The Alberta RCMP has taken the lead on an investigation into the United Conservative Party’s 2017 leadership race, prompting Premier Rachel Notley to question whether its leader, Jason Kenney, is fit to run the province.
On Friday, RCMP told Global News that Alberta’s election commissioner handed the investigation over to them this week, and that police are “looking into allegations based on information provided to us.”
Since the election commissioner has been looking into Jeff Callaway‘s UCP leadership campaign, it has levied three fines, while the party has removed a Calgary candidate. Callaway’s campaign is alleged to have been launched to derail candidate Brian Jean’s chances and secure Kenney’s win. Callaway dropped out of the race in October 2017 and threw his support behind Kenney.
Kenney said Friday neither he nor his party have been asked to speak to the RCMP, the election commissioner or any other law enforcement agency.
“Obviously we would comply fully if we were,” he said.
Kenney said the campaign he ran in 2017 was “in full compliance with all of the natural and legal requirements,” adding that he and his team “weren’t paying attention to how other people were funding their campaigns.”
Speaking Friday in Calgary, Notley called the development “very serious and troubling.”
“It begs the question, ‘What would Jason Kenney say if the shoe was on the other foot?’
“I suspect he would say the allegations are serious and somebody being investigated by the RCMP on serious and documented allegations of fraud should not be premier.
“And you know what? He would be right.”
WATCH: Alberta’s Election Commissioner has asked the RCMP to look into the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race. Tom Vernon explains
Notley went on to call on Kenney to “come clean to the people of Alberta about the issues he’s ducking.”
“What are the facts behind the alleged illegal effort to knock Brian Jean out of the UCP leadership race?” Notley asked.
“And what did Jason Kenney know and when did he know it?”
Kenney said he wasn’t aware of anyone else that either worked for or donated to the Callaway campaign who is still involved with the party in any way.
WATCH (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.
Notley also questioned Kenney’s motive behind calls for an early writ drop in this spring’s election.
“I think he was hoping that the election could be done and dusted before this stuff started to come out,” she said.
Notley said the spring election will be held in either April or May. By law, the election must be held by the end of May.
— With files from Phil Heidenreich