Wildrose AGM 2013. Constitution time.

It is undeniable that the Wildrose Party has made terrific strides in the last 8 years or so within Alberta. Our provincial government has been held to account more effectively than we have seen in decades as Alberta finally has a strong opposition party in the legislature.

As the Wildrose Party continues to grow we will of course have some growing pains and internal battles to hash out.

There is an element within the Wildrose Party that sees the grassroots membership and basis of the party as a necessary evil at best. Year after year we have to fight off attempts to centralize the management of the party among a small and unaccountable group while sidelining means of member control and party accountability. The Executive Committee is the branch of the party that is to be controlled by nobody else but the membership at large and this distinction and role is critical to the entire basis and purpose of the party. This power within the Executive Committee has constantly annoyed the weasel faction within the party thus constant efforts have been made to reduce the role and strength of the Executive Committee every year.

Due to party meddling and a large number of Executive Committee resignations within the party, the Wildrose Party found itself last year after the election with a do-nothing party executive that could barely bring itself to meet more than once over the phone every couple of months.

This ineffective Executive Committee so impressed some of the powers that be within the party that they even tried to defer the party’s annual general meeting for two years so that they need not risk getting an active Executive Committee chosen by the membership. This effort was exposed though and due to this being in complete contravention of the Alberta Societies Act, an AGM was suddenly and grudgingly slapped together to at the least meet legal requirements within Alberta.

With a meeting scheduled no other information was put out to the membership at large on details for things such as Executive Committee elections. It became incumbent upon party members such as myself to blog the information that the party refused to promote and to give a platform to aspiring candidates for Executive Committee positions. Party members Rob Woronuk and others worked to hold open candidate debates so that members could get to know the candidates as again, the party refused to offer such aids to the internal democratic process for some reason.

It took a great deal of effort to pull the party kicking and screaming into adherence with it’s own constitution in leading up to the AGM.

Thanks to the efforts of many dedicated and stubborn party activists, a good AGM was held where an active and effective Executive Committee was elected in the fall of 2012 (much to the chagrin of the weasel faction).

Now with the election and retention of an effective EC within the Wildrose Party, the weasel faction has turned to a new means to try and take control from the membership within the party. At this year’s Annual General Meeting in Red Deer, the membership will be discussing changes to the constitution and policies of the party.

A few of the proposed constitutional changes coming forth this fall are nothing less than outrageous and they are clearly modeled with the intent of neutering the Executive Committee and Constituency Presidents (thus by extension the membership) in the management of the operations of the party.  The members must understand what these proposals are and vote them down en masse at the 2013 AGM to send a message to the weasel faction that we are getting really tired of this.

The full list of proposed constitutional changes can be found in the link below.


It should be noted that almost all of the offensive propositions are coming from the Cardston-Taber-Warner constituency for some reason.


OK the first and likely worst proposed change to the party constitution would take the power of selecting an Executive Director for the party from the Executive Committee and put it solely into the hands of the Party Leader. I will use screen snaps for this as the layout from the file makes it easier to see in an image.

resolution16I like how the statement says it: “clarifies process for selecting Executive Director”. Uh no. This resolution does far more than clarify the selection process, this resolution essentially would not only give the Leader of the party sole-authority in not only the selection of an Executive Director but it would give the Leader sole-authority in setting the terms of reference and power of the Executive Director.

Resolution 16 is ridiculous and outright dangerous if approved. There are some very good reasons why the Leader’s office is a separate division from the management of operations within the party. The role of the Leader encompasses many things but the operation of the party is actually not one of them. There is no rational reason to put the party Leader directly in control of the party operations and in having such powers over the Executive Director the Leader’s control of operations would be full and unchecked.

The Leader, Party President and Executive Director are essentially the top three folks within the party structure. If any one of the three has unchecked control on the selection of the people for either of other two roles, we will have created essentially a dictator with no reasonable check against their actions.

While we need the Executive Director to work in a productive and hopefully cooperative manner with the Leader of the Party, we simply can’t put the entire power of selection of this powerful role into the hands of the Party Leader. The membership must strike this down soundly this fall.


resolution28This resolution from Cardston-Taber-Warner made me scratch my head and say “wow” at such a blatant move to try and undercut grassroots organization within the party.

