Motion launched to compel Jason Kenney to testify in lawsuit against his office

A motion has been launched to try to compel Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to testify in an ongoing lawsuit against his office from a former government employee. 

Ariella Kimmel is suing for wrongful dismissal, alleging she was terminated in retaliation for attempting to raise concerns about what she alleges was a toxic workplace culture that included sexual harassment and heavy drinking. 

The premier’s office denies retaliatory termination, and says Kimmel was fired in line with her contract and had her own professionalism issues.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Premier Jason Kenney is not named. 

The lawsuit is now moving into the discovery phase, including testimony and evidence. Kimmel’s lawyer, Kathryn Marshall, requested the premier be made available to testify — and was told no. 

“We are bringing a motion to obtain a court order to compel the premier to attend for questioning because the government has refused to produce him,” she told CBC News. 

In a statement, the premier’s office said they have not yet received the filed copy of the motion. 

“This is a matter before the courts and we cannot comment further,” the statement said.

The motion’s court process will occur sometime this month and, if granted by a judge, would require Kenney to attend questioning on June 17. If he refused to appear, he could be found in contempt of court. 

The lawsuit was filed in October and prompted the premier’s office to launch a third-party review of its HR policies for staff. 

Jamie Pytel, the City of Edmonton’s integrity commissioner and co-founder of Kingsgate Legal, was chosen to conduct the work. 

The premier’s office promised any new policies implemented as a result of her review would be made public. They have not provided a deadline for that review publicly.

Kimmel’s legal team is currently trying to get a copy of the report. 

“The government is refusing to provide the report that resulted from the investigation launched into the government’s broken workplace policies, despite the fact that this investigation commenced as a direct result of Ms. Kimmel’s proceeding and is very relevant,” Marshall said. 

“We will be bringing a motion for the production of this report as well.”

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