Outgoing Calgary MP ‘shocked, disappointed’ over stolen pamphlet video

Calgary-Skyview Liberal Candidate George Chahal was caught on surveillance video taking a Conservative party flyer Sunday evening

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Shocked, and disappointed.

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That’s how outgoing Calgary-Skyview MP Jag Sahota reacted to video of opponent George Chahal apparently removing one of her campaign flyers from the front door of a home and replacing it with one of his.

“I ran a very clean campaign, and I expected the same from the candidates from the other parties,” the Conservative candidate told the Toronto Sun from Calgary on Wednesday.

“But this video shows the Liberal party candidate didn’t comply with that.”

As first reported Tuesday by the Toronto Sun, doorbell video from Sunday night appears to show Chahal removing and then walking away with a flyer left by Sahota’s campaign, who ended up losing her seat to Chahal on Monday night.

Sahota said both volunteers and residents reported instances where flyers had gone missing, with some even finding Chahal’s ads affixed to doors by the same distinctive painter’s tape typically used by her canvassers.

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Requests for comment to the Liberal party went unacknowledged, but on Tuesday, Chahal’s campaign manager Randall Zalazar admitted Chahal took a flyer, explaining he only took the campaign literature because it contained “incorrect polling location” information.

When asked whose campaign literature Chahal removed, Zalazar declined to answer and directed the Sun to contact the returning officer.

“If you watch the video, he made no attempt to look at the pamphlet,” Sahota countered, insisting it was actually Chahal’s literature that contained wrong polling information.

That was the same claim made Tuesday by homeowner Glenn Pennett, whose doorbell camera recorded Chahal.

He said Chahal’s flyer directed him to vote in the northeast Calgary neighbourhood of Coventry Hills — nearly 15 kilometres away from his home in Temple.

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Inquires to Elections Canada were referred to the Commissioner of Canada Elections (CCE), which is responsible for enforcing the Canada Elections Act.

A CCE spokesperson refused to speculate on Chahal’s actions on the video, adding the agency does not confirm the receipt or disposition of complaints.

That said, they did confirm removing another candidate’s literature is considered “impairing or preventing the transmission of election advertising” and is prohibited under the act, and is among the most common complaint the office receives.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Of the 1,599 investigations carried out after the 2019 federal election, 97 involved preventing or tampering with election advertising. That offence amounted to 129 of the 454 complaints filed during the 2015 ballot.

— Files from Stephanie Eabych

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

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