Wednesday, September 28, 2022
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Two investigations in to BC NDP leadership candidate Appadurai campaign

Environmental group, Dogwood BC is being investigated by elections B.C. for violations to the election laws by advertising, promoting and marketing to help sign up supporters for BC NDP leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai.

Dogwood BC had a whole team made up specifically designed to support Anjali Appadurai. The team was organized and set up like a call centre with paid workers working shifts where they spent months sending emails and texts to its membership list to convince people to become BC NDP members to support Appadurai’s campaign.

“Dogwood B.C. spent the past month sending emails and texts to its membership list encouraging people to become B.C. NDP members to support Appadurai’s campaign, fundraising money to create a phone bank that signs up new members for Appadurai, organizing volunteers into call centre shifts, training people to make calls using Dogwood’s own outreach software, running online ads, and appearing to have paid staff collaborating with Appadurai’s campaign,” Rob Shaw from CHEK TV reported.

“We are aware of this situation and are reviewing it to ensure political contribution rules are being followed,” Elections B.C. spokesperson Andrew Watson told reporter Rob Shaw.

“The B.C. NDP’s election CEO is currently investigating the link between a third-party campaign and a declared candidate in our leadership race,” confirmed Heather Stoutenburg, B.C. NDP provincial director.

“Any campaign, candidate or individual who is found to have violated our leadership election rules may be subject to sanctions,” Stoutenburg told reporter Shaw. “Any violations of the Election Act by third-parties or campaigns will be duly reported to Elections B.C.”

Some of those activities might violate Election Act restrictions on contributions to leadership campaigns.

However, Watson, the Elections B.C. representative cautioned: “It remains to be seen if any specific activities being conducted by the Dogwood Initiative constitute a direct or in-kind contribution under the Election Act to leadership contestant Anjali Appadurai.”

Dogwood’s communications director Kai Nagata denies any wrong doing by the organization and said they made sure they were operating in a grey area.

“Before the NDP leadership race got underway, we talked to Elections BC about the rules around third parties and what we discovered is as long as we are communicating to our supporters, via our media list and channels, the Election Act is silent on what speech we may engage in,” said Kai Nagata, Dogwood’s communications and campaigns director.

While he says they’re only encouraging members to sign up for the leadership vote and insists Dogwood BC is not endorsing Appadurai

Elections Canada is aware of the situation and reviewing it after a video went viral of BC NDP leadership candidate Anjali Appadurai’s friend,  “climate justice” activist Atiya Jaffar from activist group 350.org offered to pay the $10 membership fee for people to sign up to become BC NDP members.

Nagata wrote a praising opinion piece that was posted on the Dogwood website. Nagata  insisted Dogwood is not endorsing Appadurai and only encouraging people to signup so they can vote.

“Yes, it stung to give John Horgan’s party $10,” he wrote. “I will never forgive this government for prolonging the drug poisoning massacre. Giving away billions to fracking companies. Launching three militarized raids on Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territory. Shrugging off the deadliest climate disaster in Canadian history.

“Anjali’s campaign is a long shot, a buzzer beater. If she wins, she will arrive in the premier’s office at the head of a movement, but with zero elected experience. That can be a good thing. We’ve let government be run by professional politicians for generations. It’s not working for most of us.”

Eby is still seen as the front runner for BC NDP top job while Appadurai has generated a little more membership sign ups than Eby.

All coverage has sparked some rumors the BC NDP are looking for a way to boot Appadurai from the leadership race.

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