Jason Kenney calls allegations against UCP MLA ‘serious,’ doesn’t deny they involve ballot-stuffing
Speaking to reporters the day after his United Conservatives delivered two impressive byelection wins in different parts of Alberta, party leader Jason Kenney faced questions from reporters about a UCP MLA who was investigated, supposedly for possible ballot-stuffing at a constituency association’s founding annual general meeting.
“The view of the party is that the allegations are credible and serious and that is why we engaged a former Queen’s Bench judge to conduct an independent investigation,” Kenney told reporters in Calgary on Friday.
While Kenney and the UCP have never disclosed what the investigation is looking into, they have on multiple occasions been asked to talk about ballot-stuffing allegations levelled against Calgary-Greenway MLA Prab Gill. The party has not denied that is what Gill is accused of.
“Prab Gill has stepped aside as the UCP caucus deputy whip pending the outcome of an independent investigation,” the UCP told Global News in a statement on Thursday.
Watch below: In 2016, Doug Vaessen filed this report after Prab Gill won a byelection in Calgary-Greenway for the Progressive Conservatives.
On Friday, Kenney said former judge Ted Carruthers had completed his investigation mere moments before the UCP leader met with reporters.
“We’ve just received his report, minutes ago, I haven’t had the chance to review it,” Kenney said. “We will be doing so and responding in due course.”
LISTEN BELOW: Blogger Dave Cournoyer and Global News provincial reporter Tom Vernon speak to Ryan Jespersen about recent UCP headlines
When asked what he would do if the probe’s findings indicate Gill is guilty of misconduct, Kenney declined to answer, saying he didn’t want to speculate on its conclusions.
“It depends on what the report says,” he said. “There could be a number of different findings, I’m not going to speculate on that yet. But I do take this very seriously.
“We place a great emphasis on having a clean, open, democratic process and we would take very seriously any effort that has undermined that.”
Gill has been an MLA representing the constituency of Calgary-Greenway since March 2016 when he won a byelection as a member of the now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party. Earlier this month, a video posted to YouTube alleged voting irregularities at the founding annual general meeting of the UCP’s Calgary-North East constituency association. Allegations were later raised accusing Gill of being involved with misdoing.
“[I’ve been] concerned enough [about the matter] that I completely agree with the party’s decision to invite former justice Carruthers to launch an independent investigation in this matter,” Kenney said.
Grant Hunter, the MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner, has taken over as the UCP caucus’ deputy whip after Gill stepped down from the post.
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