OTTAWA – It’s good to be Jason Kenney’s friend, especially if you’re running in an election for his party.
The Conservative from Alberta, and former cabinet minister, sits in one of the wealthiest Conservative ridings in the country with a local war chest that dwarfs many of his colleagues.
That spending might was on display in the last election when Kenney’s association in Calgary Midnapore doled out $183,000 to 44 candidates based on returns from some 1,500 candidates filed with Elections Canada by the end of March.
About half of that money went to ridings in and around Toronto where the Conservatives were trying to hold seats in places like Brampton that were key to giving the Tories their majority in 2011.
While his association mainly sent payments of $5,000 or $2,500, six candidates received $10,000 each from Kenney: Ted Opitz and Roxanne James in Toronto, Wladyslaw Lizon in Mississauga, Michael Parsa in Richmond Hill, Greg Rickford in the northern Ontario riding of Kenora, and Kenny Chiu in the B.C. riding of Steveston-Richmond East.
All six lost.
But Kenney may end up the winner: all that spending could eventually count for something should he decide to run for the leadership of the Conservative party.