Former United Conservative Party MLA Prab Gill, who now sits as an independent, has asked the RCMP to investigate allegations of voter fraud in Jason Kenney’s 2017 UCP leadership victory.
In a letter sent to the RCMP, Gill said thousands of illegitimate votes may have been cast for Kenney through the use of “fraudulent email addresses added onto the membership application.”
Gill said he was personally told the Kenney campaign had “created thousands of emails somewhere off-shore, which would be used for voting for Mr. Kenney in the leadership vote.”
He also claims a nominated UCP candidate ran a voting kiosk at a warehouse that was used to access fraudulent emails and cast votes on the three days voting was open in the 2017 leadership race.
“At the time, I thought all this was only cheating and dirty politics,” Gill wrote in his letter to RCMP. “I did not know of any election law that was broken, but since then, I have learned that this may be a violation of the identity fraud section of the criminal code.”
The RCMP confirmed to Global News it received the letter, which was sent to Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki on Feb. 11, 2019.
“We have received that letter and contacted the office of the Alberta Elections Commissioner,” Alberta RCMP media relations specialist Fraser Logan told Global News. Logan would not comment further on the matter.
Neither of Gill’s allegations have been proven in court and the RCMP did not confirm whether an investigation will take place.
“This issue impacts all Albertans,” Gill said in an interview with Global News on Thursday. “My hope is that the authorities look into this and thoroughly investigate all the matters and bring the truth to Albertans because Albertans deserve to know the truth.”
Gill left the UCP caucus in July 2018 after an internal probe into ballot-stuffing and said he’s still unsure if he plans to run again in the upcoming spring election. The results of that investigation have not been released by the UCP.
UCP executive director Janice Harrington said Thursday that significant safeguards were put in place during the leadership contest to avoid voter fraud, including the employment of a private contractor with advanced technological capabilities.
“All voting members had to physically verify their identity using government-issued ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.),” Harrington said in a statement. “This was specifically to prevent mass sign-ups of false memberships. Methods were also used to ensure that a high volume of votes were not being cast from the same location.”
Harrington said the results of the leadership race were certified by the security firm and audited by a CPA-designated firm, adding that all leadership campaigns signed off on the results.
“In the end, Mr. Kenney won on the first ballot by over 17,000 votes, representing roughly two-thirds of the votes cast,” she said.
Meantime, Gill is also asking Premier Rachel Notley to delay the upcoming spring election until an investigation is complete.
“Let’s put these partisan differences aside and find out what is really going on here so people can again have faith in politicians,” he said.
Kenney denied the allegations at a news conference on Thursday.
“This is transparently ridiculous,” he said. “We all know what’s going on here. It’s sad to see Prab descend to this level.
“The truth is, the United Conservative Party administered what was probably the most careful, secure leadership vote — certainly in Alberta, but Canadian history.”
Kenney told reporters the main criticism during the UCP leadership race was that it was very complicated to obtain a membership. According to Kenney, applicants photo IDs were verified by staff, and then potential members had to create an online profile before receiving a pin that would allow them to vote in the race.
“This is an abuse of police time and resources,” Kenney said. “They do not have the time to chase completely ridiculous conspiracy theories from a discredited politician that was found by a former judge to, himself, have been involved in vote fraud.”
Kenney said he has not been contacted by the RCMP or the Alberta Elections Commissioner.