Jason Kenney re-hires aide who sent Tory appeal on Commons letterhead

Posted by admin on May 30th, 2011

By Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, May 30 2011

A senior Conservative aide who quit in March over a fundraising controversy is already back on staff at the office of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Kasra Nejatian left a position as a lawyer in New York to work for Mr. Kenney in January, but was forced to quit his government job two months later amid accusations that Mr. Kenney was using his political office for partisan purposes.

Mr. Nejatian is not yet listed on the government’s Internet directory, and the receptionist in Mr. Kenney’s office could not confirm what position he holds. However, Mr. Nejatian is now expected to act as Mr. Kenney’s director of communications, replacing Alykhan Velshi who recently left Ottawa.

Mr. Nejatian broke several rules when he used Mr. Kenney’s MP’s office letterhead for an appeal to Conservative MPs to raise $200,000 for an ad blitz in opposition-held ridings with large ethnic communities. He compounded his error by sending the whole package, including a detailed presentation on how the Conservatives would woo immigrant Canadians, to NDP MP Linda Duncan, when no doubt he intended it for Conservative MP John Duncan.

The mailing provided the opposition with much information on the Conservative Party’s strategy to appeal to ethnic voters. The controversy obviously had little or no impact as the Conservatives expanded their reach in Ontario and won a majority on May 2, in large part with the help of voters in the Greater Toronto Area.

Mr. Kenney took personal responsibility for Mr. Nejatian’s mistake in March. He explained that he had directed his staffer to send the pitch for donations, but was unaware that it was done on parliamentary letterhead as he headed to Islamabad to represent Canada at a funeral.

“Had I not been out of the country this wouldn’t have happened because I insist on signing my own correspondence,” Mr. Kenney said.

Mr. Kenney’s spokeswoman, Celyeste Power, confirmed Mr. Nejatian’s return to the ministerial office as director of communications. “Kasra is very talented and will be a very positive contributor to our government. We’re happy to have him back,” she said.

Mr. Nejatian is in the office, but has yet to return a phone call to The Globe and Mail.

Comments are closed.