United Conservative Party investigating bribery allegations in Calgary-East race
Four defeated candidates in the United Conservative Party nomination race in Calgary-East are demanding party leadership reverse the results of the nomination.
Peter Singh won the nomination on Nov 3.
According to a letter obtained by Global News that was sent to UCP leader Jason Kenney and Chestermere-Rockyview MLA Leela Aheer, Singh won the nomination through “fraud, forgery, improper inducement, and bribery.”
Global News reached out to Singh for comment and did not receive a response. However, Singh told the Calgary Herald he denies the allegations against him and that he only learned of them on Wednesday.
The letter includes a list of over 100 people claiming they were offered or received gifts from Singh’s campaign, along with accusations people were signed up for UCP party memberships without their consent. Global News has also obtained sworn affidavits from people claiming they were offered $75 to $100 to vote for Singh.
“Two of the candidates specifically got some information from some of the members who had indicated that not only did they not have a membership and had not signed up for it, but knew exactly how they’d been signed up, and it wasn’t with their approval,” former Calgary-East UCP nomination candidate Andre Chabot said.
None of the allegations have been proven but UCP leader Jason Kenney said Thursday the party is investigating.
Kenney says it should be noted that the UCP has held 68 nomination races and only four have involved accusations of malfeasance or controversy.
“We obviously take seriously any allegations of wrongdoing so there will be a fair investigation into that particular instance,” Kenney said. “Inevitably, when you have hotly contested nominations, there are going to be in some cases complaints about the process.”
One political analyst believes that incidents like this could have an impact in the upcoming spring election.
“If it’s just one particular riding and just one particular candidate then they might lose that particular riding and that candidate might not be successful in the election,” MRU associate professor of policy, Lori Williams, said. “But if it starts to be associated with the party itself, it can do much more damage.”
NDP deputy premier Sarah Hoffman said the investigation should go to the police, given it’s alleged that people’s credit card numbers were used without their knowledge to purchase UCP memberships.
“If somebody were using credit card information that wasn’t granted to do so in purchasing things, that certainly sounds like allegations of fraud and I don’t think an internal party process is appropriate,” she said. “I think the UCP should be referring this to police.”
Neither Calgary police nor the Alberta elections commissioner would confirm whether the allegations are being formally investigated.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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