Alberta Politics
Stephen Colbert: He’s not looking at you, Alberta … but he could be! (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

RCMP investigation of ‘Kamikaze Campaign’ moves into new phase; what it means remains to be seen

Posted on January 23, 2020, 1:38 am
7 mins

“Soon, we will find out if breaking the law is illegal.”

The line is Stephen Colbert’s and, no, he wasn’t talking about Alberta.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The well-known American comedian and TV personality, of course, was referring to U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, in which oral arguments began yesterday.

Still, this observation could almost as easily be made about Alberta as America, especially now that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into the campaign shenanigans that ultimately led to the election of Jason Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party seems to have moved into a new phase.

According to a report yesterday by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., at any rate, the Mounties’ investigation into the so-called Kamikaze Campaign of candidate Jeff Callaway during the 2017 leadership race has now expanded into the area of financial fraud, specifically, whether donors to the campaign were led to believe it was actually legitimate.

Former Alberta Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson (Photo: Legislative Assembly of Alberta).

The CBC reported several donors to Mr. Callaway’s campaign have been visited by RCMP investigators who asked about their contributions, requested copies of receipts, and queried them as to whether they thought the campaign was the real McCoy.

As the CBC report scrupulously noted, both Mr. Callaway and Mr. Kenney deny their campaigns were in cahoots, working together to sink Mr. Kenney’s chief competitor, former Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, without the eventual winner having to get his paws dirty delivering the smear.

But CBC News has obtained emails and documents that outline the collaboration, including a resignation speech emailed to Callaway’s team from Kenney’s then-deputy chief of staff and current director of issues management, Matt Wolf,” wrote CBC Calgary reporter Drew Anderson, pretty definitively.

The allegations against the campaign appear to fit the definition of fraud,” the CBC report also noted, quoting a law professor.

Whatever the Mounties conclude, of course, it remains to be seen whether Crown prosecutors led by that special prosecutor from Ontario decide whether anyone can be convicted.

Alberta Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler (Photo: Elections Alberta).

And even if charges are laid, it seems unlikely they will come anywhere close to the folks who called the shots, whomever they may be, in the reputed scheme.

If anyone ends up in legal hot water, it’s said here it’s most likely to turn out to be some small fry, like the hapless Michael Sona, the low-level Conservative Party of Canada campaigner who was sentenced to jail in 2014 for his role in the Robocall Scandal in which voters identified as Liberal supporters were directed by unknown callers to non-existent polling stations during the 2011 federal election.

That election was won by the federal Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper, whom Mr. Kenney served as a senior cabinet minister. Mr. Sona, a minor figure in the Conservative campaign in Guleph, Ont., was said by the judge who convicted him of offences under the Canada Elections Act to have been unlikely to have acted alone.

Low-level federal Conservative campaigner Michael Sona, the only person ever convicted in the 2011 Robocall Scandal (Photo: Twitter).

Nevertheless, he was the only person ever convicted in the Robocall affair.

More recently, the Kamikaze Campaign was also being investigated by Alberta Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson for various violations of provincial electoral financing laws.

After Mr. Gibson’s staff had levied fines of more than $176,000 against 11 people and two corporations, the Office of the Election Commissioner was closed down by the Kenney Government last November.

Mr. Kenney’s “Fair Deal Panel,” by the way, may also soon recommend the replacement of the RCMP by a provincial police force.

Meanwhile, though, Elections Alberta says it’s still looking into the matter. As the CBC pointed out yesterday, Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler, who is now in charge of that investigation, will have his employment reviewed by the Kenney Government next spring.

So, soon perhaps, like our American Cousins we will also find out if breaking the law is illegal in Alberta.

Stephen Harper to address crowd in Edmonton; media can get lost

Former prime minister Stephen Harper … with a coincidental Mountie (Photo: Kashmera, Creative Commons).

Speaking of Stephen Harper, as we just were, readers will be interested to learn that the former Conservative prime minister will be holding forth for an hour in Edmonton a week from today at the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association’s annual stakeholder event.

