UCP Leader, Jason Kenney
Jason Kenney does not need any provocation to proclaim the success of his United Conservative Party. He even goes on to use allegations of dishonest behavior in a party-nomination bout.
Asked about these charges, rising from the Calgary-East nomination, Kenney suggested that it is the price of a major political success.
With many people rushing to many appointments and a breath of power in the air, you're bound to have a rotten apple or two, right?
Kenney could win the dreidel contest at a Hanukkah party. He is a great spinner.
But his argument is also true, in a general way. The average grifter is not drawn to the thought of four years in opposition.
Kenney said the party's executive director, Janice Harrington, is investigating allegations about the nomination for Calgary East. The party's legal counsel is also involved.
"A sanction is to remove the candidate," Kenney said.
Harrington is not talking, but we know the party has been aware of the charges for some time and hopes that they can be resolved without all this confusing publicity.
But the allegations leaked to Postmedia on Thursday. They came with two sworn statements from people who say they were approached by supporters of possible winner Peter Singh, and offered incentives to vote for him at the nomination meeting.
The NDP was quick to attack. Deputy PM Sarah Hoffman said police should investigate a woman's charge that her credit card was used to buy a party membership without her knowledge. Hoffman called this potential fraud.
In their testimony, Roy Thomson and Scott Burrell say they were offered a 20% discount for work done at Singh's auto shop or $ 75 cash if they voted for him.
Both men said they refused. Thomson added that as he approached the hall the night of the appointment, the same man showed a $ 100 bill and said that this was his final offer.
It is important to note that these charges are not substantiated. In addition, in both cases, Singh himself did not make the offers alleged, but it is believed that people are his advocates.
Singh denies that his campaign has done anything wrong. He says they are typical sour grapes of naming losers. The party would not be surprised if all this ended up in court.
From the party point of view, these grapes are not just sour – they are rancid. And they are appearing right at the beginning of the real political season.
The legislature suspended Thursday, paving the way for full-time political warfare until the spring election.
Near the final moment, Calgary MLA Prab Gill, who left the UCP bench after a report discovered that he had unduly removed the ballots in one appointment, pitched another shot at his old party.
He said that Kenney used $ 40,000 in dodgy PAC money to attack Brian Jean in the UCP leadership contest.
Gill also claimed that, unlike the report of retired judge Ted Carruthers, he was not to blame for the allegations of tampering with votes.
These people are beginning to remind me of the end-of-life PCs that have spent the last six months of government facing each other until the disastrous night of the 2015 election.
In the case of Calgary-East, four of the five losing candidates signed a letter alleging that the violations committed by Singh's campaign "include fraud, forgery, improper inducement and bribery."
The signatories included Jamie Lall, who was part of the late-game bustle of the PC, and Andre Chabot, a former Ward 10 councilor and mayoral candidate.
They also provided the group with names, addresses and telephone numbers of about 150 people who, according to them, received gifts and other inductions.
The four who signed up profess to be concerned about bad publicity for the party and for themselves.
"With this situation on the verge of becoming public knowledge, we do not want to be seen as accomplices in this matter."
They ask that Singh be removed as a candidate for Calgary-East.
A few days later, all the information became public.
Just like old times.
Don Braid's column appears regularly in the Herald
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