June 9, 2021
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, as well as several of his key senior ministers and inner circle advisors have been having repeated secret, illegal dinners during their government’s lockdown, the Western Standard has learned.
Sources – one minister, two MLAs and several senior staffers, including one in the Premier’s Office – say the booze-fueled covert dinners have been happening since January.
Request for comment from the Premier’s Office was not returned as of publishing.
But on Twitter, Kenney staffer Brock Harrison denied the story.
“The story published tonight by the @WSOnlineNews is a total fabrication with no basis in fact. The Premier has directed his lawyer to send a defamation notice to the publication and a demand that the story be removed immediately,” he tweeted.
“In addition, contrary to the claim that ‘request for comment from the Premier’s Office was not returned as of publishing,’ the Premier’s Office has no record of such a request from the Western Standard.
But Western Standard records show the email to the premier office was sent at 5:49 p.m.
All of the sources who spoke to the Western Standard on condition of anonymity say the Kenney dinners have often taken place at Bottega 104, an Italian restaurant approximately 10 minutes walk from the Alberta Legislature.
A manager at Bottega 104 denied that any illegal government dinners took place there, but several MLAs say that it was the most common place for the dinners to be held. One source in the Premier’s Office said Kenney’s government SUV was regularly parked in front of Bottega 104 during the evening.
A Western Standard reporter visited Bottega 104 and confirmed it contains a private room.
The cabinet source told the Western Standard most of the meetings were between Kenney and his inner circle of ministers and senior staff, but at least once there were significantly more in the room and most were intoxicated.
The source also said that Environment Minister Jason Nixon and Health Minister Tyler Shandro were in regular attendance.
Prior to the Bottega 104 dinners other illegal gatherings were held at the private residence of a prominent Edmonton lobbyist.
When contacted for comment, the lobbyist denied any knowledge of the dinners.
None of the alleged illegal dinners are proven to have taken place, however the details of them have been cross-verified by multiple credible sources inside of the government