Tag Archives: Hung Pham

Manmeet Bhullar Minister

PCs have a long history of nomination scandals in Calgary-Greenway

The March 22 by-election in Calgary-Greenway kicked off this week with the defending Progressive Conservatives already embroiled in scandal.

Jamie Lall PC Chestermere Rocky View

Jamie Lall

Four candidates were expected to contest the PC nomination at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 27, but the local constituency association decided on Feb, 23 to forgo the nomination process and appoint their own candidate at a meeting. Instead they chose Prabhdeep Singh.

Interim leader Ric McIver endorsed the decision in a noted posted on the PC Party Facebook page this morning.

For two of the four prospective Tory candidates, this is the second time they have been overlooked in favour of an appointed candidate. Ahead of the 2015 election, Jamie Lall was disqualified from challenging Wildrose-turned-PC MLA Bruce McAllister in Chestermere-Rockyview and Dan Sidhu stepped aside when Rick Hanson was appointed as a star candidate in Calgary-Cross.

Ric McIver

Ric McIver

This is not the first time the PCs have decided to appoint a candidate in this constituency rather than allow members to vote for a candidate through an open nomination contest. Before the 2012 election Calgary-Greenway was known as Calgary-Montrose, and the MLA this by-election is being held to replace, Manmeet Bhullar, was appointed by the party leader as a candidate.

Then a law student at the University of Windsor, Mr. Bhullar was appointed by Premier Ed Stelmach ahead of the 2008 election following a nasty dispute between the party and the local constituency association.

The Calgary-Montrose Tories had been involved a prolonged legal dispute with the provincial PC Party, in which the local Tories were suing the PC Party for more that $180,000 in legal fees amassed during a botched nomination contest held before to the 2004 election. Prospective candidate Gus Baron claimed he had been unfairly disqualified from that nomination contest.

Four years later, the local PC constituency association refused to hold a nomination meeting when PC MLA Hung Pham decided to not seek re-election before the 2008 election. Instead, a committee of Calgary-Montrose PC members named local pastor Ron Leech as their candidate before his nomination was quickly overturned by the central party. Mr. Leech would run as an Independent candidate in 2008 and as a Wildrose Party candidate in 2012, during which his controversial comments would become a flashpoint of the campaign.

Back to 2016, the Tories obviously felt some urgency to appoint a candidate and holding an open nomination process would have demonstrated that the PCs were a vibrant political organization and that they had learned a lesson from the rash of nomination scandals that bruised the party before the 2015 election.

Update: Ric McIver released a second statement on evening of Feb. 24, 2016, reversing his initial endorsement of the Calgary-Greenway nomination process.

"Earlier today, I released a statement indicating that the Calgary-Greenway Constituency Association Board had decided…

Posted by PC Alberta on Wednesday, 24 February 2016

colourful political trio behind private resort hospital in vietnam.

Q: What do you get when you send Lyle Oberg, Hung Pham, and David Aftergood to Vietnam?
A: North American Healthcare International Inc.

The unlikely trio of former Alberta cabinet minister Lyle Oberg, former Calgary Progressive Conservative MLA Hung Pham, and Calgary businessman David Aftergood recently formed North American Healthcare International Inc. and plan to open a private-for-profit “five-star” resort hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. As the Socialist Republic of Vietnam opens its markets to outside investors, it is not surprising that westerners are moving in to make a profit on this new market. It is a bizarre trio of Alberta politicos who have implanted themselves in Vietnam’s new boutique health care hotelier industry.

Architectural rendering of the proposed hospital resort. Credit Card or Cash?

It makes one wonder what kind of advice Dr. Oberg is giving Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, to whom he has recently started to offer political advice. Before earning a reputation for thumbing his nose at his party’s establishment, Learning Minister Dr. Oberg travelled to Vietnam a number of times, including once in 2003 with Mr. Pham to an education conference hosted by the World Bank.

Known in political circles as the “MIA MLA” for his lacklustre attendance record in the Assembly, Mr. Pham served in the PC backbenches as the MLA for Calgary-Montrose from 1993 until 2008. He resigned in 2008, after a prolonged legal fight between his constituency volunteers and the PC Party. On his way out, he blasted his party for being “dishonorable.”

Calgarians may remember Mr. Pham and Mr. Aftergood named in connection to the 2004 Ward 10 election dispute when Margot Aftergood was elected as a City of Calgary Alderman under suspicious circumstances. Mr Pham was not charged as a result of the investigation,though his house was raided by police during the 2005 investigation and his brothers Anh Pham and Thanh Pham were charged. Mr. Aftergood was convicted of violating the Local Authorities Election Act though charges against him were later dropped by Alberta Justice.

