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Former UCP member claims he spent $26K on party, UCP denies allegations
Diego Romero, CTV Edmonton
Published Monday, December 24, 2018 5:39PM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 24, 2018 6:17PM MST
A former UCP member claims Jason Kenney and his party cost him more than $25,000.
In an affidavit, Tariq Chaudhry claims he met Kenney at the Hyatt hotel in downtown Edmonton in 2017, where Kenney encouraged him to run in the Edmonton-Mill Woods riding.
Chaudhry says Kenney asked him to sign up and pay for the $10-membership fee for $1,200 new members.
“I was not happy to hear this,” Chaudhry said in the affidavit, “but on reflection concluded it was a small price to pay for the support and endorsement of the leader of the party I wanted to run for.”
He spent $6,000 on memberships, and an envelope full of cash was picked up by a UCP member at his home.
Chaudhry also claimed the Kenney campaign asked him to organize Eid Mubarak events in 2017 and 2018 “so Mr. Kenney could be seen speaking to the Edmonton Muslim Community,” the affidavit read.
He said the two events cost around $20,000 in total, but the UCP never attempted to pay for either.
Chaudhry, who wants to know if he will be reimbursed or what happened with the nomination promise, says Kenney has not returned his calls or emails since August 2018.
“It wasn’t ethically right what Mr. Kenney asked me to do,” Chaudhry told CTV News.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, called it “manipulation at the highest level,” but not necessarily illegal.
“Party nominations are the dirtiest politics because the rules are largely determined by the party themselves,” he added.
UCP Party Executive Director Janice Harrington denied Chaudhry’s allegations in a statement. Harrington said Kenney did not promise Chaudhry a nomination, that Kenney made it clear the party would not pay for memberships, and that the UCP leader attends many cultural events hosted by community groups, but that there is no record of the second event Chaudhry mentioned.
Harrington also said Chaudhry was informed he would “almost certainly” be disqualified from the nomination process after the UCP was made aware of a legal issue filed against him—a 2014 lawsuit that alleges abusive labour practices.
Chaudhry said he submitted his affidavit to the elections commissioner to review.