Wildrose Party Provincial Executive Election information.

In looking at my blog statistics, I had noted that I am getting a lot of traffic from people searching for information on the next Wildrose Party Annual General Meeting. It having been over 14 months since the last one that is understandable.  As can be seen in the picture below, my blog ranks at the top of such searches as unfortunately it is providing more information on the 2012 Wildrose AGM than the Wildrose Party site which at current contains absolutely no information on this year’s AGM nor any information on how a person would go about running for an executive position with the party.

I feel I may as well continue to provide information to the inquiring membership as somebody has to and a very important deadline is sneaking up on us. I understand that while the date and location of the AGM was confirmed back in July through a tweet from Danielle Smith, that the party headquarters may be a bit too busy to provide such information on the party website. I mean hey, at times I find it can take me an entire hour to compose a blog posting.

Below the picture I will provide information on the location and time of this year’s AGM, information on how to get on a ballot for an executive position and some general information on what the provincial executive committee is all about.

OK, at this point we know that the next Wildrose Party Annual General meeting will be held on November 23-24 at what I think Danielle meant as the Mayfield Inn. There is a Mayfair Hotel in Edmonton but it is apparently rather run down and has asbestos problems. I am pretty sure that the former is correct and will try to confirm that. I have no idea what the cost of attendance will be at this time but a person can now at least plan for that time and make travel/accommodation bookings if required.

Due to the window being closed (120 days notice required), the membership will not be able to change any policies or parts of the constitution at this AGM. Aside from being a gathering of the membership (good in itself), the only solid things that will (must) be covered will be the presentation of the party financials to the membership and the election of the next Provincial Executive Committee.

Now here is the important part as some parties appear to be dawdling in getting notice of the AGM to the membership: According to clause 7.2 of the Wildrose Party Constitution, nominations for the Executive Committee can not be made any later than 65 days before the AGM.

That deadline means that anybody considering pursuing a position on the Executive Committee must get in contact with the nominating committee (which was presumably formed a couple weeks ago) prior to September 19 which is not very long from now at all.

With the deadline being only a little more than a couple weeks away and no information on how or where one can contact the nominating committee, it does become something of a pain. I strongly suggest that people go to the Wildrose Party contact page and make an inquiry (copy and save it) as to how to get in touch with the committee soon if they are seeking positions.

To be eligible to run for a position on the Executive Committee a person needs only to be a member in good standing with the party who is not employed by the party, the provincial legislature, parliament or employed by any other party. No applying member needs to fill out extended applications nor be subjected to interviews or any form of vetting aside from being a member in good standing who is seeking an executive position. Our constitution is actually very grassroots when followed.

Redford has been proving in her vindictive actions against constituencies that elected Wildrose members and in the massive deficit being posted by the government that nothing indeed is changing with the Progressive Party of Alberta. The need for the Wildrose Party to turn itself into a proper government in waiting while in opposition is as acute as it ever has been. Having a strong and actually functional provincial executive committee that is dedicated to maintaining the grassroots principles that the Wildrose Party was founded upon is critical.

In order to get a good executive committee we need as many good members as possible to apply for and compete for those positions. Unfortunately some elements in our party do not feel that way thus the incredibly secretive nature of the process when the party should actually be openly inviting and seeking member participation on the board.

Between elections, the way that the membership controls the direction and principles of the party as a whole is in their selection of a provincial executive committee at AGMs. A functional committee should be holding regular meetings, communicating clearly with the membership and managing the important and broad affairs of the party. A functional committee will work cooperatively with the leadership and caucus of the party while still ensuring that neither of those sections of the party encroaches on party operations (as they have in the past). The provincial executive should only answer to and feel accountable to the membership and should only feel obligation to serve that element of the party.

I have served on the Wildrose provincial executive in multiple capacities. It can be somewhat time consuming and thankless but it is a rewarding task for those of us dedicated to the party. A person does not need to set their life aside for these volunteer positions. Formal monthly meetings and some committee work do not have to take too much time. It is the content and dedication that is important.

The Wildrose Party needs good, dedicated members to compete for the positions on our executive committee at this coming AGM. I strongly encourage people to consider running for board positions or to recruit and encourage other good candidates to run for those positions. It is critical for our party and time is running short.

The Party Constitution describes the board roles here in section 7. All of those roles need good people and as I have pointed out in past blog postings, that last board was for the most part dysfunctional to near uselessness. I do hope we do not repeat that sort of endeavor this time.

