A former UCP MLA, who now sits in the Alberta legislature as an independent, says he’s being threatened with legal action by Jason Kenney for blowing the whistle with allegations of wrongdoing in the party’s leadership race.
“Mr. Kenney and the UCP have sent me a cease and desist letter regarding the allegation I made to RCMP K Division,” Prab Gill told Global News on Tuesday night.
“[They sent it] to threaten and bully me and now this is their attempt to use the court system to shut down a whistleblower.”
The Calgary-Greenway MLA sent a letter to the RCMP last month in which he alleged thousands of illegitimate votes may have been cast for Kenney in the 2017 vote through a scheme that involved “fraudulent email addresses added onto the membership application.”
Watch below: (From Feb. 14, 2019) Independent MLA Prab Gill is accusing Jason Kenney’s campaign of creating thousands of fraudulent emails to help him win the UCP leadership in 2017. Adam MacVicar reports.
The RCMP has confirmed to Global News that it received the letter and has since reached out the the Alberta election commissioner.
“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.”
“His allegations are baseless,” Kenney told reporters on Wednesday. “They’re coming from somebody who’s, I guess, angry with the consequences of his own actions, and so if he wants to continue with that, he will be held accountable.
“Mr. Gill was removed from our caucus and barred from running for the UCP because he was found by a former judge to have engaged in ballot-stuffing and vote fraud. And that says all you need to know about his credibility.”
Gill suggested to Global News that he believes Albertans will be concerned by Kenney’s cease and desist letter.
“They can figure this out,” he said. “If elected officials are treated like this, I can’t even imagine their behaviour towards everyday Albertans.”
Listen below: Prab Gill speaks to 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen.
Kenney said in his 20-plus years in office, he has never threatened anyone with a defamation lawsuit.
“I’ve got a pretty thick skin,” he said. “I just think this has crossed every red line.
On Tuesday, a Twitter account connected to Kenney tweeted an edited video showing Gill and Jeremy Nolais, who works in the premier’s office, leaving a room in the Federal Building. The video implied that Gill may be joining the NDP and drew widespread criticism for conducting surveillance on politicians, using dramatic effects in the video-editing process and making unfounded allegations about the purpose of the meeting.
Gill told Global News he met with Nolais about questions to do with funding for a school. However, on Wednesday, Kenney said he believes Gill’s “campaign of defamation” is being co-ordinated with the help of the premier’s office, “based on that meeting this week.”
“Trump-style politics is being deployed in Alberta,” Gill said of the video, adding that he feels so intimidated by Kenney and the UCP that he now fears for his safety. “This is a new low in Alberta politics.”
Watch below: (from March 5, 2019) A UCP video showing government adviser Jeremy Nolais and Independent MLA Prab Gill leaving a room in the Federal Building has people talking. Albert Delitala spoke to a public relations expert on the strange nature of the video and what it says about the changing nature of politics.
The 2017 UCP leadership campaign has come under close scrutiny recently. Just last week, the province’s election commissioner levied three fines in connection with the race.
Alberta’s election commissioner levied two fines against a campaign manager for Jeff Callaway’s UCP leadership bid, after finding he obstructed an investigation. The commissioner later issued another fine to someone who donated to Callaway’s campaign, finding they contributed money to a registered UCP leadership contestant “with funds given or furnished by another person.” The fine was issued in accordance with Section 34(1) of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act.
A lawyer for Callaway’s campaign manager, Dale Fedorchuk, told Global News his client denies the allegations.
In 2017, a political analyst with Calgary’s Mount Royal University told Global News there had been speculation that Callaway’s leadership bid was as a “stalking horse” for Kenney.
“Originally, Derek Fildebrandt was supposed to be the attack dog for Kenney vs. Brian Jean,” Duane Bratt said at the time.
But then Fildebrandt was forced to step down from the UCP caucus amid controversy over his conduct.
“It all looks very suspicious.”
Kenney has vehemently denied Callaway was running a kamikaze campaign to benefit his leadership bid.
You can view the cease and desist letter in its entirety below.
–With files from Global News’ Adam MacVicar