thumb-2023-09-014-ken-lee-election-fraud This article is more than 9 months old

Manitoba PC Campaign Adviser Promoting Trump-Style Election Fraud Claims Before Voting Day

Controversial adviser recently welcomed back to Manitoba PC campaign

In the final days of Manitoba’s provincial election, a controversial campaign adviser for Heather Stefanson’s Manitoba PCs is spreading unfounded allegations of election fraud on far-right livestreams ahead of voting day.

Ken Lee, a former leadership candidate who was disqualified by the party but recently brought back as a campaign adviser during the election, appeared on a September 26 Facebook livestream hosted by Winnipeg-based far-right activist Todd MacDougall.

MacDougall, host of the “Winnipeg Alternative Media” channel, is a former member of the “Proud Boys,” a group later designated as a terrorist entity in Canada.

During the appearance, Lee shared conspiratorial claims about election fraud, rigged voting machines as well as other unsubstantiated allegations about labour unions, the Manitoba NDP and Elections Manitoba.

“In your experience, the only party to really try to manipulate Elections Manitoba and get their hands involved directly in the process of what’s happening in the voting booths and voting sites is the NDP,” said MacDougall.

“Yeah,” Lee replied, before claiming he’s heard anecdotes labour unions are currently paying people “$5 per sign” to steal and destroy Manitoba PC lawn signs.

On social media, Lee previously made the same claim, alleging without evidence that an “organized mob” is trying to “steal an election.”

Lee later alleged that in past elections, the Manitoba NDP stole voting cards from mailboxes and “non-Canadians” were able to vote multiple times.

Ken Lee (Facebook)

At one point during the livestream, Lee warned Manitoba is using voting machines manufactured by Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems, the same companies he suggests were responsible for the “fiasco in the states.”

“I finished voting and there was a lady there standing next to the voting machine,” the Manitoba PC campaign adviser said. “It was a Smartmatic machine, which we’ve heard about in the United States elections.”

“They can be altered, they can be hacked, they can be programmed.”

“I know they can be programmed,” Lee added. “I’ve heard that enough over the last couple of years since the 2020 fiasco in the states.”

“I just don’t trust the system, the system I don’t think has the proper controls in it,” Lee explained. “I don’t know if they’ve really tested it. What they should have done is maybe during some of those by-elections, maybe ran the old system with the new system, ran ’em both and made sure the numbers were the same at the end of the day.”

Dominion Voting Systems recently settled a lawsuit against Fox News for $787 million earlier this year over false claims about its voting machines. Smartmatic USA is also suing FOX News and five others for $2.7 billion over debunked vote rigging claims during the 2020 US presidential election.

During the livestream, Lee shared anecdotes about Elections Manitoba polling clerks allowing people to vote without logging information from their driver’s license, something Lee suggested could lead to people voting using someone else’s name.

“We have lots of people complaining about ‘I went to vote and they said I already voted and I haven’t voted,” Lee claimed.

“This sounds like so much like half of the stuff Trump and Republicans from around the country were going on about from the election in 2020 in America,” responded MacDougall. “These are a lot of very similar stories and tactics.”

Lee was himself under investigation by the Manitoba elections commissioner over allegations of the “wrongful sale” of party memberships to supporters during the 2021 leadership election.

Earlier this week, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Lee had “quietly returned” to help the Manitoba PC’s 2023 campaign, despite his past “criticism of Manitoba government vaccination requirements and public health orders earned him the support of People’s Party of Canada members and anti-vaxxers.”

The Free Press also noted Lee had been “disqualified” from running against Heather Stefanson for the Manitoba PC leadership in 2021 and later “organized a protest outside of PC headquarters in downtown Winnipeg,” accusing “the party of dirty tricks for keeping him off the leadership ballot.”

Marni Larkin, the Manitoba PC’s campaign manager, confirmed to the Free Press that Lee had rejoined the party’s 2023 campaign, describing Lee as “one of the smartest guys there is” and someone who “gives good advice.”

During the livestream, which aired a day before the Free Press article was published, Lee says party officials warned him the newspaper was planning a “hit piece” on him after receiving a phone call from Winnipeg Free Press reporter Carol Sanders:

“How could you let Ken Lee come back and why would he come back and help the party at this point in time? You wouldn’t let him in the leadership race, he’s PPC and he’s unvaxxed and he’s a Trump fan — and so the guy on the phone goes ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about? He’s a Trump fan? What does that even matter?'”

Lee said he would never respond to the Free Press’ request for comment because Sanders is a “horrible, horrible person.”

Ken Lee did not respond to a request for comment from PressProgress.

The Manitoba PC campaign also did not respond to questions from PressProgress about whether the party endorses Lee’s election fraud claims and if it has any doubts about the integrity of the vote.

Manitobans vote on Tuesday, October 3.


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Stephen Magusiak
Stephen Magusiak is PressProgress’ Alberta reporter. His reporting has a focus on public accountability, public services and privatization, and the right-wing war on environmentalists.

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