Do not, however, expect to learn very much about what Mr. Harper has to say on Jan. 30, unless one of the 1,100 expected delegates manages to discreetly turn on the digital recorder in his or her smartphone during the ex-PM’s bloviations.

Media have been warmly invited to the shindig, but not, alas, to the remarks of the man the AIHA still refers to as “Prime Minister Harper.”

The invite to some of the usual suspects in mainstream media — although not, it would appear from the copy forwarded to me, anyone from the CBC — had this to say in red, underlined, all-caps:

IMPORTANT – MEDIA IS NOT PERMITTED IN THE ROOM DURING PRIME MINISTER HARPER’S PRESENTATION. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO LEAVE THE BALLROOM FROM 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM. NO EXCEPTIONS.”

12 Comments to: RCMP investigation of ‘Kamikaze Campaign’ moves into new phase; what it means remains to be seen

  1. Dave

    January 23rd, 2020

    Mr. Kenney might want that Fair Deal panel to move a bit quicker as in “quick call for a provincial police force, so I can get those pesky RCMPs off my tail” or something like that.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Kenney, he does not have 51 compliant, or is that complicit?, Senators to help get him out of a sticky situation here. This scandal refuses to die so far and Mr. Kenney now has no way to kill it off. Yes, he already so indelicately got rid of the Election Commissioner at the cost of some political capital, but apparently not just cats have more than one life. It remains to be seen how much damage the ongoing relentless march to the truth could do to Mr. Kenney personally and politically, but whatever the result is, he may be unable to stop it.

    Interesting that our former PM seems to be really avoiding the press now. Perhaps there are some questions about how he feels about some possible leadership candidates for his party and what was really going on with his stepping down from their fundraising board he really does not want asked. You think he would just stonewall them like usual. It must be fairly bad for him to try to avoid the press like this.

    Reply
  2. Bill Malcolm

    January 23rd, 2020

    Do other political parties besides various federal and provincial Con droid organizations actually get up to these really nefarious and likely criminal schemes these days? Robocalls from say Liberals, or Greens stuffing ballot boxes, or the NDP setting up Trojan Horse leadership candidates? We all know the universal scam of signing up new party members to load a party leadership convention, however. Now there’s a scheme that should be legislated out of existence.

    The venal desperation of both harper and kenney to be in power in one way or another can almost be tasted. The latter’s likely deniable shoving of Brian Jean out of the way in the contested UCP leadership bozo parade of yore shows me that it’s not so much ideology as a personal drive for power that drives the nonsense. And harper’s apparent behind the scenes screwing around with the availability of candidates for what is now the federal CPC leadership farce, also shows the ruthlessness of that particular person. Imagine running a consultancy to advise right-wingers worldwide how to win elections! What a noble occupation. I have zero respect for that individual, as in NONE. But I imagine that if you are advising, on consideration of a fee, what I consider riff-raff worldwide on how to get and maintain power, then you’d better show them you can influence the running of the CPC at home in Canada. No wonder he’s surfaced recently and running around like a proverbial chicken with its head cut off in moves of desperation not unlike the last week of his election campaign in 2015 where he was promising anything to remain PM. Of course, seeing that his current moves are all in private, we don’t get to see his panic for his “reputation” and so he can assume a, ha-ha, “dignified” air in public. No press/media for harper’s address to the stunned Cons, no sirree, no exceptions. We shall see if Rebel Media in cornpone unlettered baseball caps, spotted asking Trudeau leading questions at press conferences, are somehow exempted from the ban, and if The Brain Hamish Marshall of nefarious notoriety is spotted wandering around the area looking for a gig.

