UCP denies mass resignation of Calgary-North East constituency board
Aryan Sadat issues statement claiming directors rescinded membership to protest Jason Kenney
Read the latest on this story: UCP Calgary-North East constituency president says members who quit en masse were not actually on board
The United Conservative Party has denied allegations that 10 constituency association directors quit in protest of party leadership.
Aryan Sadat, who says he speaks on behalf of the Calgary-North East UCP Constituency Association directors who resigned, released a statement on social media Monday evening.
He alleged the directors had resigned their posts and rescinded their party memberships "in light of recent events involving Jason Kenney and the UCP party leadership."
Last week, CBC published an investigation alleging that Jason Kenney's leadership campaign collaborated with an opponent's campaign to undermine competitor Brian Jean's campaign. The RCMP are now investigating.
"Upon consultation with my supporters, we have come to a conclusion: we are no longer a part of, and we no longer support the UCP party under Jason Kenney," the statement posted by Sadat said. "We believe in an all-inclusive political party that will act in the best interest of Albertans."
When reached by CBC News, Sadat said he rallied the board directors to resign.
The directors, he said, supported him in seeking the party's nomination for the upcoming Alberta election. Sadat did not end up seeking the nomination but won the trust of these directors, he said.
Sadat forwarded the directors' resignation email to CBC. The email appears to show it was sent on behalf of the 10 directors and directly to party executive director Janice Harrington Monday evening.
The UCP issued a statement Monday night denying that anyone had resigned from the board or association, and warned of Sadat's past run-ins with the law.
"The Party has not received individual resignations from any board members on the Calgary North East constituency association at this time, nor has the local constituency association president," the statement reads.
Board director says he quit
However, board director Ummar Riaz confirmed he did in fact resign. He said he signed an affidavit giving Sadat permission to speak on his behalf.
"We respect him like a community leader, he's a good person," Riaz said by phone. "So we want him to be our spokesperson."
The letters shows the directors listed a wide range of concerns that have hit the news in recent months, from allegations of ballot-stuffed by former UCP MLA Prab Gill, to the current RCMP investigation of the alleged kamikaze campaign collaboration.
"If the leadership is not clean, then we cannot be supporting that party and those people," Riaz said.
CBC then asked why he didn't wait for the RCMP investigation results, Riaz said that wasn't the extent of his worries.
"There are some other concerns as well that, to me, I just don't want to be part of that," he said.
'No standing with the party'
In statement issued to CBC earlier Monday, the UCP noted Sadat "has no standing with the party or constituency association," which Sadat did not dispute, saying he was only a member prior to his resignation.
The UCP candidate for Calgary-North East, Rajan Sawhney, also said she had not heard of the resignations.
According to Sadat's social media accounts, he had long supported Jason Kenney, including in his leadership race.
The party spokesperson, however, accused Sadat of being upset that he was denied after expressing the desire to run for a UCP nomination last summer.
"He was subsequently informed that it was highly unlikely he'd pass UCP candidate screening due to his past, well-publicized issues," Janice Harrington said in an email. "It's clear that Mr. Sadat has not moved past this."
Harrington then linked to a CBC News article about Sadat's attempt to run for Calgary City Council. Sadat's opposition called on him to disclose his history of run-ins with the law.
Sadat pleaded guilty for drug possession in 2006 and received a pardon, so no longer has a criminal record. He also was fined for public intoxication in 2010 and faced nearly five dozen other charges, all of which were either withdrawn, stayed or dismissed in court.
Sadat said he withdrew his UCP candidacy nomination application in January.
With files from Colleen Underwood, Jade Markus and Dave Will