Residency questions over PC candidate
Party members have to live in Ontario, but leader in nomination race appears to live in Calgary
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.