    Unluckily for harper, people not so ideologically hidebound or driven to win as he, have seen the light that harper intends to run the CPC from behind the scenes from now on. And cannot be bothered to submit to his whims. What other reason can there be for Charest and Ambrose to decline running for the CPC leadership contest? As persons with their own independent thoughts, the idea that some “boss” in the background would dictate their moves is not acceptable to them. Peter MacKay on the other hand is easily malleable as he showed in the past and hasn’t ever really denied the charge from the time when he dumped the federal PCs into the mire of Reform/Alliance bone-headed right wing ideology. I am not in agreement with Ambrose’s aristocratic upper class haughtiness reminiscent of some UK Tories, but on women’s issues and ability to genuinely show compassion while she was interim Opposition leader, one could see that she was quite a different proposition to harper and could express herself beyond surly grunts or taunts. Not that being human prevented some of the gutter Liberal commentators from implying very directly she wasn’t womanly, which was and is a stretch of the imagination as wide as the Pacific Ocean. In any case, she declined to run for the CPC brass ring, which no doubt elicited huge sighs of relief at the PMO yesterday. The Trost cabal is likely going to push some social dumbo candidate for the win; if it’s already Poilievre, please excuse my ignorance – I don’t closely follow the machinations of niche-appeal sloganeering no-hopers.

    If harper had any sense, he’d acknowledge that he’s not at the level of the professional schemer kenney at getting his way. But one does have to be mindful of one’s “legacy” and can’t be seen to be allowing number two to run the show. Meanwhile, one very much doubts that Doug Ford has the slightest interest in any of it. He’s busy running a one-man wrecking ball revenge show on Ontario to cackles of glee, undermining much hope that the CPC will regain much traction nationally for some time to come.

    The

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    January 23rd, 2020

    Wouldn’t it be something if the UCP disintegrated from this, and Jason Kenney was also punished for his role in this, and was jailed? I would not hold my breath on that, because it seems the UCP are good at manipulating the legal system, or dancing around it.

    Reply
  4. Murphy

    January 23rd, 2020

    The Great Calgarians are above the law. There really is no question about it, and they do not like the CBC pointing this out.

    “Former resident, Rachel O’Neill, wants someone to know that for all of AARC’s promises of success, bad things do happen there and attention, she believes, must be paid. ‘If somebody commits a crime they can go to jail for it but you can’t randomly incarcerate teenagers just because you want to and it offends my sense of justice and my sense of what it is to be Canadian that AARC is still doing what they do.'”
    https://web.archive.org/web/20090330174704/http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2008-2009/powerless

    “Mr. Chase: Thank you. Rather than a passive approach of “call
    me,” how about you calling them?
    Has either minister begun an investigation into the allegations of
    abuse raised by the CBC’s The Fifth Estate or their accountability to
    taxpayers for the annual grants of $300,000 to this facility?

    Mr. Liepert: This is the second day in a row that this particular
    member has raised unfounded allegations. If there is a specific
    allegation, he owes it to call the police. Report it to the police.
    That’s their job. If he doesn’t have it, I would suggest that he quit
    raising it and quit smearing the reputation of an organization in
    Calgary that is doing outstanding volunteer work.

    The Speaker: The hon. member. Mr. Chase: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the
    ministers, will the
    Premier remove the cloud of doubt hanging over this facility, over
    their government’s duty to protect the physical and mental wellbeing
    of children, and over their fiscal responsibility to Albertans by
    conducting a public inquiry?

    Mr. Liepert: Mr. Speaker, the only cloud is raised by this member,
    and it’s got a hole in it bigger than the hole in the ozone layer. He
    continues to raise allegations, has no facts to back it up. All he has
    is some trash journalism by the CBC out of Toronto.”
    Alberta Hansard February 18, 2009
    104

    “Mr. Liepert: Mr. Speaker, I’ll answer that question. The Department
    of Health and Wellness through the former AADAC agency
    does provide funding to AARC. It receives about $300,000
    annually. The service is accredited by the Canadian Accreditation
    Council of Human Services.
    I didn’t have the opportunity to see the particular production, but
    I can tell you that you can talk to many people who have gone
    through the program in Calgary, and I’m not so sure that they would
    necessarily agree with this Mother Corp program out of Toronto.”

