Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has despatched a cease-and-desist letter to a Calgary-based information outlet due to what his lawyer calls “false and defamatory allegations” in a latest article.
The letter from the lawyer, obtained by CBC Information, issues an article printed Wednesday by the Western Customary web site that alleged Kenney has had social gatherings at a restaurant, Edmonton’s Bottega 104, in contravention of COVID-19 restrictions because the new yr.
These gatherings allegedly included Minister of Surroundings and Parks Jason Nixon and Minister of Well being Tyler Shandro.
The article additionally alleged Kenney and others attended gatherings on the personal residence of a lobbyist.
The article is predicated solely on unnamed sources who the Western Customary says attended the gatherings.
Kenney’s workplace denied the allegations by way of Twitter on Wednesday. CBC Information has not verified the reality of the allegations.
The allegations are “an entire fabrication,” in keeping with the letter from lawyer Steven Dollansky.
“Premier Kenney, Minister Nixon and Minister Shandro haven’t attended any indoor dinners at Bottega 104 (or another restaurant) whereas indoor eating was prohibited by public well being restrictions.”
It says the premier had two meals at Bottega 104, as soon as in 2019 and as soon as once more final summer season in full compliance with well being orders.
“Additional, not one of the elected officers that you’ve got talked about have attended any ‘unlawful gatherings’ within the personal residences of lobbyists as alleged or in any respect.”
The managing companion of the restaurant additionally denies the allegations.
“The report is fake, the premier has by no means dined right here,” Antonio Petosa informed CBC Information. “I spoke to the reporter on the Western Customary and informed him the identical factor. He can be contacted by our legal professionals.”
Petosa says he can present safety digital camera footage, if given the dates of the alleged gatherings, proving the premier was not there. The article didn’t specify the dates.
Kenneyafter he and others have been photographed eating on an out of doors patio over the Alberta legislative grounds. Kenney conceded individuals have been sitting too shut collectively.
Western Customary stands by article
The cease-and-desist letter additionally claims the Western Customary acted irresponsibly as a result of Kenney’s response was not sought or included within the article.
His workplace says it has no report of a media request from the Western Customary. The publication says it requested for remark at 5:49 p.m. The article was printed seven minutes later.
“Pure hypothesis is just not journalism and unsubstantiated gossip is just not information,” the letter reads. It calls the article “nothing greater than a sensational political hit piece designed to drive web page impressions and industrial earnings.”
The letter calls on the Western Customary to instantly take away the article and any associated tweets, problem a written retraction, apologize to the premier and people named within the article, and chorus from publishing any additional defamatory content material associated to the statements or the article.
Western Customary maintains the story was correct.
“We stand by our story. We’ve a number of credible sources who gave us the identical assertion intimately,” writer and CEO Derek Fildebrandt informed CBC Information.
“We imagine that the easiest way to handle the story is to reply our reporter’s questions and to not attempt to silence an impartial media outlet that doesn’t settle for federal media subsidies with a slapsuit. They know that they’ve vastly better assets than we do and hope that this may make it go away. We’re retaining counsel and can have additional statements sooner or later.”
Fildebrandt stop the caucus of Alberta’s United Conservative Occasion in 2017 amid controversy, together with being discovered responsible of a success and run, being charged with unlawful looking and having rented out his condominium on Airbnb whereas claiming a housing allowance as an MLA.
After being elected chief, Kenney mentioned Fildebrandt wouldn’t be welcomed again within the UCP caucus or be allowed to hunt the occasion nomination in his driving after he “intentionally misled” the occasion about his authorized points. Fildebrandt ran as an impartial and was defeated by the UCP candidate.
The 2 males have disagreed on the small print that led to that call. Fildebrandt alleged that Kenney privately informed him he may rejoin the occasion and omitted details in his public assertion on the time. Kenney mentioned Fildebrandt had been informed he would wish the help of caucus to be readmitted as a member and would wish to make sure “there have been no excellent moral or authorized points that might deliver embarrassment to him or the occasion.”