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Resignation Bingo!

 

I was planning to put this game together sometime near the beginning of the legislative session. Alas, the Wildrose Party jumped the gun on me with their demanding the firing/resignation of Fred Horne in mid-summer so I decided I had better get on this as who knows how many stamps may be gained before the legislature even manages to sit for a full session.

There are few opposition tactics that are as shallow, abused, over-used and lazy as that of demanding the resignation of a government minister or member over an issue. Perhaps Horne’s firing is warranted but I tell you what; now that Smith has demanded he be fired there is practically no way that Horne will be shuffled or fired anytime soon. All the same, this is the first demand for a resignation/firing by the Wildrose since the election so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt in that this is just something of a one-off or that Horne really needs to go that badly.

It can be argued that one of Canada’s most fiscally conservative governments in recent memory was under Jean Chretien with a Reform Party opposition. A strong and responsible opposition can have a great influence upon a sitting government. The only way an opposition party can wield power though is to truly threaten the sitting government’s position in power. That position will not be attained if the opposition simply consists of demanding the resignation of ministers every time something happens under their watch.

Once an opposition party demands the resignation/firing of a government member, unless that member has done something huge, possibly criminal and totally unforgivable, that member will become even more deeply entrenched in government. Pride and political points come into play once a resignation is demanded. If a member is performing terribly and the opposition keeps hammering on and exposing those actions, that member may indeed eventually step down or be shuffled soon. Once a resignation/firing is demanded however, the chance of getting rid of that member goes from being simply unlikely to that of an icecube’s hope in hell.

Public cynicism with politics  in general is growing. The indignant howlings by parties on all sides in legislatures both federally and provincially are adding to that growing disconnection between citizens and elected officials. Few actions can aid in that better than a frivolous call for a resignation/firing of a member. I am not suggesting that the legislature try to emulate the rainbow and lollipop approach to debate that the Alberta Party proposed (leading to their utter electoral slaughter). A heated and emotional debate in the legislature can be engaging and productive. That debate needs to be carefully crafted though and opposition will have to work carefully to guide that.

In coming to this legislative session the Wildrose Party can choose between two potential roles; it can accept that it has replaced the Alberta Liberals in a position of permanent opposition, or it can act as a true government in waiting that is currently serving in opposition. The second option will not be achieved if frivolous calls for the resignation of government members remain common.

I am looking forward to what I hope is one of the best legislative sessions that we have seen in a decade.

The card I modelled has the current cabinet along with a few backbench wildcards. I will continue to update and mark it as calls for firings/resignations from opposition members add up. The color of the stamp will represent which opposition party demanded the firing/resignation.

Lets hope that the card does not fill up with stamps quickly. I don’t really want this bingo card to be a blackout winner.

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Follow the money!!!

 

We have all encountered the statement in the title of this post. Usually the statement comes when discussing something of substance with a person lacking in substance. The aforementioned person will often wink and smirk conspiratorially while stating: “Follow the money.” and then act as if the discussion is now at a close. That statement alone apparently says it all. Read into it what you will.

Now the use of that statement is usually meant to imply that there is an individual or small group of them secretly in control of whatever was the subject of the conversation whether that be in politics, religion, economics or the leadership of the local geranium growing society. Apparently if you follow the money, you will eventually get to the head of whatever nefarious conspiracy is at hand.

When something is difficult to examine or explain, many people simply like to explain it away with a pithy statement rather than explore the issue more deeply. Much like those who love saying “God works in mysterious ways”, many try to close discussion by demanding that one follow the money. Unfortunately these people rarely if ever take their own council and actually follow the path of money or they likely would not fire out that vapid statement so often.

I am going to “follow the money” in a few examples where these statements are common.

The left loves to imply that conservative leaning parties are secretly and massively funded and controlled by evil faceless corporations. Well, if one begins to follow the money through looking at the means of federal political contributions, they will first find that corporations have not been able to donate since 2004. While individuals may contribute up to $1,100 per year federally, it makes it rather tough for an individual to control a national party on that scale does it not?

The entire breakdown for federal contributions can be found here and with only cursory examination it will be found that the federal conservatives are being funded by thousands and thousands of small individual donors. No hidden shadowy figure in control of the party or gross corporate influence. It took me about 3 minutes to google that information though, that is indeed much more effort than would be required in simply saying “follow the money” in a cryptic manner.

