Alberta’s minister of infrastructure was interviewed by the RCMP on June 23 as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of voter fraud in the 2017 United Conservative Party leadership race.
Prasad Panda’s chief of staff confirmed the meeting took place, saying police questioned the minister “about the matter,” but said the minister is not under investigation.
When pushed to clarify whether “the matter” was in relation to allegations of voter fraud in the leadership race, David Jackson said “that is my understanding.”
Jackson would not say whether the RCMP could have more questions for Panda, who is the MLA for Calgary-Edgemont.
“That’s a matter that I cannot answer. It would be inappropriate to comment any further,” he said.
Justice minister questioned
Panda is not the first cabinet minister to be questioned by the RCMP in the course of their ongoing investigation into the allegations that voter fraud took place in the vote that elected Jason Kenney as UCP leader.
Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer, who also vied for leadership of the party, was interviewed by the Mounties in May.
It’s alleged there were inconsistencies in the leadership vote, despite the UCP insisting the audited process was clean.
CBC News has confirmed that fraudulent emails were used to cast some votes.
The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service recently said it was appointing an out-of-province prosecutor to oversee the investigation into the voter fraud allegations.
In addition to the allegations of voter fraud, Alberta’s election commissioner has been busy issuing fines against those who contributed money to the campaign of leadership candidate Jeff Callaway.
Callaway ran a “kamikaze” campaign in 2017 on behalf of Jason Kenney, now premier. Kenney won the UCP leadership on Oct. 28, 2017, after the Alberta Progressive Conservative and Wildrose parties merged.
Callaway ran for the sole purpose of targeting Kenney’s chief rival, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, and then dropping out of the race to support Kenney.
Both men deny the allegations, but CBC News has obtained emails showing higher-ups in Kenney’s campaign circle providing resources — strategic political direction, media and debate talking points, speeches, videos and attack advertisements — to the Callaway campaign.
There was a timeline for when Callaway would drop out of the campaign and throw his support behind Kenney.
Kenney’s deputy chief of staff, Matt Wolf, even emailed a resignation speech to Callaway the day he dropped out of the leadership race.