CALGARY – One of two Liberal candidates asked to leave a Calgary polling centre on Friday was aware advanced voting was taking place, but was not there to campaign, his manager said Monday.
Darshan Kang, who is running in the Calgary Skyview riding, and Cam Stewart, running in Calgary Forest Lawn, were both invited to speak at an event taking place at the Genesis Centre on Friday.
A statement from the Liberal Party said the Genesis Centre is a large building, and that many scheduled activities are not cancelled when voting is taking place inside.
“Our candidates were there to attend an event unrelated to the vote that was taking place,” said an email from Liberal Party spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau. “Our candidates were NOT there to canvass people heading to the polls.”
Kang’s campaign manager said the Muslim community holds a weekly private event called “Friday Prayers” that Kang has been invited to speak at several times over the past few weeks.
“This Friday was no different,” said Robbie Schuett.
“We didn’t think it would interfere with the advance polling location because that was in a separate area of the Genesis Centre…We just didn’t realize where the limits were on the boundaries of where the polling station was.
“On his way out, he obviously knows these people very well, so he was talking to his friends from that community, and that’s when that picture was taken,” added Schuett, referring to a photo obtained by media that reports suggested he was campaigning.
Schuett said a returning officer told Kang the entire centre was considered an advance polling station, so he left the building.
“There were no pamphlets being handed out, he wasn’t even campaigning; he was just saying hi to friends that he knew – just talking to members of the community leaving Friday Prayers.”
Stewart’s campaign manager said Stewart was “invited to attend Muslim prayers and answer any questions attendees may have had in regards to the Liberal Party” in an email sent Monday night.
“At no time was Cam aware that the centre was a polling centre and as soon as he was alerted it was a polling centre he left immediately.”