Controversial Calgary mayoral candidate says he intends to 'harm' AHS staff if elected and could get access to voter information
CALGARY -- Kevin J. Johnston, who is running to become the next mayor of Calgary defended controversial and threatening comments he made on a weekend podcast, now has public officials ranging from the mayor to the police chief expressing concern about his prospective candidacy.
Johnston said he was sick and tired of public health restrictions that have forced many Albertans to close their businesses.
“AHS has done a lot of harm to a lot of people,” said Johnston on his podcast, The Kevin J. Johnston Show on Saturday.
“I intend to do a lot of harm to AHS and I mean a lot of harm. God, you guys are not going to like what I do.”
He stood by those comments in an interview with CTV News Tuesday.
Johnston has been a loud voice at many anti-restriction rallies and a staunch supporter of street preacher Artur Pawlowski, who was recently released from the remand centre, following his arrest for allegedly breaching public health violations.
Johnston has said AHS officials will get a taste of their own medicine if he becomes mayor.
“You’re going to be crying on your knees, you’re all going to be begging ‘please don’t arrest me, don’t take my house away, I’ve got a family,’” he said in the podcast.
“That’s the stuff you are going to say just like what is being said to you by business people who have families, who want to keep their businesses running.”
Johnston has publicly said he already has the names and addresses of seven AHS workers.
If Johnston makes it past the nomination process, he will be given access to voter information in Calgary, which includes names, phone numbers and addresses.
Johnston has previously been charged for allegedly assaulting a grocery store worker in Dawson Creek, B.C. and also faces hate crime charges (directed towards the Muslim community).
Reached Tuesday by CTV News, Johnston reiterated his position.
“When you are someone that utilizes your position within government to intimidate, to threaten and extort people, you’re a criminal. And you’re going to go down when a guy like me gets into office. That’s what I meant.”
“We are going to use the law to harm their lives,” he added, “because they have harmed the lives of Calgarians. Justice is about balance.”
That access to voters’ personal information is something one city councillor, and mayoral candidate and current city councillor Jyoti Gondek hopes to stop.
She tweeted on Monday that “we must all band together and ask Elections Calgary not to release voter lists to anyone.”
“It will make our election campaigns more challenging, but it will protect Calgarians,” she added.
Gondek said the city has no authority under the Local Authorities Election Act to prohibit Johnston.
The city said it is looking at any legal options to change legislation about releasing voter information lists to candidates.
Any candidate who uses that list for anything other than a campaign is subject to a $100,000 fine that could be imposed or imprisonment of up to one year.
Johnston said on his podcast that he intends to only use it during the campaign, when he receives the list, which he believes will be mid-September.
Tuesday, he remained adamant that he be given access to the list.
“They can simply not deny me that list,” said Johnston.
CONCERNED FOR COLLEAGUES
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he’s concerned for the personal safety of some of his colleagues.
“I will tell you that it is harder for me to walk down the street downtown now,” said Nenshi.
“When you have a guy actually say, I’m going to arm myself and go to the doors of health officials’ houses, there’s got to be a legal way to stop that.”
Nenshi believes police should step in.
“How about put him in jail for uttering threats?” he said.
Police Chief Mark Neufeld said police will be there for any Calgarian who fears for their safety.
“When you have candidates openly talking about how they will take the information contained on those lists and actually use that to harass and intimidate public officials and healthcare workers, I think there has got to be concern,” said Neufeld.