Alta. premier sends stop, desist letter over story claiming he broke COVID-19 guidelines

2021-06-11 03:07:00

A web-based publication has been despatched a cease-and-desist letter by the legal professionals of Alberta’s premier over a narrative it ran alleging Jason Kenney and different prime authorities officers broke the province’s COVID-19 guidelines.

Kenney known as the Western Customary’s story “a fabrication from starting to finish” throughout a information convention Thursday afternoon.

His legal professionals stated it was “unsubstantiated gossip.” They demanded the Western Customary take away the article and associated tweets, and problem a written retraction and apology.

Printed Wednesday night, the story cites unnamed elected representatives, in addition to senior staffers, alleging Kenney took half in dinners at a downtown restaurant whereas indoor eating was banned by public well being order. It alleged Alberta Well being Minister Tyler Shandro and Atmosphere and Parks Minister Jason Nixon had been there, too.

CTV Information has been unable to confirm the reality of the allegations.

The story’s byline belongs to Derek Fildebrandt, writer and former chief of the Freedom Conservative Social gathering. Fildebrandt based the occasion in 2018 after being faraway from Kenney’s United Conservative Social gathering.

He advised CTV Information in an emailed assertion, “The Western Customary stands by its story. Our reporters did their due diligence in cross-verifying sources.”


Fildebrandt added, “If the Premier wished to problem any facet of the Western Customary’s story, he or his employees ought to have responded to our direct questions.”

He disputed claims the publication by no means requested for remark from Kenney’s workplace.


Based on Kenney, he has solely dined at Bottega 104, an Italian restaurant in Edmonton’s downtown core, on two events previous to pandemic restrictions being in place.

The cease-and-desist letter reads: “Within the case of Premier Kenney, he has solely attended Bottega 104 on two events – as soon as in 2019 and a second time for lunch in July 2020 in full compliance with public well being restrictions.”

The premier added on Thursday, “Sometimes previously few months I’ve dined out just a few instances when it was permissible for eating places to function with one among my two designated shut private contacts or on my own, and to indicate some help for the business throughout powerful instances. However the story is totally false.”

One of many restaurant’s managing companions, Antonio Petosa, unequivocally denied any violations of Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions – together with indoor dinners by authorities officers.

Petosa stated he bought a name from a Western Customary reporter on Wednesday. It was the primary time he heard of the publication, he says.

“He requested me level clean to touch upon the truth that Jason Kenney and his cupboard ministers had been having unlawful lunches and dinners right here at Bottega,” Petosa recalled.

Motioning to safety cameras all through the restaurant, he says he replied, “Except you could have proof, as a result of I’ve proof he wasn’t.”

Bottega, Antonio Petosa

Petosa advised CTV Information he provided to tug the safety footage for the Western Customary if it supplied dates, however heard no response. He provided CTV Information the identical factor, however stated 5 months of 24-hour footage was an excessive amount of to undergo with no particular allegation.

“If this gents can show that it did, then we will have a dialogue. Till then, it is a false story from presumably a disgruntled ex-member of no matter and this stuff are hurtful.”

Official Opposition and Alberta NDP Chief Rachel Notley would not touch upon the reality of the Western Customary’s story, however stated it might symbolize inside UCP melee.

“What we all know for a truth is that they’re targeted completely on the flawed issues and that Albertans don’t know who to belief as a result of that’s what Jason Kenney has taught them to conclude.”

Kenney acknowledged his caucus had seen differing concepts about the best way to handle COVID-19, however denied any inside rift.


Petosa stated Bottega’s social media and e-mail channels have been exploding because the story went on-line. Some commentators have claimed, for some time, to have seen Kenney there.

“When? Give me while you noticed him? After which they do not reply. As soon as the burden of proof is placed on different individuals, nobody to this point has been capable of reply,” he stated.

“With the web being what it’s, as soon as it is on the market, it is on the market. And it is not like somebody can take it again or erase it or delete it.”

He stated the enterprise is searching for authorized recommendation, however within the meantime, is left hoping the identical prospects who had been so supportive throughout COVID-19 shutdowns stay loyal.

One other downtown restaurant with an identical identify, a tapas spot known as Bodega, additionally put out an announcement asserting its full compliance with Alberta’s public well being orders.

With information from CTV Information’ Jeremy Thompson, Invoice Fortier and Timm Bruch

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