If one wants to start a dictatorship, one of the first things that must be done is to isolate communications and organizing capability among the masses and that is exactly what this proposal is trying to do.

I understand that some people do not want their personal information floating around out there. Having one’s name on a list as a CA President is hardly an offense to privacy and the person chooses to be in that role in the first place. We are not talking about home addresses and phone numbers here.

I expect this will be soundly rejected at the AGM but should this resolution pass I will state this here and now:

I will track down the names and email addresses of all 87 Constituency Association  Presidents within the Wildrose Party and will list them on this site along with regular updates. I have the connections, the will and the means to do this so why don’t you weasels just drop this odious suggestion now?

Why on earth would we want to stifle communications between our constituencies?


resolution11One would think that after having nearly gone in contravention of the Alberta Societies Act with the attempted deferral of the 2012 Wildrose Party AGM that the weasel faction would have been supportive of correcting the constitution to reflect legal requirements so such errors would not happen again. While two resolutions help clarify the obligation and needs, Cardston-Taber-Warner wants reference to and obligation of AGM timing totally removed from the constitution. I wonder which of the three resolutions will be discussed.

Those who despise member driven parties like the Wildrose Party also despise AGMs of course as this is when the collected membership can exercise their rightful control upon the direction, management and policies of the party. Of course the weasel faction wants to get constitutional obligations for AGMs removed. I expect the membership to overwhelmingly toss this one in the trashbin where it belongs.


 resolution13In keeping with what became a pattern, Cardston-Taber-Warner wants terribly for some reason to deeply enshrine some pretty strong unilateral appointment powers for the Leader into the party constitution.

It is critical that the Leader takes a strong guiding role in the appointment of these positions but I do not see why this has to be mandated in the constitution to be at the sole discretion of the Leader.

A good leader will be able to work cooperatively with the caucus, Executive Committee and Executive Director in filling these roles without having sole authority to do it all directly. If the Leader can’t do their job under those constraints of cooperation and compromise, then perhaps that person is not the appropriate one to be the Leader of the party.


resolution22aVetting and preparing policy for presentation to the membership at an AGM is an exhausting, thankless task. I know this well as I served two terms as VP Membership with the Wildrose Party and that was while the party was considerably smaller than now.

A policy committee is a great way to get more done and to bring minds together on what is a tough and messy process. Many policies come in that are unreasonable, poorly phrased or at times outright incomprehensible. Despite this reality, the committee simply can’t be empowered to revise or comment on a proposed policy without the consent of the person or people who submitted the initial proposal.

Without this check in place in the constitution, the policy committee could theoretically change every policy submitted to them unilaterally with no consultation with the people who submitted the policy in the first place.

The policy formulation process will always be tough, time consuming and messy. There are improvements to be made.

Deleting this critical check on the power of the Policy Committee as proposed by Cardston-Taber-Warner would not be an improvement by any means.

There are some other questionable and debatable suggestions in the proposals and I expect more vigorous examination and discussion of these issues in the next few months. Policy will take me many long-winded postings but these constitutional proposals must be nipped in the bud and addressed right now.

Who are the people with Cardston-Taber-Warner who put these together? I certainly would love to see some attempted rationale for this clear effort to centralize the management of this grassroots party that we all worked so had to build.

Grassroots organization is messy and tough but it can work and it is worth it. We have to remain vigilant and keep knocking down the weasels who think that by setting aside our principles that we can get where we need to be. If we wanted to be in a party like that, we would be with the Redford Progressive Conservatives.

Recall legislation would have settled questions with disgraced MLA Mike Allen


There are few more effective ways to destroy a political career than to get busted in a sex scandal. Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Mike Allen pretty much eliminated any real political future for himself when he got arrested in a prostitution sting while on government business in Minnesota. Whether charges get laid or not, the damage is pretty much done at this point.

While Allen has resigned from the Progressive Conservative caucus and all committees (to save Redford the task of kicking him out of those roles), as of this writing Mike Allen is still sitting as a member of the legislative assembly.