Mr. Aftergood is a well-known figure in Calgary political circles. He was a candidate for the PCs in the 1993 federal election and was President of the Montrose PC association from 1996 to 1997 (the constituency represented by MLA Mr. Pham). It was uncovered in 1997 that Calgary-McCall MLA Shiraz Shariff owned stocks in Applied Gaming Solutions, a company that was offering offering Video Lottery Terminals to the Government of Alberta. Mr. Aftergood was the company President, presenting the suggestion of a conflict of interest.

The CFO of North American Healthcare International Inc. David Jones is also the former CEO and CFO of Pacific Lottery Corporation (PLC), a company founded by Mr. Aftergood. On August 24, 2010, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada halted trading on PLC stocks, which held contracts with the Vietnamese government, leaving many investors wondering what happened (a number of them contacted me when I tweeted about this topic earlier this week).

With this colourful Alberta political trio on the job, this blogger will certainly be paying close attention to their nouveau ventures in the Far East.

alberta politics notes 10/29/2010

It was supposed to be a boring week in Alberta politics. What was billed as a low-key and low-substance return of the Assembly for its fall sitting may still be lacking on substance, but it is not as low-key as most political watchers expected.

More ducks land in tailings lakes
It was only a matter of time before it happened again. Our problem isn’t that the noise cannons failed to stop the ducks from landing in the tailings lake. Our problem is the existence of toxic lakes.

Opposition leader missing on emergency vote
The first day of session saw the NDP call for an emergency debate on emergency room waiting times which failed after Liberal leader David Swann and Lethbridge-East MLA Bridget Pastoor went AWOL. Dr. Swann said it was because no one told him about the vote, yet six of his caucus members were on the Assembly floor to vote for the motion.

The Wizard of Zwoz introduces the Alberta Health Act
Health and Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky introduced Bill 17: The Alberta Health Act this afternoon. The Alberta Health Act has been a target of health care advocates since Edmonton-Rutherford PC MLA Fred Horne embarked on a province-wide road trip to “consult” Albertans on the proposed Act. The Edmonton Journal’s Sheila Pratt interviewed many of the people at these meetings, yet none of the criticism she discovered was reported in Mr. Horne’s committee’s final report. Minister Zwozdesky’s introductory speech was quick to target opposition to the Bill, which could open the door to further privatization after the next election.

Liberal Point of Order awaits Alberta Health Act
Minister Zwozdesky probably hoped to impress the opposition with his oratory introduction but it did not take long for Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman was less than impressed. Ms. Blakeman was quick to pounce after the Health Minister’s speech, raising a point of order accusing him of improperly using the time allotted for him during the Bill’s first reading. Speaker Ken Kowalski was not amused. He rarely is these days.

Wildrose fundraises and attracts a familiar face
Speaking in front of a crowd of 800 guests, Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith held her largest fundraiser yet in Calgary this week (the question and answer period was hosted by 630 CHED host Dave Rutherford). The Wildrose Alliance announced the nomination of three more candidates this week. Against the other opposition parties leaders, Shane McAllister will stand in Calgary-Mountainview and Wayde Lever in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. In the new Calgary-Greenway, 2008 independent/jettisoned PC candidate Ron Leech who will carry the Wildrose banner against rookie PC MLA Manmeet Bhullar. Mr. Bhullar squeaked out a win against Pastor Leech in 2008 when the local PC constituency organization was in disarray following the retirement of long-time MLA Hung Pham. Pastor Leech was originally nominated by the local PC association, but was removed and replaced by the appointed Mr. Bhullar.

Leaky Fawcett to stand in Calgary-Klein
PC backbencher Kyle Fawcett proposed an amendment to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Final Report that would have his constituency of Calgary-North Hill re-named Calgary-Klein in the next provincial election (in honour of former Premier Ralph Klein). Mr. Fawcett (known as “Leaky Fawcett” in some political circles) got his wish. Other new constituency names are Strathcona (which will be known as Strathcona-Sherwood Park) and Calgary-Montrose (which will be known as Calgary-Greenway).

A most amusing piece of legislation
Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Verlyn Olsen in Hansard: “Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I request leave to introduce Bill 205, the Scrap Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act. The objective of this bill is to curb the theft of metal in Alberta by providing additional tools for law enforcement.”

Party business
The member of four political parties will be gathering for official party functions over the next month. Starting today, the Progressive Conservative’s will be meeting for their policy convention in Calgary. The NDP will be holding their Annual Convention in Red Deer on November 5, 6, and 7. The Alberta Liberals will be electing a new party President, Vice-President Policy, and Secretary at their Annual General Meeting scheduled for November 27 in Red Deer. The new kid on the political block, the Alberta Party will be holding their policy convention on November 13. Here is a video from their recent Annual General Meeting:

Alberta Party 2010 AGM from Alberta Party on Vimeo.

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.