Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, the recipient of your blogger’s unsolicited advice (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley needs to ask the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to investigate concerns raised by Alberta Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson that someone is trying to interfere with his office’s inquiry into alleged irregularities in the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race.

Mr. Gibson expressed his alarm in a Jan. 24 letter to participants in the investigation into allegations “irregular financial contributions” were made to the campaign of UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway.

Opposition United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“It has come to the attention of my Office that an individual has been contacting, or attempting to contact, one or more persons who are subjects in this investigation in order to dissuade cooperation with investigators and hinder the proper discussion of matters in order to avoid these proceedings,” Mr. Gibson wrote in the letter, which was sent to several people.

Ms. Ganley needs to seek police assistance because intentionally impeding the investigation is a serious matter that interferes with the work of an institution set up to protect our democratic system, and which does not have the investigative resources of a police organization.

She needs to ask the RCMP to do it because they are a federal organization outside the jurisdiction of the provincial government, and, sad to say, someone is bound to falsely claim the work of an officer of the Legislature is tainted by partisanship.

Alleged “Kamikaze” UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway (Photo: Twitter).

And she needs to do it immediately because, if the government changes after the general election expected very soon, there can be no confidence a new government would not shut down the investigation for fear of what it might find. It must be noted here that the executive director of the UCP told Star Metro, which broke this story on Saturday, that “the party is not aware of anyone pressuring people not to participate in an Election Commissioner investigation.”

Janice Harrington also told Star Metro that the UCP “would encourage all Albertans, be they members or not, to abide by all laws,” and said that no one among Mr. Kenney, his leadership team, or the party has been approached by investigators from the Office of the Election Commissioner.

Alberta Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson (Photo: Office of the Election Commissioner).

Mr. Gibson’s office has hired two former police officers – specialists in fraud and white collar crime, one retired from the Calgary Police Service and the other from the Edmonton Police Service – to investigate the allegations Mr. Callaway’s campaign was illegally funded to carry out a “kamikaze” attack against former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean while his principal rival, Jason Kenney, took the high road.

Regardless of the merit of these allegations, which Mr. Callaway denies, Mr. Kenney, who became the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in March 2017, was elected as leader of the UCP at the end of October 2017. He became leader of the Opposition in the Legislature in January last year.

Mr. Gibson’s letter warned recipients that his office “takes allegations of obstruction very seriously,” and noted that “obstruction may also constitute a ‘corrupt practice’ and be subject to significant penalties.”

The Alberta Election Finances Disclosure and Contributions Act says no one may obstruct any person carrying out an inquiry, investigation or examination under the Act. Mr. Gibson noted that anyone who commits a corrupt practice as defined by the Act is subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 and imprisonment of up to two years, or both.

“If you have been contacted by any person who has, or has attempted to, influence your participation in this investigation it is very important that you bring this information to the attention of my Office immediately,” the letter continues.

“You will be asked whether you have been contacted by any person in order to dissuade your cooperation with investigators or hinder the proper disposition of matters in order to avoid the proceedings,” Mr. Gibson wrote. “You will be asked whether you have maintained a record of those conversations and communication.”

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  1. While all that OEC activity is going on surrounding the Kamikaze leadership kerfuffle, a UCP laptop was conveniently stolen from a staff member’s car. Oh my!

    This particular laptop contained the names of 40,000 alleged UCP donors/members. How ironic is it that an investigation by the OEC that may require validation of donor/member contacts goes missing in the night (and apparently no hard drive backup)? This whole nefarious “Back-to-the-Future” UCP sleight of hand does not meet the smell test. Let’s get after it Minister Ganley!!

  2. The Criminal Code also creates an offence of obstructing a “public officer”:

    129 Every one who

    (a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,

    is guilty of

    (d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

    (e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

  3. This matter was already serious enough before the issue of obstruction arose. Someone really does not amt the truth to come out and seems willing to go to great lengths to prevent it from happening.

    This is very serious and may go beyond the ability of the Alberta officials to handle it. I agree it is time to bring in the RCMP.

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