In light of this scandal there really are only two possible paths in Allen’s future; he can resign from the legislature altogether or he can sit in shame as an independent lame member who gets the odd opportunity to ask a question during sessions.

I can only see two reasons why Allen would choose to remain in the legislature for the remainder of his term. Mike Allen may simply really really need the job and the money and is willing to endure the shame of sitting in there or Allen may remain in his seat as a favor to Redford to ensure a by-election does not add yet another Wildrose MLA to the opposition that has been so effectively bringing the Redford administration to task this last year.

If we had recall legislation in Alberta Mike Allen could have had a third option ahead of him. Allen could have legitimized his place in the legislature by withstanding an effort to recall him or even have won his seat again in a by-election triggered by a recall.

People usually view recall as a means to get rid of an MLA who no longer enjoys much support among their constituents but it should be remembered that recall can vindicate a member who is caught in a controversy as well.

Recall is a mechanism that allows the electorate to potentially get rid of an elected official should they have done something so odious while elected that a large segment of the electorate feels that this person should no longer be able to serve out the rest of their term. Mike Allen’s prostitution bust is a perfect example of this. The situation and perception of Mike Allen as a person has dramatically changed and many within Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo may now feel that they do not want somebody who indulges in such activities to represent them any longer. The package that was presented to voters in that constituency just over a year ago looks much different today and voters may want a new choice.

I have seen some people defending Mike Allen and speaking to how well he has served the community in a municipal role and then as an MLA. Some people have expressed the view that Allen’s transgression is not serious enough to warrant his resignation as an MLA. The decision of how serious this issue is can only be left to the electorate and not to straw polls and pundits. Recall legislation would have allowed for this.

Mike Allen may remain in his seat and weakly try to claim that he has heard from constituents that they want him to remain. I suspect that most of Alberta would look at such claims with a jaundiced eye at best.

Recall legislation must be crafted so that the bar is not set unreasonably high nor so low that it is done frivolously. This has been managed in many jurisdictions before and there is no reason that it couldn’t be brought into legislation effectively within Alberta.

Only though a full accounting to his electorate can Mike Allen now claim to be entitled to his seat as an MLA. It is too bad that we don’t have the means in an effective recall legislation to have given Allen the chance to have vindicated himself through his constituents. A failed recall effort would shut down any further claims that Allen is not entitled to remain in his seat as an MLA.

Alison Redford hits tinpot dictator status in her latest petty move.


During a crisis elected representatives on all levels take on a new role of leadership in gathering and disseminating critical information to their constituents. A local councillor, MLA or MP is always well in touch with the area and it’s people and is a familiar face for residents to turn to in a disaster.

I think that well over 99% of people would agree that in a crisis of the magnitude facing Southern Alberta in this disaster that partisanship must be set aside so that all representatives may best serve their constituents. This means including ALL local elected officials MUST be kept fully in the informational loop as briefings are held so that communications may be sent to residents.

Leave it to Alison Redford to hit a truly pathetic new low in having Danielle Smith, the MLA for Highwood kept out from government crisis briefings while putting the long gone former Progressive Conservative MLA on the podium to speak to residents of High River.

That is right, Alison Redford would rather have a former and retired MLA speak to residents rather than the one popularly elected to represent Highwood. I could understand if Smith was from outside of the constituency and was trying to ham in on camera time. In this case, Danielle Smith resides right in the heart of the disaster. Would Redford ban Nenshi from Calgary briefings? Of course not.

Redford is actually purposely interfering with the role and job of an MLA during a literal disaster. I would expect this sort of crap in Russia or Iran where democracy is a mere façade.

I am sure Smith and many others are too polite to say it but I will come right out with it. Redford is a sour and miserable person who has trouble endearing herself to anybody at the best of times. The Premier and her sad little band of communication monkeys are hoping to capitalize politically on one of Alberta’s worst disasters of the century. While Danielle Smith is simply trying to do her job, Redford fears the optics of a hardworking and caring MLA further endearing herself to the electorate through doing her job.

This strategy will backfire Redford as you work quickly to enshrine yourself as Alberta’s most pathetic, self-serving Premier in history. 2016 cant come soon enough.

Compounding the issue through lies.

