Kenney says ‘personal compassion’ behind contribution to landowner’s legal fund

CALGARY — Alberta’s premier says compassion drove him to donate to a southern Alberta man who is being sued by an intruder he shot on his property last year.

Jason Kenney contributed $100 to an online fundraising campaign that has so far raised more than $42,000 for Edouard Maurice’s legal defence.

Kenney says it was legitimate for him to make the contribution as a citizen.

In a recent Facebook post, Kenney also encouraged others to pitch in to help Maurice and his family.

A statement of claim says Ryan Watson entered Maurice’s property near Okotoks, south of Calgary, in February 2018, and was hit in the arm by a warning shot.

Watson is seeking damages for pain and suffering, and for loss of income.

Watson pleaded guilty earlier this year to mischief and breaching probation. He was sentenced to 45 days jail, but was released due to time he had spent in custody before trial.

RCMP also charged Maurice with aggravated assault and weapons offences, but the Crown stayed the case against him a few months later, citing a low probability of conviction.

“So sorry that you are going through this,” Kenney posted a few days ago on the FundRazr page for Maurice.

Kenney told reporters Tuesday it was a small contribution.

“It’s just a sign of personal compassion,” he said. “I think it’s very unfortunate for Mr. Maurice.”

The premier noted he also contributed to the legal defence of his friend retired vice-admiral Mark Norman, when he was charged with breach of trust before reaching a confidential settlement with the federal government earlier this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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