United in name only

It has become quite obvious to me for the past few months that a reincarnation of the old PC Party is gradually taking control of the United Conservative Party.

After the members of the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative parties voted to unite the two parties, each constituency association was required to submit 15 names for the new Constituency Association Board, thus we had a united board of directors.

This worked fine for a few months. However, that was not the end of board elections.

Elections Alberta had decreed that the constituency boundaries had to be redrawn so as to better reflect an even number of voters in each constituency association.

This required another founding meeting. This time there was no rule requiring that each legacy party have the same number of directors on the board.

This opened the door to people with ulterior motives to take advantage of the situation.

That occurred in the Drumheller-Stettler Constituency Association.

As I have previously said, I have been to many annual and founding meetings over the years, both federal and provincial, with a normal attendance of 60 to 80 people.

Over 300 attended the founding meeting for the Drumheller-Stettler Constituency Association.

People were presented with ‘a list of names’ before they entered the hall. They were expected to vote for the people on that list for the election of the board.

There had to be a long time of planning and lobbying to motivate that many people to attend this meeting.

A bus was hired to transport people from Drumheller to the meeting in Hanna. It appears that this was done with the assistance of the Constituency Association president.

He had booked the largest meeting room in town, knowing that there would be hundreds of attendees.

The usual meeting place would have accommodated 60 to 80 people. There were 42 nominees on the ballot. When the results of the vote were announced everyone on ‘that list’ was elected to the board.

The other 12 names on the ballot were former supporters of the legacy Wildrose Party and were deliberately purged from the board.

Everyone that was elected had been either a member or a former board member of the legacy PC Party.

There had to be collusion between the former PC members of the board and I believe the provincial UCP board and staff for this to happen without the knowledge of other members of the Drumheller-Stettler board.

The result was an illegitimate nomination process.

I am finding out that there are similar situations occurring during nomination contests in other constituencies around the province.

I do not know if this is happening with the knowledge or approval of Jason Kenney, the party leader.

I would warn him and party officials that if they continue purging Wildrose influence from the party, they do so at their peril.

Remember, Danielle Smith tried to eliminate the Wildrose party by crossing the Legislative floor with the majority of her caucus but discovered that grassroots members did not and would not follow her.

Not one of those MLA’s was elected in the next election.

The Wildrose Party had strong grassroots support and that support is still there.

The Wildrose party was formed due to the lack of integrity in the old PC Party.

If this nonsense continues it won’t take long for these grassroots members to coalesce around a new conservative party.

In fact, there is one now that has adopted the old Wildrose policy manual. Jason Kenney could well find out that he is leading a party that is no longer united.

The old PC Party lost the last election because a large number of voters felt they were corrupt.

Is that what is happening again? I would say yes!


by Herman Schwenk

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