In a small way, there is a similarity between Premier Redford’s situation and that of Rob Ford who was so recently judicially tossed out as Mayor of Toronto. Ford’s issue was rather small (though wrong) in using city letterhead to raise $3000 for a cause of his choice. Where Ford really went wrong was when he refused to recuse himself on a council vote on that very matter. Through his own stubborn, foolish pride Ford compounded the matter which eventually led to his ousting.

Alison Redford’s government has been awash in corruption and questionable practices essentially since the day Redford took power. Redford even had her sister essentially laundering tax money to the Progressive Conservative Party through her expenses in a government position.Other scandals kept popping up indicating everything from doctor intimidation to other illegal donations. Despite this though, Redford has always managed to walk that thin line in that while her government is clearly grossly un-ethical, it manages to always stay just within the bounds of legality (due to her own shoddy laws).

With Alberta’s terribly lax laws in regards to ethics, whistle-blowing etc, I am pretty sure that Alison Redford’s personal selection of her ex-husband’s (current friend, heavy party donor and head of her transition team into office) law firm to run a multi-billion dollar action for the government while odious would still have not been found as a  conflict of interest.Everything changed when Redford blatantly lied to the legislature!

This lie by Redford is so blatant and bald faced as to be staggering. Despite CBC finding a very solid paper trail proving without doubt that Redford personally made the decision, Redford continues to lie in the legislature and out of it about this whole affair. Redford has turned this from what has become a run of the mill corruption thing with her government and turned it into a full blown contempt of parliament case which is potentially terribly serious.

The graphic below simplifies the whole case. This is not a case of interpretation. Redford is simply lying. The image from facebook is less long winded than I am prone to being but makes the point clearly.

Alison Redford’s lying has put many people into tough positions now. Our current Justice Minister has been bouncing around like a Mexican jumping bean seeking to run as he said “on the same song sheet” as he tries to keep up with the Premier’s stories. The past Justice Minister now is trying to slide more deeply under the bus and the Speaker of the Legislature himself is now in a very awkward position.

The impartiality of Speaker Gene Zwozdesky has been somewhat questionable in what has been an exceedingly raucous session of the legislature. With a clear cut case of the Premier misleading the legislature like this before him, Zwozdesky is truly now put to the test. How the speaker rules on this on coming days will truly indicate whether we still have something of a functional and balanced legislature or not.

Having taken a moderately bad ethics accusation and turned it into a full blown contempt of Parliament issue through bald-faced lying, Redford has proven herself dishonest at the least. Redford has not exactly proven herself all that bright in all of this either. I want neither of the aforementioned shortcomings in my Premier.


Wildrose Party 2012 Annual General Meeting Summary

To begin with I have to say that the 2012 Wildrose Party AGM in Edmonton this year was nothing less than a smashing success. Those familiar with myself and or my blog know that I will not hesitate to be critical of my party when I feel they have strayed from a good course. I am happy to give a fully positive review of things today.


To be frank I had been concerned about how turnout may be for this event. There were a few factors that I felt could have negatively impacted turnout this year; roads were a little wet and icy at times though not as bad as they could be at this time of year, Edmonton is not traditionally our most supportive part of Alberta (though that is changing), it is the Grey Cup weekend and Calgary is in the final game and the AGM had initially sort of been slapped together in a rush almost grudgingly as documented here.

Despite all of the above challenges, I am thrilled to report that nearly 700 members attended this year’s event. I found the Mayfield Inn quite full of folks for the informal social and hospitality suites on the Friday evening. On Saturday morning hundreds were already seated at breakfast and the room simply kept filling and filling through the course of the day as people arrived from all over the province. By the end of the day seats were at a premium as the very large room literally got to a  standing room only state.

There were a few reasons for this great turnout. To begin with, there is simply a great attitude of enthusiasm and optimism among the party membership. While some felt disappointment in our not forming government in last spring’s election, it was still a tremendous success as the Wildrose Party went from four seats in the legislature to what has turned out to be an incredibly effective 17 member opposition. With the talent being demonstrated by our caucus and with the clear lack of direction of the Redford government, members can indeed sense that we are on the way to forming Alberta’s next government. With that feeling of confidence in the future members can sense the importance of our party events opportunities to build and prepare for the future.

