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More than a petition? Document shows organization behind Recall Gondek campaign


Evidence has emerged that links the Recall Gondek movement, Alberta's conservatives and the recent drive for municipal political parties.

A document shows the organization now behind Johnston's cause.

Mount Royal University professor Duane Bratt obtained the document from someone who was asked about signing the Recall Gondek petition.

He says he hopes sharing it will shed light on the larger movement at play.

The document names people affiliated with various right-leaning causes and groups including Take Back Alberta (TBA) and the United Conservative Party (UCP).

TBA founder David Parker takes credit for removing Jason Kenney as premier and helping install Danielle Smith to the post.

Though he's not named in this recall paper, he has since pledged to stack everything from school boards to city halls with like-minded socially conservative thinkers.

"Whoever shows up can dominate things. We know voter turnout in municipal elections is low, so if he can get his people to show up, they can win," Bratt said.

Calgary resident Landon Johnston launched the campaign that, if successful, would remove Jyoti Gondek as Calgary's mayor.

Johnston has said he is upset about the city's spending and tax increases while many struggle with affordability.

He has said the city's single-use plastics bylaw was the last straw.

Johnston has 60 days to collect signatures from 40 per cent of Calgary's population, or 514,284 people.

The signatures must be collected in person.

Gondek says she has been briefed regarding what was essentially her concern all along about the petition to remove her from office.

"It appears there are members of the UCP who have, you know, headed up electoral committees and have longstanding ties with both provincial and federal conservative parties who have created a management system, if you will, of how to develop a local party for the future election, and it's all being leveraged through the recall petition," Gondek told media at city hall on Tuesday.

"When this all started, my biggest concern was is this, in fact, a recall petition that's being launched by a single individual because they're unhappy with my performance, although they don't have to indicate any of that?

"Or is this something that will have more nefarious results?"

Gondek says her understanding of the petition to recall her is that it is more organized than what's been suggested.

"There are positions, there are people who hold these positions to actively keep the recall going and I don't need to point out to anyone that signs cost money, hats cost money, t-shirts cost money," Gondek said.

"We have no idea where this money is coming from because it doesn't have to be reported and so, you know, to say that it's an individual on a solo journey just doesn't work out anymore unless this individual has enough money to bankroll this whole thing.

"But the entire point of the petition was, you know, you're making the city hard for me to make a living."

Maybe it started that way, Gondek says, but she believes Johnston may have been co-opted.

"Certainly, there are too many ties to ignore the fact that this is being driven by people who want conservatives at municipal elected positions, and trying to remove me is the first step in that," she said.

Bratt says the petition is unlikely to get the necessary signatures to be successful, but at this point, that's likely not the point.

"I think they realize this. What they are acquiring is a database for the creation of the conservative party to run in the next municipal election," Bratt said.

Bratt also points to Alberta's premier.

"We also have Danielle Smith say quite publicly she wants to create municipal parties to elect more conservatives in Calgary and in Edmonton. You've got members of the UCP board of directors on this memo. So it's all intertwined," he said.

And that possibility is worrisome to Gondek.

"I'm a little bit concerned that as a sitting elected official – someone who was duly noted – there is an attempt to remove me from office by an organized group who simply wants a conservative," she said.

"That's not how democracy works." Top Stories

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