Followup on the 'restraining order' guy involved:
Postmedia News | April 29, 2015
Don Braid: Alberta Tories diverted by family quarrel as election day nears
The Progressive Conservative party is suddenly beset by restraining orders, family legal squabbles
and snotty text messages — all the hallmarks of the modern dysfunctional family.
This scandal is a huge distraction as the PCs try to get traction on a campaign that seems to be
slipping away from them. It not only bruises their already wobbly image but could cost them two
ridings: Chestermere-Rocky View and Calgary-Acadia.
And all because of a candidate scorned, Jamie Lall, who decided to run as an Independent and then
seek vengeance on the PC machine at a key moment in the campaign.
Lall was famously disqualified as a candidate for the PC nomination in Chestermere-Rocky View only a
few hours after Danielle Smith, and two other ex-Wildrosers, lost their nominations on March 28.
Lall was a loyal PC, a party veteran at a young age. But the PCs obviously wanted Bruce McAllister,
a floor crosser, as their candidate in the riding he won for Wildrose in 2012.
As early as Jan. 31, PC executive director Kelley Charlebois told Lall in a text message: “Don’t
want you in Chestermere.” A couple of weeks later he said: “I think it has more to do with who
you’re running against than you.”
That would support the common view that Lall got the boot for purely political reasons; the PCs
didn’t want yet another ‘crosser to lose a nomination.
But Premier Jim Prentice has always insisted there was good reason for Lall’s disqualification. It
was Lall’s subject to discuss, if he cared to, the premier said.
Lall didn’t reveal anything. But then, after he released the text messages, out it popped,
confirming a rumour that’s been circulating for weeks.
A court restraining order was granted against Lall in 2007 by an ex-girlfriend, who claimed she got
incessant calls and felt threatened after they broke up.
At this point it’s a case of he-said/she-said in Toryland. The PCs perhaps don’t grasp that in a
brawl like this, every attempt to win only makes everybody look worse.
The restraining order emphasizes, for instance, that while Lall can’t run as a Tory, former justice
minister Jonathan Denis remains the candidate in Calgary-Acadia after leaving the cabinet post
because of a legal dispute with his wife.
Suddenly, a lot of political people are nervously checking their text message strings.
A three-hour court hearing was held on that matter Tuesday, with everything under a publication ban,
a sideshow in the PC circus.
Prentice, without noticeable enthusiasm, says he still backs Denis as a candidate. “We press on,” he
If there’s a collateral victim in this mess, it’s Denis, who sent texts to his friend Lall
supporting him as the party tried to strip away his right to run in Chestermere-Rocky View. “Buddy
you are being set up,” he wrote, after Lall said the party had a private investigator after him.
When Lall said the party told him the P.I is used to screen all candidates, Denis replied “BS. BS.
BS.” He advised Lall to get a lawyer.
Denis isn’t talking, but associates say he sent other text messages, pointing out to Lall that he
endorsed Bruce McAllister. Those weren’t released, they say.
They also note, correctly, that Denis publicly backed McAllister as early as Feb. 20, more than a
month before Lall was kicked out.
So there are questions about whether those texts are the full story, but Denis lost his cabinet job
and then unintentionally embarrassed his party.
Suddenly, a lot of political people are nervously checking their text message strings. Friends
aren’t forever in that game. Nor is privacy.
This whole mess stems from lingering poisonous fallout over the December floor-crossings that have
gone disastrously wrong for the PCs.
Smith herself might have got it right when she said: “The anger that was directed toward me when I
got defeated in my riding, I think it ricocheted … that anger had to go somewhere, so I think it
just sort of ricocheted back onto Prentice and the PCs.”
Jamie Lall sure was angry, with some reason. He ran for the PCs in unwinnable Calgary-Buffalo in
2012; he mediated riding factions as president of the Calgary-McCall riding association.
But when he wanted to run against an ex-Wildroser — one of the PCs’ most savage critics only months
ago — his party punted him.
So he decided to ricochet, no matter who got hit. It’s a mystery why the PC party didn’t see that