'It just feels underhanded': NDP offends some with involvement in Edmonton vote

An Edmonton voter has stopped payment on monthly donations to the Alberta NDP over the party’s involvement in next week's municipal election - and she’s not the only one crying foul.

“I feel really strongly about not having partisan involvement in municipal elections,” Kelly Granigan told CTV News Edmonton Friday.

Granigan lives in Ward Metis and is supporting Ashley Salvador for council.

She’s also been an NDP voter and donor - but she’s not happy that MLAs are endorsing candidates, calling voters and appearing in mailed endorsements.

Granigan said she’s received unwanted calls and a lawn sign from candidate Cori Longo - who has been endorsed by three sitting NDP MLAs and is using orange like the NDP in her signs and flyers.

“If the provincial NDP are sharing resources with municipal campaigns, that crosses a line for me. I don’t think it’s against the rules in any way, it just feels a bit exclusionary,” she said.

Granigan had a federal NDP candidate's sign on her lawn. After the election it was removed, and another one showed up.

“We look out later in the day and there’s a Cori Longo sign on our lawn, and we didn’t ask for a Cori Longo sign, and we already had another candidate's sign,” she laughed.

“I poked around and I heard other people had the same thing happen to them, and it just feels underhanded.”

Granigan said she contacted Longo’s campaign and the sign was removed.

A spokesperson for Longo said she wasn’t available for an interview Friday, but offered a written statement.

“With over 1,000 signs on private property, we have of course had volunteers drop a few off at the wrong location,” her campaign wrote.

They added Cori is “honoured” to have the endorsement of NDP MLAs. The statement said they “respect” when people ask to no longer be called, but didn’t comment on where the contact information came from.

‘GROSS AND I HATE IT’

Granigan is not the only one to complain about the NDP’s overt support for certain candidates on social media.

“Just received an auto dialer call from (NDP MLA) Sarah Hoffman prompting me to vote for Michael Janz in the #yegvote. As a progressive, I have feelings about this, and none of them are good,” trustee candidate Hannah Hamiltion tweeted Thursday.

“I don’t want to come on here to fight anyone but this feels like overstepping, like this just confuses people,” Rajah Maggay tweeted Thursday, including a photo of a flyer that shows an NDP MLA’s endorsement of Longo.

“This is gross and I hate it,” Puneeta Sandhu McBryan, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, tweeted about the flyer in Maggay’s post.

“Both my NDP MLAs know how much I respect and appreciate them, so to them and the party I say, ‘This is deeply disappointing we can’t afford the toxic politics of (the legislature) and jurisdictional confusion seeing into (city council),’” she added.

NOTLEY RESPONDS TO CRITICISM

NDP leader Rachel Notley defended her MLAs when CTV News Edmonton asked her about the connections on Friday.

“Some of our individual MLAs have been working to support some candidates,” she said.

“We’ve heard from lots of folks, in cases where there have been endorsements, that they’ve found it helpful.”

Notley made it clear her party is not officially endorsing anyone, but her MLAs are free to.

“This is no different than what has been happening in terms of provincial politicians occasionally supporting and endorsing politicians of other levels of government in their elections,” she argued.

Other candidates have connections to the UCP and the Alberta Party, but endorsements and support by NDP MLAs has been far more visible.

NDP candidates have posted photos and videos of themselves door knocking and endorsing candidates as well.

Notley didn’t definitively answer if her MLAs have shared voting lists or phone numbers with council candidates, instead saying municipal campaigns often have their own data.

“I really speak to how individual municipal candidates are running their campaigns, I truly can’t,” she said.

“When you have a federal election and a municipal election and you have referendums and all those sorts of things, a lot of people are being contacted by a lot of candidates,” she said.

The election is Monday, Oct. 18.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Dan Grummett