A Calgary judge is set to rule on an emergency injunction application that could halt the investigation into the financing of a former Alberta United Conservative Party leadership candidate’s so-called “kamikaze” campaign.
The investigation by the commissioner relates to the financing of Callaway’s UCP leadership campaign. It’s alleged Callaway ran for the purpose of targeting Kenney’s top rival, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, with a plan to step down before the vote in October 2017 and throw his support behind Kenney. Both Kenney and Callaway have denied that plot.
Callaway was named on the application along with four of his family members and Robyn Lore, a local businessman with ties to the campaign.
Court sat until nearly 8 p.m. Monday night as Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Kirker heard six hours of arguments from former UCP leadership candidate Jeff Callaway’s lawyer and counsel for the Office of the Elections Commissioner (OEC).
Lawyer Ivan Bernardo represents all six applicants and argued there is no urgency to the investigation and no need for it to continue while Alberta is in the middle of a provincial election.
Gibson has sent letters to several people who have been interviewed with his “findings of the investigation” and has handed out fines and letters of reprimand to several people connected to Callaway’s campaign.
Bernardo took issue with the commissioner making findings before all key witnesses have been interviewed.
But Corinne Petersen, the lawyer for the commissioner told the judge that Gibson is overseeing a series of investigations involving not just Callaway but those connected to his campaign.
Callaway’s wife and Robyn Lore were scheduled to meet with investigators Tuesday but Bernardo told the judge Monday that they would not be attending those interviews.
It’s alleged Callaway ran in 2017 for the purpose of targeting Jason Kenney’s top rival, former Wildrose leader Brian Jean, with a plan to step down before the vote and throw his support behind Kenney, who won the race.
Although Kenney and Callaway have denied that claim, CBC News 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.
Kenney’s deputy chief of staff, Matt Wolf, even emailed a resignation speech to Callaway the day he dropped out of the leadership race.
Bernardo argued the OEC is looking into an 18-month-old internal party contest and the commissioner should instead focus on the current election.
In her arguments against granting the injunction, Petersen said suspending the investigation because of a complaint from those who are being investigated would amount to “reasonable apprehension of bias in the other direction.”
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This story originally appeared on CBC