Kenney confirms UCP lawyer is speaking to RCMP about 2017 leadership race, says he’s certain no rules were broken
A lawyer for the United Conservative Party has reached out to the RCMP after concerns about how a 2017 leadership race was run were brought forward to the police, leader Jason Kenney confirmed to reporters on Thursday.
“I directed our party legal representative to reach out when we heard about a complaint to the RCMP and he offered on behalf of the party any assistance or co-operation,” Kenney told reporters at a media event in Calgary. “I understand they’ve had some discussion and the party will always be there to provide any information that’s requested of it but I’m not going to try and imagine what questions they’re asking… I don’t know.”
Kenney’s comments came one day after Alberta’s election commissioner issued new fines in connection with Jeff Callaway’s 2017 UCP leadership bid.
Watch below: (From March 27, 2019) Hardyal ‘Happy’ Mann was issued three fines from the Alberta election commissioner in relation to Jeff Callaway’s UCP leadership campaign. Adam MacVicar reports.
Callaway eventually dropped out of the race and endorsed Kenney, who ended up winning. Emails obtained by Global News show Kenney’s team communicated closely with Callaway’s team on various aspects of the campaign.
The emails support a theory some have alleged that Callaway entered the race to attack Kenney’s main rival, Brian Jean, before dropping out and supporting the eventual leader.
On Wednesday, Hardyal (Happy) Mann, a former United Conservative Party nomination candidate, was handed three fines totalling $9,000 for irregular political contributions to the Callaway campaign.
Mann told Global News he did not dispute the election commissioner’s findings. Kenney has vehemently denied that he helped to finance Callaway’s campaign in any way.
In an interview, Mann also accused the UCP of using fake email addresses attached to memberships in the October 2017 leadership vote.
He said he noticed a few people on the list didn’t have email addresses on their memberships, but they were later filled in. He said he believes the UCP used fake emails.
“I assume that the emails that have been registered, obviously the pins would go to emails,” Mann said. “So whoever has access to them must have exercised or used or not used.
“It’s not my expertise, this is something the RCMP is looking into.”
Former UCP MLA Prab Gill has also sent a letter to the RCMP alleging the UCP used fake emails to give Kenney more votes.
None of the voter fraud allegations have been proven and Kenney has denied any involvement in any logistics like voting structure in the UCP leadership race.
“This is all based on unfounded allegations by a couple of guys motivated by sour grapes, one of whom we threw out of the party — the caucus barred from running — because he had been found by a former judge to have engaged in… ballot stuffing — Mr. Gill,” Kenney said. “And by another fellow who we barred from running.
“And the same individual, Mr. Mann, has now apparently admitted to violating the Election Finance Contribution Disclosure Act. So these are the sources you have, that people are drawing on. I, for one, don’t take them seriously.”
Kenney told reporters he is not worried that questions about the leadership race will follow him for the rest of the election campaign. Albertans head to the polls on April 16.
“Albertans are focused on jobs, the economy, pipelines and standing up for this province,” he said.
“I am absolutely certain, more certain now than I’ve ever been after having spoken to the senior leadership of my leadership campaign, that our leadership campaign complied rigorously with all of the rules, as was confirmed by the UCP’s leadership election committee and the chief returning officer and the independent auditors from a firm of professional chartered accountants and the independent third-party vendor who administered the electronic voting.
“I have no concerns.”
Global News has reached out to the UCP for comment on its dealings with the RCMP and what is being discussed.
–With files from Global News’ Adam MacVicar
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