Res­i­dency ques­tions over PC can­di­date

Party mem­bers have to live in On­tario, but leader in nom­i­na­tion race ap­pears to live in Cal­gary

Waterloo Region Record - - FRONT PAGE - Greg Mercer, Record staff

CAM­BRIDGE — The lead­ing can­di­date to rep­re­sent the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives in the next pro­vin­cial elec­tion in Cam­bridge has been leas­ing a house in the rid­ing for less than a month, ac­cord­ing to the man who owns the prop­erty.

But Tanya Khat­tra, a Cal­gary den­tist who lo­cal PC party mem­bers ac­cuse of be­ing a ‘para­chute’ can­di­date seek­ing a winnable seat, does not want to an­swer ques­tions about her res­i­dency.

A woman who an­swered the door at a house on New­port Drive in Cam­bridge — the ad­dress listed as Khat­tra’s res­i­dence in her ap­pli­ca­tion to be­come a can­di­date — said “no com­ment” when asked if Khat­tra lived there.

Khat­tra, whose hus­band is a de­vel­oper who owns a Cal­gary con­struc­tion com­pany, used an Al­berta driver’s li­cence when she filed her ap­pli­ca­tion to run for the nom­i­na­tion in Cam­bridge and North Dum­fries. Her pass­port was also is­sued in Cal­gary, and she uses a cell­phone with an Al­berta area code.

Where Khat­tra lives is im­por­tant, be­cause you can’t be a mem­ber of the PC Party of On­tario if you don’t re­side in On­tario. And you can’t run as a can­di­date if you haven’t lived in the prov­ince for six months prior to the elec­tion.

The ques­tions around Khat­tra’s res­i­dency and can­di­dacy have been fly­ing as the PC party grap­ples with al­le­ga­tions that mul­ti­ple nom­i­na­tion con­tests around the prov­ince have been plagued by claims

of cheat­ing, bal­lot-stuff­ing, and out­right rig­ging by party of­fi­cials.

Some mem­bers of the Cam­bridge rid­ing as­so­ci­a­tion com­plained ear­lier this month the cen­tral party was in­ter­fer­ing in their nom­i­na­tion process, bump­ing up the dead­line to sign up sup­port­ers and abruptly chang­ing the date to select the nom­i­nee.

They al­leged the sud­den change in plans gave an ad­van­tage to Khat­tra, who has the lead in sign­ing up new party mem­ber­ships ahead of the nom­i­na­tion meet­ing. They sought le­gal ad­vice, and the party re­versed its de­ci­sion, can­celling the dead­line.

The party, mean­while, has de­clined to com­ment on Khat­tra’s can­di­dacy, say­ing only that all can­di­dates will be vet­ted by the party, and that it won’t com­ment on any po­ten­tial can­di­date un­til they’ve won a nom­i­na­tion.

A woman who has iden­ti­fied her­self to neigh­bours as Khat­tra’s cam­paign man­ager claimed the can­di­date has lived in the city for years. But in Khat­tra’s ap­pli­ca­tion, she said her pre­vi­ous ad­dress be­fore New­port Drive was in Cal­gary.

One thing is clear — Khat­tra still ap­pears to be liv­ing and work­ing in Cal­gary, apart from a hand­ful of vis­its to the region. Staff at one of her den­tal of­fices in Cal­gary said she would be in the of­fice on Mon­day.

Ac­cord­ing to land reg­istry records, the home she listed on as her res­i­dence on New­port Drive is owned by Gur­dev Mundi, who also owns a lo­cal dry-clean­ing busi­ness. Mundi said Khat­tra has only leased the prop­erty since Sept. 1.

“They started rent­ing this month. I have no idea what they’re do­ing there,” Mundi said.

Neigh­bours say the house has been used as a cam­paign head­quar­ters, with lots of ve­hi­cles com­ing and go­ing, but it’s been quiet since the PC party can­celled the nom­i­na­tion meet­ing set for Oct. 4.

Get­ting an­swers from Khat­tra has been dif­fi­cult. She has not re­sponded to re­peated re­quests for an in­ter­view, and her cam­paign’s Face­book page was dis­abled this week.

Her cam­paign web­site has some bizarre wrin­kles, too. One of her pho­tos in­cludes a link to a video from a vi­o­lent, ul­tra-na­tion­al­ist rally in Ukraine. The site also ap­pears to have been hastily as­sem­bled, with in­com­plete pages filled with Latin text.

Many in the party be­lieve the Cam­bridge rid­ing, held by Lib­eral MPP Kathryn McGarry, can be won again by the PCs. But Khat­tra’s con­nec­tion to the com­mu­nity is hard to pin down.

“I have con­nec­tions to this rid­ing from a long time with pa­tients and through my hus­band’s busi­ness,” she wrote, in her ap­pli­ca­tion to seek the nom­i­na­tion.

As for why she wanted to rep­re­sent Cam­bridge, Khat­tra wrote:

“My rid­ing is a new rid­ing, but has been ne­glected by the Lib­er­als. Peo­ple are fu­ri­ous about the ris­ing cost of Hy­dro, Scan­dals, Mis­man­age­ment and hard­ship un­der this Lib­eral govern­ment.”

And as for why she thought she’d be a good can­di­date for Cam­bridge, Khat­tra pointed to her ca­reer as a den­tist — although she’s never worked as one in this prov­ince.

“As a den­tist and health care pro­fes­sional, I un­der­stand the con­cerns of lo­cal peo­ple. I will be a strong voice for my con­stituents at Queen’s Park,” she wrote.

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