A Calgary businessman who was blocked from running for the Progressive Conservative nomination in a southern Alberta riding says he was blindsided by a late-night text message telling him he was kicked out of the race.
Jamie Lall said he was approved to run as a candidate in Chestermere-Rocky View by the riding's constituency association on March 24. But four days later, his run ended with a short text message sent just before midnight on Saturday.
"'The committee met and has disallowed your participation in the nomination," Lall wrote, quoting the text in a release sent Monday afternoon.
"'It's back to you to decide if it's better for you to step aside now or be disallowed as part of our release tonight.'"
An hour later, the PC party's nomination committee announced that Lall has been disallowed and that Bruce McAllister, a former Wildrose MLA who crossed the floor to the Tories in December, was the riding's candidate.
The announcement came hours after three other Wildrose floor-crossers — Danielle Smith, Gary Bikman and Rod Fox — lost their bids to become PC candidates.
Lall said he was given no information on why he was removed from the race.
"This was the first I heard of my candidacy being disallowed, I was not given a [sic] opportunity to meet with the nomination committee to receive more information," he wrote.
"As a long-time member of the PCAA I am disappointed by this but understand the results of this decision won't change."
Lall, who was appointed as the Tory candidate in Calgary-Buffalo in 2012, said he was thoroughly vetted by Gordon Bull, a private investigator.
Last week, Bull resigned from a job he held as an investigator with Alberta's auto-dealer watchdog, following a CBC News report that detailed his role in investigating a bribery allegation involving another PC candidate.
When asked Monday about Lall being removed from the race, Premier Jim Prentice said Lall was one of hundreds of people the party checked out before candidates were chosen.
"Mr. Lall was one of the people who was vetted, he was vetted for good reasons," Prentice said.
"I won't speak to the reasons, he will have to do that. We value his privacy."