    “Mr. Liepert: Mr. Speaker, I think what is important here is that the
    member, who happens to be from Calgary, jumps on every opportunity
    he can to criticize that city and the volunteers who do outstanding
    work in that city. I will leave it up to him to not stand in this
    House and make these comments. Go back to Calgary, go to the
    AARC facility and make those comments in the AARC facility.
    He’s pretty brave when he stands here, Mr. Speaker. I challenge him
    to go right to Calgary, to the AARC facility, and make those
    comments.”
    Alberta Hansard February 17, 2009
    70

    “Dr. Vause met with detectives with the Calgary Police Service before and after the airing of “Powerless”.
    AARC & Dr. Vause’s home is monitored by the police. The police recommend to not lay criminal
    charges at this time but suggested AARC may have
    grounds for a civil action.
    Dr. Vause has been in contact with Detective Dave
    Rock of the sex crimes unit and an investigation is
    proceeding – Detective Rock appears to be closing
    Rachael’s file”
    “We continue to work individually to inform & update donors ie. Allan Markin, Tom Buchanan, Brett Wilson, Dr. David Elton, Kevin Jabusch, Nexen, Hazel Gillespie, Tesco, Hrudey, Donandeo(Vermilion). They are all supportive”
    “Jonathan Denis – AARC’s area MLA is updated weekly Jonathan has been informed and Dr. Vause is in the process of providing a detailed package to him – Dr. Vause has had telephone communication with Jonathan March 2 &3 – Jonathan Denis has been updated as of March 18, 2009 Dr. Vause updated Jonathan again on March 23rd and will forward him the latest update from Detective Rock.”

    No investigation ever took place, and the lawsuits against CBC and sources are in their eleventh year.
    “ROCK , David William It is with infinite sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our David William Rock on July 2, 2009 at the age of 46 years”

    Reply
  5. pogo

    January 23rd, 2020

    I have got to tell you DC, ever since you convinced me to stop swearing? My life has been at least 1% better! Now if you could only convince me that I shouldn’t kick the ever loving shyte out of every nassi’s at every opportunity? Why I might even qualify for a mortgage!

    Reply
  6. Scotty on Denman

    January 23rd, 2020

    It has indeed been such a tangled web that sometimes it’s hard for people to remember exactly what started spinning it; but the dodging and weaving since a certain pair of cousins first started to deceive has woven a much more substantial contextility upon which memory may stand more confirmatively. Yet, if we follow the warped threads of either back to the sparked pan of spinneret goo, we should recall both orbs began with simple, basic, banal cheating, no matter how many deceptive embellishments—“collusion,” “kamikaze,” “fraud,” or “high crimes and misdemeanours”—decorate the sagging, weather soaked gossamer since. And for both, being called upon the carpet is a looming, even if one before the other.

    The thing about cousins is, they’re close enough to understand each other, but just far enough to observe more objectively than immediate blood: not too akin, but still clan, so distinctions—all other things being nearly equal— resolve crisply in comparison. Thus, even when the sanguinity of cons is easily married between cousins, the country one is, for example, usually much less bloodied than the city one (there are no convertible brickyards on the Plains and no amber waves of grain in the projects); but, by equalization of scale, they are almost identical twins.

    Take the Fud-like Count of Barons and Knave of Queens: the former wants to weave the west of Canada with a firewall, the latter waves that waves of wefugees be awwested at the Wio Gwand by building a wall (“ wall of fire? That’s pwetty good—wish I’d thought of that myself; in fact, I’m not sure—we’ll have to wait and see—but I’m pwetty sure I was the first one to think of it: a wall of fire! Hmm, got a nice wing to it”). The scales are much different, of course, but the basic ideas are the same. Same with so many other features like immigration, socialism, and cheating, these two Elmers are verwy, verwy, awike: they woathe the weft and wove the white.

    A few differences are apparent, perhaps more so because they are cousins: the urban one woves Saudi Awabia, whewreas the wruwral one cwaims ethical supewiowrity over them. One pways to pwetend, the other pwetends to pway. But, for all that, they’ve both bwoken the wules of faiwr and democwatic ewections. It’s weawwy that simple. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!

    Have we ever had as many Elmers officially investigated for cwimes, wow or high, and demeanouwrs missed in Canada? Let’s see… The Zalm of the BC Socweds, Gwant Devine of the Saskatchewan Pwogwessive Consewrvatives (speaking of which, didn’t Bwian Mulwoney get upbwaided for a cash-filled envewope?) and even our Fatherw of Confedewation (in that wail-way cowwuption scandal)…still, small Canuck potatoes beside thwee impeachment’s of US pwesidents.

