Elections Alberta is investigating whether a power line activist illegally used a list of registered electors for a mail-out opposing provincial transmission legislation.
It is an allegation Rimbey’s Joe Anglin strongly denies.
Elections spokesman Drew Westwater said Saturday an investigation was launched after a complaint was received from an “interested party” in the riding of Calgary-Glenmore, where a byelection is taking place today.
“Based on the complaint we received we phoned Mr. Anglin yesterday and spoke to him and asked him some questions regarding the complaint and he hasn’t responded to any of them yet.” Westwater said the questions asked are confidential.
Using a registered elector list to target voters in the riding for the mail-out is a contravention of election rules. Using the list can result in a fine up to $100,000 or up to one year in jail.
Westwater said he doesn’t know if the mail-outs only went to registered electors.
“I don’t know how they were delivered and in what manner they were delivered,” he said. But he pointed out that Anglin says in a Friday news release that a direct mail-out flyer was going out to the registered voters of the Calgary-Glenmore riding ahead of Monday’s byelection.
“All I know is he stated in his flyer that he directed his mailings to registered electors in the riding of Calgary-Glenmore.
“The nature of our investigation was to determine how did he get the names of registered electors in the electoral district of Calgary-Glenmore. That was what it was basically about.”
Anglin was questioned by phone Friday but he refused to answer Elections Alberta’s questions, he said. The investigation continues.
Anglin, who was a Green Party candidate in the Lacombe-Ponoka riding in the last provincial election, denies a registered elector’s list was used.
A Lavesta Area Group member simply targeted the Glenmore area by using a postal code and ordering the mail-out through Canada Post. It is the same general mail-out process that power line builder AltaLink has used to let residents know about their projects, he said.
“We had no electoral list.”
A basic investigation by Elections Alberta would have turned up that none of the mail-outs were addressed, making it obvious no voters list was used.
Anglin said while the news release mentions registered voters because the assumption was they would be among those getting the mail-out, which was sent as “unaddressed admail” through Canada Post.
He also denies he is dodging Elections Alberta’s questions. The letter they emailed to him said he had until Sept. 18 to respond, he added.
Anglin believes Elections Alberta is being used to intimidate his group, which has long been critical of the province’s and AltaLink’s handling of a proposed transmission line project.
“I don’t know who put them up to this because they can’t tell me. I think it’s awful that you bring in an accusation and not tell you who’s accusing you.”
“I look at this really as an attempt to silence us.”
The mail-out entitled “Vote No to Higher Electricity Rates” says that if the province’s transmission legislation Bill 50 is passed it could cost $14 billion in tax dollars and cause electric rates to “double, triple or skyrocket even more.”
Voters are called on to vote for anyone but the PC candidate.
“Your support for anyone other than the PC candidate will speak volumes for responsible, reliable and inexpensive electricity rates,” says the one-page notice.