Alberta Politics
Calgary-Falconridge MLA Devinder Toor in 2019 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Elections Alberta slaps $33,500 fines on UCP MLA Devinder Toor, campaign finance manager and related company

Posted on July 28, 2021, 11:15 pm
5 mins

Albertans learned today that Elections Alberta has levied fines totalling $33,500 on Calgary-Falconridge United Conservative Party MLA Devinder Toor, his campaign finance manager, and a company run by his family for a string of violations when he was seeking the nomination in the northwest Calgary riding and during the 2019 general election.

The United Conservative Party Government seems to face corrosive new scandals with startling frequency – and this in the midst of the dog days of The Best Summer Ever™, a time of year when reporters and pundits traditionally expect to suffer a dearth of good stories to write about.

NDP Opposition Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

But according to Elections Alberta’s website, which merely presented two nearly identical lists of offences and fines without the traditional self-congratulatory news release, Mr. Toor’s violations included:

  • Exceeding expense limits
  • Filing a false financial statement with Elections Alberta
  • Improperly borrowing money for the campaign
  • Accepting a prohibited contribution for the campaign
  • Failing to deposit contributions into the account on record with the chief electoral officer

In Mr. Toor’s case, each one of those allegations goes double, once for the nomination campaign, the other for the general election. 

For the lot, fines of $15,000 were levied against the MLA personally. 

What’s more, Sahib Bhakri, Mr. Toor’s financial guy in both the nomination contest and the general election, was fined $14,000 for two identical lists of electoral misdeeds in the nomination and election campaigns, which Elections Alberta said included:

The former NDP candidate in Calgary-Falconridge, Parmeet Singh Boparai (Photo: Alberta NDP).

  • Failing to keep proper records
  • Failing to put contributions in the registered account
  • Failing to complete proper receipts
  • Failing to vouch for expenses over $25
  • Failing to advise the chief electoral officer of prohibited contributions
  • Exceeding expense limits
  • Filing a false campaign expense claim

Finally, a numbered company of which Mr. Toor was a director along with other family members was fined $4,500 for making improper donations to both campaigns.

Remember, Mr. Toor was elected in 2019 in a riding in which the NDP would certainly be in contention between the two parties’ likely candidates if a new vote were held today – even without these developments.

In the 2019 election, only 96 votes separated Mr. Toor and the NDP’s candidate, Parmeet Singh Boparai – 6,756 votes or 45.6 per cent of the vote for Mr. Toor and 6,660 or 44.9 per cent for Mr. Boparai. It was the tightest race in the province.

Former Progressive Conservative Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The fines were levied by the province’s mild-mannered elections agency after Jason Kenney shut down the more aggressive Office of the Election Commissioner and fired its NDP-appointed occupant, Lorne Gibson, back in November 2019.

NDP Opposition Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman today called on Mr. Toor to resign and demanded that Premier Jason Kenney “eject him immediately from the government caucus for this corrupt behaviour.” 

“This is not a simple mistake,” she said. “These are willful, deliberate breaches of election laws that call into question Mr. Toor’s integrity, and his ability to hold the public’s trust. Albertans should be outraged at this level of sleaziness and corruption in Jason Kenney’s UCP caucus.”

Needless to say, Mr. Kenney is unlikely to pay much attention to Ms. Hoffman’s demand. After all, his own campaigns for the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives and later the United Conservative Party were not without their own similar controversies. 

As former PC Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk observed in an acerbic tweet, “If cheating in an election was a criteria for removing a UCP MLA from @Alberta_UCP caucus, they would be missing a leader, several cabinet ministers and a bunch of backbenchers.”

Having exhausted provocative putdowns of poseurs in pickups and the punishing potential of pepper spray on provincial politics to redirect our attention from Alberta’s rapidly rising post-Stampede COVID-19 infection rate, it will be interesting to see what the UCP brain trust comes up with to distract us from the misdeeds of Mr. Toor’s campaigns.

4 Comments to: Elections Alberta slaps $33,500 fines on UCP MLA Devinder Toor, campaign finance manager and related company

  1. Anonymous

    July 29th, 2021

    The legitimacy of the UCP’s rise to power in Alberta, in 2019, has been in question, and this is another incident which would confirm that. Notice how Postmedia remains silent about this latest development. Postmedia clearly was involved with the UCP’s shady and controversial rise to power, in the last provincial election in Alberta. I wonder what fate awaits the head honcho of the UCP, and the R.C.M.P investigation into his leadership placing? I can see why he wants the R.C.M.P replaced with a provincial police force. Albertans were given ample warnings about how bad the UCP was going to be. It’s akin to people warning Albertans that Ralph Klein was no good. They failed to listen to these warnings, and the end results weren’t so good. These fines don’t seem to be that much. I think 2023, cannot come fast enough.

    Reply
    • TENET

      July 29th, 2021

      “UNANIMOUS” would be better. You have covered the bases. Like so many others, I want out because the of UCP and because of the prevailing mentality that supports them. Whenever I have lived elsewhere I have felt so much better. I could elaborate but kindred spirits will know, and UCP types will scowl. Enough said.

      Reply
  2. Dave

    July 29th, 2021

    This Elections Alberta news release could have been titled the corruption continues. Mr. Lucaszuk put this message across well. We have gone way beyond just a few incidents or allegations. It is clear the rot goes very deep .

    It is quite a feat for such a new party to accomplish this dubious state in so little time. It usually takes much longer for a new party in power to forget about voters and ethics.

    I suspect in this case the problem lies both with the highest leadership and the roots from which this party was founded. Didn’t one of its predecessor parties have a barrage of dubious electoral and other ethical issues before it became part of the UCP?

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    July 29th, 2021

    Actually, Postmedia did report on this, but there is hardly a word from people, in their comment sections. Not that surprising in the least.

    Reply

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