A prominent conservative organizer in Alberta politics says the RCMP have interviewed him for its investigation into allegations of identity fraud during the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race.
Alan Hallman told The Globe and Mail this week that the RCMP came to his Calgary home on Jan. 21 to speak about the leadership vote, which Jason Kenney won in October, 2017. Mounties are looking into allegations that fake e-mail addresses were used to cast leadership ballots for Mr. Kenney, who is now the Premier. The force has also been looking into allegations that leadership candidate Jeff Callaway ran a stalking-horse campaign to benefit Mr. Kenney.
The party has said all the allegations are untrue.
Mr. Hallman worked on Mr. Kenney’s campaign for leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, which later merged with the Wildrose Party and became the UCP. He ran Mr. Kenney’s campaign for a by-election in the riding of Calgary-Lougheed in December, 2017, and organized ridings for the party in the provincial election of April, 2019.
However, he said that, while he was a Kenney supporter and is close to the Premier, he didn’t have a formal role in the UCP leadership race.
Cabinet ministers and MLAs have already been interviewed for the investigation, which began almost a year ago.
Mr. Hallman, who denies any wrongdoing or knowing of any identity fraud, said the two RCMP members he spoke with told him he was not under investigation. An RCMP spokesman declined this week to comment, saying only that members are continuing the “investigation in relation to the 2017 UCP leadership campaign, specifically as it relates to identity fraud under Section 403 of the Criminal Code of Canada.”
The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service has announced a special prosecutor from Ontario was appointed in July.
On Thursday, UCP spokesman Evan Menzies said Mr. Hallman has no role with the party. “He is a private citizen and speaks only for himself.”
Mr. Menzies added that the UCP said last spring it has offered to provide the RCMP any assistance required.
Mr. Hallman said the RCMP’s investigation is based on spurious information, and politically motivated. He noted it has had little result.
“There’s nothing there. That’s why there have been no charges,” Mr. Hallman told The Globe and Mail. “I talked [with the RCMP] about the amount of time – the tens of thousands of hours the RCMP are putting into this rabbit hole – while there’s a rural crime epidemic.”
Mr. Hallman has worked for conservative candidates in municipal and provincial campaigns for 35 years. He runs a government relations firm from his base in Calgary, and is a registered lobbyist on behalf of companies and First Nations. He is well-known for his get-out-the-vote prowess and aggressive campaigning style.
Mr. Hallman noted that the RCMP members also raised the issue of Mr. Callaway’s campaign, which has been under scrutiny since 2018, when a recording surfaced in which UCP insiders appeared to discuss Mr. Callaway running a “kamikaze” campaign to attack rival Brian Jean on behalf of Mr. Kenney. Separately, the province’s election commissioner has fined Mr. Callaway $70,000 over allegations he used straw donors to finance his campaign.
“That’s a totally separate issue from what they’re investigating with the identity fraud," Mr. Hallman said.
Mr. Callaway and Mr. Kenney have denied working together, and Mr. Callaway is challenging the fines in court.
Mr. Kenney won the leadership race with more than 61 per cent of the vote compared with 31.5 per cent for Mr. Jean.
Last February, former UCP MLA Prab Gill wrote to the RCMP alleging irregularities. Mr. Gill quit the UCP caucus in 2017, after an internal party report in which he was accused of ballot-box stuffing. Mr. Kenney has dismissed Mr. Gill’s allegations as desperate “conspiracy theories” from someone who holds a grudge against the party.
Last April, RCMP raided UCP candidate Peter Singh’s auto-repair shop and confiscated a computer hard drive. Days later, Mr. Singh won the Calgary-East seat in the provincial election.