The United Conservative Party caucus is saying an email MLA Dave Hanson received from the person who vandalized his office in St. Paul on Wednesday shows he was motivated by an NDP minister’s tweet.
The UCP say the assailant emailed Hanson the next morning after in the incident apologizing for hic actions, and explains he was influenced by a tweet “about a 700 million dollar tax break and cutting almost all AISH supports.”
The email states he is an AISH (assured income of severely disabled) recipient and feels “almost threatened by the next UCP government.” It also says he doesn’t feel safe in his community.
The original tweet from the Minister of Community and Social Services, Irfan Sabir, on Tues. Jan. 15, insinuates the UCP would cut AISH if they get into power in the upcoming election.
.@Alberta_UCP plan to give a $700 million tax break to the richest 1%. To pay for this, they would have to cut almost all of AISH which supports 60,000 people. Our govt will not let this happen – we will continue to fight for you and protect your services. #AbLeg #abpoli
— Irfan Sabir (@IrfanSabirMLA) January 16, 2019
Hanson says the UCP have never claimed any of the Minister’s notions.
“The guy got very upset about it because he is an AISH recipient, and his thought was to retaliate against the UCP, but in this case my office,” said Hanson on Thursday.
“Nobody from our party has said anything about cancelling AISH or cutting front-line services. As a matter of fact, we voted for an increase in AISH payments to tie them with inflation back in November. The idea of the Minister saying we’re going to cut AISH is absolutely irresponsible and ridiculous,” he said.
In November, Minister Sabir introduced Bill 26 in the legislature which upped the benefits of AISH recipients.
The bill was supported by the UCP and MLA Hanson spoke on the issue in the legislature during first and second reading.
“I would expect that a tweet coming out, especially from the Minister of the Crown, be based on some reality. And this tweet is not. Like I said before, no one from our party has said anything about cutting AISH payments, so for him to come out with a tweet like that is totally irresponsible.”
The incident happened late Tuesday night around midnight. RCMP were quickly called and a short time later, the 34-year-old man was arrested.
A spokesperson from the Minister Sabir’s office said in response: “We condemn all forms of violence and vandalism. There is a clear way for Mr. Kenney and the UCP to dispute that they’re planning to cut health care and social services and that is to commit to not cutting health care and social services.”
He was released with a mischief charge Wednesday and then emailed the office apologizing for his actions, said Hanson.