It was early December when I first got the call from someone with a good knowledge of the situation facing Edmonton’s Ward 12 by-election. I was told that the NDP Premier’s office had used provincial resources and selected a candidate that they were planning to promote in the by-election. They wanted to place this candidate into Edmonton city council to exert some provincial influence over the municipal government in Alberta’s capital city. I was told that this candidate’s name was Nav Kaur. While this caller wasn’t able to provide me with solid evidence of what I was told at the time, the following events certainly provided enough evidence for me to believe what I had been told.
Nav Kaur kicked off her campaign on January 16, more than a month after I first learned of the provincial NDP’s plan to promote her in the upcoming by-election. Little was I surprised when Rod Loyola, a self-professed communist, former Alberta NDP leadership candidate, Edmonton-Ellerslie provincial MLA and the topic of one of my most popular columns, showed up to endorse and promote Kaur’s campaign. Since then, little by little, it’s become more and more evident that Kaur’s candidacy in the Ward 12 by-election really is an extension of the NDP provincial government. On January 22, Twitter user Kristi Hall-Busque (@kristibusque) tweeted, “Feeling like MLAs giving my phone number to #yegcc municipal candidates violates my privacy… no?”. Others on Twitter confirmed that the same thing had also happened to them. Kaur has been further endorsed by Shannon Phillips, the provincial NDP cabinet minister for the environment. Phillips took this to unheard of levels in municipal politics by being a speaker at a Kaur campaign fundraising event at a cost of $100 per ticket. When CBC Radio food columnist Tina Faiz (per her own Twitter bio) attempted to defend this ridiculous event, current city councillor Michael Oshry tweeted out, “Having a cabinet minister as the speaker at a fundraiser is NOT ‘Normal’.”
At the core of all of this is the simple fact that this provincial NDP government is corrupt straight to the core. While past provincial and federal politicians have spoken well of, or even door knocked for municipal candidates (and municipal candidates have done the same for federal/provincial politicians), never before have I heard of the premier’s office directly meddling in other levels of government with such overwhelming evidence to support this kind of claim. Never before have I heard of a federal or provincial cabinet minister being the key speaker at a fundraising event for a municipal candidate. Ward 12 residents and Albertans on the whole need to be aware of what’s going on. It is my sincere hope that the voters in this by-election will see through Nav Kaur’s charade and opt to elect a better, more transparent candidate. There are plenty of candidates, and a few that I truly believe will make great city councillors.
Ultimately, on February 22, the voters will have their say, but here’s my take: Ward 12 by-election voters owe it to themselves to elect a city councillor that will put them, not the provincial government, first. All of the evidence available tells us that Kaur’s loyalty will be to the provincial government. Ward 12 residents deserve better than that.
PS. Tina Faiz, mentioned in this article as a defender of the NDP meddling in municipal elections, has attempted to frame me as a liar for mentioning that she describes herself as a CBC Radio food columnist. Here’s a photo of her Twitter bio to prove my description correct.