Calgary Liberal MP George Chahal fined for election flyer controversy

Calgary·New

Calgary’s lone Liberal MP says he has paid a fine after a doorbell camera captured him removing an opponent’s campaign flyer and replacing it with one of his own on the eve of the last federal election.

Calgary's lone Liberal MP says he has paid a fine after a doorbell camera captured him removing an opponent's campaign flyer and replacing it with one of his own on the eve of the last federal election.

The video showed George Chahal, who won Calgary Skyview for the Liberals in the September 2021 federal election, walking up to a constituent's front door in the northeast Calgary neighbourhood of Temple on Sept. 19.

Chahal removed a flyer put there by members of Conservative incumbent Jag Sahota's campaign team, which included instructions on how and where to vote.

Though Calgary police did not investigate any criminal wrongdoing, the incident prompted an investigation by the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections (CCE) in late September.

On Tuesday morning, Chahal tweeted that he has accepted and paid a $500 administrative penalty for the incident.

"I want to again apologize and acknowledge my mistake," Chahal's tweet read.

I have accepted and paid a $500 administrative penalty, as assessed by Elections Canada, for removing a flyer from a front door on September 19, 2021. <br><br>I want to again apologize and acknowledge my mistake.

&mdash;@ChahalGeorge

Chahal said Tuesday the fine had been assessed by Elections Canada. But the CCE later clarified that it had issued a notice of violation to Chahal and imposed the administrative monetary penalty (AMP), not Elections Canada, as indicated in his tweet.

"The AMP … is intended to address violations related to preventing or impairing the transmission of election advertising and amounted to $500," said Véronique Aupry, who is with the CCE, via email.

Incorrect polling station cited, disputed in flyer swap

The CCE told CBC News in September that a section of the Canada Elections Act addresses defacing or removing election signs or other election advertisements.

The penalties set out in the act include a of fine of up to $5,000 and the possibility of up to six months in prison. The commissioner can also use informal means to resolve a complaint, like a caution or an information letter.

After the video circulated online in the days following the election, Chahal's campaign said that he took Sahota's flyer because it contained incorrect polling information.

Glenn Pennett says the flyer on the left, which includes improper polling station information, was left by George Chahal. Chahal says he removed Conservative candidate Jag Sahota's flyer, right, because it contained incorrect information about polling station location. Sahota's flyer was provided to CBC News by her lawyer. (Guardian Law Group )

But the flyer left by Chahal and provided to CBC News by homeowner Glenn Pennett, a retired police officer, directed the voter to a polling station 16 kilometres from the one where he said he was required to cast a ballot.

Sahota's lawyer, Kyle Shewchuk, provided CBC News with a copy of the flyer he said was identical to the one taken by Chahal, which includes information about the proper polling station.

Clarifications

  • George Chahal initially tweeted that the fine had been assessed by Elections Canada. However, the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections (CCE) later clarified on Tuesday that it had issued a notice of violation to Chahal and imposed the administrative monetary penalty — not Elections Canada, as indicated in his tweet.
    Jan 25, 2022 10:13 AM MT

With files from Meghan Grant and Dan McGarvey

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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