outrageous salary that he’s being paid,” she said.

“We just have to ask Albertans to add one plus one plus one to get an inside deal to help Jason Kenney’s friend and insider whose biggest political achievement was stepping aside for Jason Kenney.”

Rodney had been an MLA since 2004 with the former Progressive Conservative party, which was later folded into the UCP.

While the Tories were in government, Rodney served as parliamentary secretary for Sustainable Resource Development and forged ties with U.S. legislators as Alberta’s energy representative to the Council of State Governments.

Kenney said Rodney has the business skills but also the legislative background critical to a job that is as much about politics as commerce.

“When (former politicians) sit down with governors, congresspeople, senators, mayors and others, they understand the political decision-making process.”

Rodney’s three-year term begins immediately. He’ll connect with investors and decision-makers in Texas through technology until the Canada-U.S. border reopens.

As part of the renewed effort at attracting investment, Kenney’s government has also introduced a bill to create the Invest Alberta Corp. It is to be an arm’s-length agency to promote the province to investors and to create new jobs.

Economic Development Minister Tanya Fir said the corporation will pursue investment in industries such as high-tech, aviation and aerospace and financial services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2020

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Alberta

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

Ma & Paws Pet Supplies. Facebook/ Ma & Paws Pet Supplies.
Rimbey residents petition for dog park

Request for approval of dog park will be brought up at Tuesday Oct. 27 Town Council meeting.

Cases in Ponoka (East Ponoka County) as of Oct. 27. (alberta.ca)
Diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at three Ponoka businesses

Town ‘strongly encouraging’ residents to wear non-medical masks in public

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Alberta’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The Alberta government is hoping to get more Albertans employed by moving to limit the number and type of temporary foreign workers it allows into the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta to limit temporary foreign worker program to save jobs for Albertans

Temporary foreign workers already in the province won’t be affected

(Emily Jaycox/Bashaw Star)
Wreath laying ceremony held in Manfred, Alta.

Ceremony marks 64th anniversary of Hungarian revolution, honours settlers

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join AUPE walk outs across the province Monday Oct. 26, 2020. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
City of Wetaskiwin health-care workers strike in protest of province-wide cuts

Wetaskiwin Hospital staff join other front line hospital workers across the province in walk-outs.

Most Read