Bell: Mayor Gondek is really steamed over recall petition drive to punt her

Gondek tells the press about members of the UCP with long-standing ties to the provincial and federal conservative parties. The mayor says they’ve created a management system for how to develop a local political party for a future election and it’s all being leveraged by the recall petition

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She is upset. Clearly upset.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek looks downright steamed about this petition campaign to give her the heave-ho.

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The petition needing an impossible number of signatures to succeed.

The petition launched by Landon Johnston, one guy in the middle of winter who had zero political experience and didn’t know how much heavy lifting would be required to even get a few signatures.

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Then on Tuesday afternoon a well-known professor by the name of Duane Bratt tweets out how evidence had emerged.

Stop the presses!

The petition has been taken over by the conservative movement. It has attracted big money.

The petition wouldn’t succeed “but it is a stinging rebuke to Gondek.”

Personal information is being collected for a future conservative party in Calgary. Take Back Alberta are heavily involved.

These were the claims.

Premier Danielle Smith supports city political parties and people with ties to Smith are part of the Recall Gondek campaign.

Sounds like a real conspiracy. Maybe a script for a Netflix mini-series.

Right after the tweets, Gondek is quickly briefed by her team. The mayor says she’s looked at a few things.

One is almost surely a piece of paper shared on X by the professor.

There are names on the piece of paper and at least one spelling mistake. The group is called Project YYC. They want to elect a common sense conservative mayor and council in 2025.

They are said to be helping Johnston with his petition drive.

There are 20 names. I recognize four names and none are movers and shakers in conservative circles.

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Johnston recognizes three names.

Gondek tells the press about members of the UCP with long-standing ties to the provincial and federal conservative parties.

The mayor says they’ve created a management system for how to develop a local political party for a future election and it’s all being leveraged by the recall petition.

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Next month, the Smith government will roll out how city political parties, separate from provincial and federal parties and without their party names, will be able to operate.

By the way, just so you know, neither the premier’s office nor the UCP itself are involved in the recall.

Still, Gondek tells us there could be something nefarious afoot.

The mayor says trying to remove her is the first step to getting conservatives in elected positions at the city.

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Gondek also mentions the personal information you give when you sign a petition and how it may be used to help in the forming of a city political party and your information could be compromised.

Johnston, who started this petition, says information will not be used for anything other than for the purpose of the petition.

A newshound asks Gondek to respond to the idea none of this is as nefarious as we might think.

“I guess we’ll see how it is,” says the mayor.

Gondek talks about the Recall Gondek signs and hats.

A Recall Gondek sign
A sign for the petition to recall Mayor Jyoti Gondek was photographed in Parkdale on Wednesday March 20, 2024. Gavin Young/Postmedia

What about the money for the recall drive? There was talk of big money.

There is a donate button at recallmayorgondek.com.

Johnston says he’s raised under $10,000.

Gondek goes on again about the people helping Johnston and how they simply want a conservative as mayor.

Yes, the mayor is steamed. That much is obvious.

Earlier in the week, Gondek talked about the recall.

“This is purely personal to not have me be the mayor even though I was duly elected,” she says.

“The fact I have to witness this as I’m trying to lead the city. The fact it looks ridiculous to outsiders that there’s a petition in place to recall a mayor who has not committed any ethical violations.”

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Some of those helping with the recall were talking months ago about starting their own petition to dump Gondek.

When they heard Johnston had a petition going they had a choice. Walk away or help out.

Some helped out.

Johnston for Bell col
Landon Johnston gives an update on the Recall Mayor Gondek petition at City Hall earlier this month. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia

Meanwhile, some voices talked of far-right forces and expressed shock.

Er … then Wednesday we see the professor delete his thread of tweets.

He posted the list of names on the piece of paper but hadn’t checked them all out.  He apologized.

Some of the people were involved and some not, a point made in a statement by the group.

The professor is not backing down from the claim Johnston the recall guy “has been co-opted by a larger group of conservatives more concerned with data mining for the eventuality of a Calgary conservative party.”

The evidence?

It seems some folks are getting a little nervous.

After all, if city political parties get the green light as expected there could well be a much bigger group wanting a common-sense conservative mayor and council with much bigger names involved and much more money than $10,000.

There is a chance mainstream conservatives in Calgary will finally get their act together and give Calgarians a clear choice.

Then you’ll see the fear and loathing.

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