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Alberta Crown seeking special prosecutor to assist with UCP leadership race investigation

WATCH ABOVE: Alberta is seeking a special outside prosecutor to assist the RCMP as they look into whether fraud was committed in the UCP leadership race won by Jason Kenney.

The RCMP investigation into the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race will be getting some assistance from an outside prosecutor.

The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) announced Thursday it is seeking a prosecutor to help advise police as they look into the campaign which eventually saw Jason Kenney named UCP leader.

The leadership race and election have been plagued with allegations of voter fraud and mismanagement of money.

READ MORE: Alberta attorney general questioned by RCMP about 2017 UCP leadership race

“Based on recent information, the ACPS will seek an out-of-province prosecutor to provide advice to police on any matters arising during the investigation,” Sarah Langley, acting ACPS head, said in a statement.

“Going forward, an independent extra-provincial prosecutor will be responsible for providing advice to the police at their request. Prosecutors do not oversee investigations.”

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Langley noted the ACPS will not be directly involved in the investigation but has been closely monitoring it.

READ MORE: Cameron Davies fined again by Alberta Election Commissoner

Before Thursday’s question period, Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer reiterated the independent nature of the RCMP investigation.

“It is important to know that this decision was made independent of me or any other elected official. The process worked exactly as it was supposed to, free from any influence.”

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said Thursday’s ACPS announcement doesn’t fundamentally change the investigation.

“There’s been no significant change in the investigation from when we first called for [a special prosecutor] to now. It took them over a month for them to ultimately get to the right decision.”

“Going forward, we need to be even more vigilant that all other elements of this investigation are transparently and independently managed.”

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Notley suggested Schweitzer’s position as solicitor general could exert influence on or even end the investigation.

“We should not have been in a position where the attorney general was being interviewed as a witness while people who are subject to his direction are in charge of the investigation,” she said.

LISTEN: Political science professor Lori Williams joins Calgary Today to discuss the need for a prosecutor assisting the UCP leadership vote investigation

“That was a mess. This whole thing has been a mess. We pointed it out over four weeks ago. They have finally, reluctantly been dragged into doing the right thing.

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“That is why we need to continue to be vigilant.”

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