Ahh, but what about provincial parties particularly in capitalist Alberta? Corporations can contribute up to $15,000 in Alberta so surely that collection of corporate lackeys within the Wildrose Party is terribly beholden to those faceless organizations! Alas, in following the money it has been found that while the Wildrose Party has been setting new records in fundraising; 75% of those funds still come from individual donors. Assuming that a party acts solely based on where they can raise funds the Wildrose Party is clearly beholden to a large number of individual Albertans rather than those dark-souled corporate interests. People can find all the financial political information in detail here. It is not tough to follow the money in Alberta if a person wants to dedicate a little time to it.

With modern resources, disclosure and transparency it is becoming easier than ever to follow the money indeed. Environmentalist conspiracy theorists often demand that we follow the money when decrying the actions of the productive in industry. What is fun though is turning the gun around and following the money flowing towards our green little friends. When thinking of environmental extremists, the Greenpeace corporation is the first and largest one that comes to mind. Yes, in following the money, it can be found that Greenpeace is a $350 million per year multinational corporation that provides some pretty massive perks to line the pockets of their senior management teams. I mean hey, power to them. Greenpeace need only be accountable to it’s donors. Let’s not try to live under the illusion that Greenpeace is some sort of altruistic organization though. Even the founders of Greenpeace are pointing out how the organization is little more than a well funded corporation with an extreme left-wing agenda (seems almost counter intuitive).

Let’s face it, when we follow the money we find that there are big bucks to be made in the environmentalist industry. Thanks to people following the money, it has been found that Tides Canada has been laundering and filtering some pretty big foreign bucks to some extreme Canadian activist groups. Some of those patchouli scented punks you see at virtually every protest are actually rather well paid to be there. Due to listening to them and following the money though, Tides may (rightly) lose it’s charitable status soon.

Thanks must be given to Vivian Krause who has worked so hard to follow the money and has exposed so many of the rather well heeled fiscal shell games going on under the guise of environmental activism.

But what about those evil corporations in themselves? Who is benefiting from those boardroom monsters? Who are those suited villains really serving? Who really owns those megacorporations?

The answer to the above questions once we follow the money is: ALL OF US!!!!

It is frustrating how quickly people jump up to decry corporations when they won’t actually follow the money and see at least the basics of how these places work. Sure there are some individuals who we read about who have unimaginable amounts of money and assets. These people when added up still only make up a tiny portion of the ownership of large corporations. When looking into corporate ownership, banks, mutual fund groups, financial management, insurance companies and capital companies tend to be predominant. Where do those companies get their money? Well these companies get their funds from pension plans, insurance premiums and private RRSP type investments. Government pension plans are heavily invested in these corporations too.

Do you pay any kind of insurance premium? Well, it is the money made through the investments of your premiums that keeps the premiums within affordability. Do you plan to collect from the Canada Pension Plan when you retire? Well, the CPP is a huge corporate owner (in other words you are). If you are a part of any kind of private pension or savings plan, you are a corporate owner and are benefiting from corporate profits. Do you enjoy the lack of sales tax in Alberta? Well the revenues from investments by the Alberta Heritage Fund are much of what helps keep our taxes low (though there certainly is room to improve there).

So many people howl about corporations yet never give a second thought to how their investments grow. What makes your RRSP (hopefully) get bigger? It is not a magical fairy out there that makes your money grow when it is out of your hands, it is corporate profits and you are a beneficiary of them.

Just for a little more fun in following the money, I always love exposing union hypocrisy. While unions love to claim solidarity forever and supposedly support each other, that goes out the window when it comes to padding their own pockets. Follow the money to the Ontario Teacher’s Union pension plan.  Worth over $117 billion dollars, the OTPP is a major corporate player. The Ontario Teacher’s Union plan investments read like a who’s who of apparent evil corporate interests. The union invests billions in oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks and some very anti-union type organizations.

When one has over $100 billion in leverage, one could very easily control the actions of the company that one invests in. Why does the Ontario Teacher’s Union not wield that power for good? Why won’t the union come down on those vile corporations and make them clean up their ethical act? The answer is very simple; to do so would impact return on their investment. To put it in one word: hypocrisy

Yes, I finally listened to the left and followed the money. I think they may not like the conclusions. The next time somebody tells you to follow the money, may I suggest that you respond with another overused cliche: Be careful what you wish for…..

 

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