    Yet these were all the end products of mackinawed, political career perfidy, after smoke and flame of the blunderbuss breach-blast clears to reveal Elmers in embarrassing blackface, hat-peaks turned backwards, ear-flaps smouldering in acrid befuddlement. In contrast, our two cousins committed their perfidies just to acquire their disrespected high offices: they simply cheated. Twump, for example, has dedicated his entire term of office to covering up his own attempts to covering it up. The Count looks like he’ll also be spending quite a bit of his own time in office shredding accomplices, hounding invigilators, starving watchdogs, blowing dog-whistles, herding whistle-blowers, and dogging journalists—all in good time.

    The difference, aside from the scales of scallywagdom, is merely chronological: Twump cheated to win the pwesiduncy in 2016, but Jason KeKangawoo Kenney only cheated to win the pwemiership in 2019, delaying but, surely, not absolving his ‘what’s-up-doc?’ moment. Perhaps The Owange One will weave the magic top hat for our Pwairie SoCon to pull his ass out of when he’s done with it.

    Pesky wabbits!

    Reply
    • CovKid

      January 25th, 2020

      “The Count looks like he’ll also be spending quite a bit of his own time in office shredding accomplices, hounding invigilators, starving watchdogs, blowing dog-whistles, herding whistle-blowers, and dogging journalists—all in good time.”

      “Dogging” also has a different meaning these days, but that may have been what you intended anyway … ?!!

      Reply
  7. Jim

    January 23rd, 2020

    Breaking the law is still illegal for us common people politicians not so much it seems. Until someone at or close to the top actually does jail time I will remain cynical. On the bright side Kenney likely will only ruin our province not entire countries like Clinton, Bush, Obama and their various hangers on including our past and current Prime Minister.
    Somewhere a low level UCP worker is getting that oh crap feeling realizing they are the fall guy or gal. Won’t be holding my breath for a by election in Millwoods any time soon.

    Reply
  8. Just Me

    January 23rd, 2020

    Regarding VERY, LONG GONE, AND TOTALLY FORMER PRIME MINISTER Harper’s up-coming appearance in Edmonton, I have no doubt that the media has been excluded from being present during Harper’s remarks leads me to some conclusions …

    1) Harper will announce the beginnings of an exploratory committee that will examine the feasibility of Jason Kenney’s return to federal politics and challenge for the CPC leadership. This will provide all the appearances that this is the foundation of a Draft Kenney movement, which will surely encourage the great man to step back into federal politics for the good of Canada and the world. Since it will be Harper as the great man who initiates this call to Kenney to selflessly give himself to the greater cause, no one will Kenney was running from a crime scene.

    2) Not entirely out of the realm of possibility, it was be Harper himself who announces his own return to federal politics and his mission to reclaim the CPC’s Iron Throne from the Red Tory (the Walkers) horde. Declaring that the nation is on the verge of bloody civil war, thanks to gender pronouns and Greta Thunberg, Harper will present himself as the Man for all Seasons in “this winter of our discontent”.

    Better breakout all the Richard III, Game of Thrones, and House of Cards references, Canada’s political drama is trying into a sad drinking game.

    Reply
  9. Just Me

    January 23rd, 2020

    With Skippy now officially out of the running for the CPC Iron Throne, that leaves …

    Jason Kenney or Stephen Harper.

    There. I said it.

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      January 24th, 2020

      Yeah, I have been wondering the same thing. They will leave a couple of die-hard social conservatives in the race just so there is a race, and to make either of the above appear moderate.

      Reply
  10. jerrymacgp

    January 26th, 2020

    The only real question remaining in this whole sordid saga is, will Mr Kenney himself be caught up in any potential future prosecutions under either the Election Financing & Disclosure Act or the Criminal Code? My take on this is not dissimilar to what I said a few days ago about former Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest: if he knew about all of this, and did nothing to stop it, he is corrupt. If he didn’t, he bloody well should have, so he’s incompetent. Of course, only one of those scenarios is actually illegal …

    Reply

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