Newly-elected United Conservative Party MLA Peter Singh and other new members go through an orientation at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Wednesday April 24, 2019.
JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS
United Conservative MLA Peter Singh says he’s innocent in an investigation for distributing gifts and inducements to voters during his nomination race.The Elections Commissioner investigation stems from a complaint to the UCP penned by four candidates who ran against Singh for the Calgary-East nomination — Andre Chabot, Jamie Lall, Issa Moussa and Matthew Dirk.They wrote a letter to the party in December, asking UCP brass to investigate what they labelled a deeply fraudulent nomination.The 11-page letter accused Singh’s campaign of using a customer list from the auto repair shop he owns to sign up people for party memberships without their consent, forging identities and offering money and gifts.Singh denied the allegations, calling them the result of sore losers in the contest, and an internal investigation by the UCP cleared him of any wrongdoing.Days before the election, the RCMP raided a business owned by the Calgary-East candidate, seizing a computer and other electronics in relation to an investigation into the UCP leadership race. Singh’s lawyer said his client was adamant he had done nothing wrong.‘I am innocent’On Monday, investigator Dave Jennings with the Election Commissioner’s office sent an email to one of the complainants, saying he was looking into allegations Singh “potentially gave out gifts and inducements to voters (and possibly didn’t claim these expenses).”That email was first reported by the Star Thursday afternoon. Postmedia obtained a copy Thursday evening.Postmedia put a series of questions to Singh at the legislature building Thursday afternoon after the Star report surfaced, but the MLA remained tight-lipped.He wouldn’t answer whether he was being investigated for bribery and offered no explanation to his constituents.Later he told Postmedia, “I am innocent and I will co-operate with all investigations.”Singh said he hasn’t been contacted by the Elections Commissioner over the apparent investigation. Nor, he said, has the RCMP contacted him about any changes.The elections commissioner’s office did not return Postmedia’s request for comment Thursday afternoon.Deputy NDP leader Sarah Hoffman said she was “deeply concerned” by the report.“It’s important Mr. Kenney show some leadership as the premier and remove this member from caucus while this investigation is ongoing,” she said.Andre Chabot, who helped pen the original complaint to the UCP, said Thursday afternoon he encountered “a number of irregularities” in the nomination contest.As a result, he said, he has become “a little disillusioned with party politics.”“This is not just something that happened in this particular nomination. It’s been an ongoing, systemic issue in the northeast here for decades and it’s not exclusive to just one party,” he told Postmedia.— With files from Yolande Coleegraney@postmedia.comtwitter.com/EmmaLGraney