In a statement released last night by his media department, Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary alleges that while he’s been “playing by the rules,” others have not.
O’Leary claims in the statement that his campaign has discovered “backroom organizers who are committing wide-spread vote rigging and potentially breaking our electoral and financing laws to try to buy a Leadership victory.”
The way O’Leary and his campaign believe this is being done is through the purchasing of Conservative Party memberships without the proper checks and balances in place. Namely, that personal cheques and personal credit cards are required to obtain party membership and O’Leary’s campaign “has been informed” that “campaign activists are using untraceable prepaid credit cards to sign up fake members, possibly without these individuals even knowing about it.”
O’Leary then calls on the Conservative Party to “state categorically that it will not accept any memberships that have been purchased with a prepaid credit card, and that any already submitted will be removed from the membership list, and will not be sent a ballot.”
The Conservative Party is investigating these allegations. Membership to join the Conservative Party costs $15.
So far, neither O’Leary or any member of his team have provided any evidence for the claims made in his statement.
You can read Kevin O’Leary’s full statement below:
When I decided to enter the Conservative Leadership Race I made a pledge to always put integrity before politics, and to stand up for what is right, even if it is politically the more difficult thing to do. Today, unfortunately, I must shed the light of transparency on something I have discovered within our own Party.
It has been brought to my campaign’s attention that there are backroom organizers who are committing wide-spread vote rigging and potentially breaking our electoral and financing laws to try to buy a Leadership victory.
In an attempt to protect against this kind of fraud, the Party has strict leadership rules in place requiring all memberships to be purchased by individuals using either personal cheques or personal credit cards. However, we have been informed that to get around these rules, campaign activists are using untraceable prepaid credit cards to sign up fake members, possibly without these individuals even knowing about it. Beyond the legalities of this, it is completely immoral, and extremely unfair to the tens of thousands of real Party members that will have the impact of their votes weakened.
Now, I am not a career politician and perhaps this type of thing is a part of typical political games, but regardless of how wide spread the issue is, it is unacceptable.
I have been clear from the beginning about my goal to attract new conservatives to the Party. I have been extremely successful at doing this, and I have been playing by the rules.
Yet now I hear of backroom organizers signing up people who may not even be aware they are becoming members, who might not believe in our conservative voice and who will not become volunteers in 2019 when we need to come together and defeat Justin Trudeau. Not only does this constitute fraud, but it also poses a great risk to the future of the Conservative Party of Canada and to our collective voice.
I believe it is my duty as a Leadership candidate to bring this to the public’s attention.
My team has raised this issue directly with officials within the Conservative Party and I have been told the Party has launched an investigation. That is a start, but one thing the Party must do now is state categorically that it will not accept any memberships that have been purchased with a prepaid credit card, and that any already submitted will be removed from the membership list, and will not be sent a ballot. Such a step will ensure the integrity of the Party membership and help prevent nefarious groups from trying to buy the Leadership.
I have said it before, Conservative members are looking for a Leader who will fight for them, and is not afraid to tell them how it is. My campaign works diligently at being open and transparent in our goal of leading this proud Party. I expect the Party and my colleagues to do what is right and do everything that they can to stop this voter fraud immediately. By exposing this deception now and shining the light of transparency on the membership, we will know the final results are built on the undisputed pillar of integrity.