As opposed to the 2011 AGM, positions for the provincial executive were very well contested this year (candidates and outcomes can be found here). Having such hotly contested positions by so many people ensured that many teams were on the ground encouraging members to attend the AGM and vote. Being able to participate in something so important as executive elections engages members and adds a great element of satisfaction for members as they know and can feel how important their participation is in guiding the direction of the party. Flaccid lists of acclamations with endorsements from a party committee in 2011 did not add that element in that years underwhelming and poorly promoted elections.

The pricing for attendance at this year’s AGM made a great difference as well. For a two day event, an early-bird rate of $100 which capped out at a top cost of $150 was a great deal. At the 2011 AGM the rate to attend was $250 (there was a modest early-bird rate but it eludes me). We have many very dedicated members and had around 700 people attending in 2011 despite that high cost. Many members did stay home in 2011 though and word is that the party posted close to $100k in losses from that event as it had been hoped that well over 1000 people would be attend and space and supplies had been prepared for as much. Many members have bluntly expressed that the high cost of attendance is what kept them from coming out and that they did not feel such a high price to attend reflected grassroots well.

The venue this year was not as fancy as the Telus Convention Center had been last year. No giant audio/visual lightshow was prepared and presented and there were no long (clearly expensive to produce) video introductions. There was a giant Alberta flag as a backdrop along with screens on either side of the stage providing a magnification of the people speaking for those sitting near the back. The only complaint I could have is that we needed speakers near the back as it was hard to hear on occasion for people like myself who are somewhat hearing impaired. The food and refreshments were modest but adequate and were provided efficiently. I truly heard not a single soul bemoaning the lack of excess or luxury this year as there had been in the 2011 AGM. I hope that all of this has been noted by the powers that be this year (I will be sure to remind them of course).

The massive division, leadership questions and internal turmoil!

I think one ironic factor leading to such a good turnout this year was a mixture of curiosity/concern by some members over apparent division and a plot to overthrow the party leader. In a tiny way, I feel that my wife and I bear a little responsibility for this as we had both exposed some operational and attitude problems within the party in something of a public way. I think those planted the seeds for the more nefarious to take elements of what we had pointed out and craft it into a rather shabby conspiracy theory of a possible internal takeover by some members of the caucus. A video was displayed on the site of a rather non-credible blogger in Edmonton that tried to show a chain of events and personal links leading to a conspiracy. The video was quickly discredited and it being promoted by a person who has an obsessive opposition to the Wildrose in hopes of desperately gaining personal attention really didn’t add to it’s credibility.

An email from a fake caucus members account then went out to some members and began to be forwarded around that was implying essentially the same conspiracy theory as the one on the short lived aforementioned video. The email was no more credible than the video but it did bring some life to the conspiracy in a media that was hoping to find something more interesting to report on than a simple annual general meeting of a party.

Back to that irony, I think that many fence-sitters made up their minds to attend the AGM in hearing about the video and email. Some members were concerned that this smoke may have indicated a possible fire and decided to come and see for themselves.

With so many members coming, looking for possible division and finding none what happened is that we found ourselves more unified than ever before. The conspiracy led to many good jokes both from people speaking to people on the floor. I almost hope that such petty efforts continue.

This does drive home though another element of the importance of general and well attended meetings of the membership of the Wildrose Party (or any party for that matter). When meetings get too far apart as they had this time, complacency on the board can and did happen and small issues indeed began to fester into larger ones. Better communications can ease this problem and good meetings such as last weekend obliterate the problem. It must be borne in mind for the future that the “A” in AGM stands for Annual!

Policy and direction

Due to constitutional constraints and some disorganization on the part of the past Executive Committee, we could not do any formal changes to our party policy at this year’s AGM. Getting back into the realm of irony, this lack of formal policy work led to planning for a great deal of informal policy discussion which gave us much more clarity in our party stances and allowed our representatives to get much more direct member feedback on direction.

It has to be remembered, that the two issues that are most constantly attributed to the sudden drop in polls in the last election actually had utterly no basis in official party policy. The “lake of fire” garbage was based on the mental meanderings of a lone candidate on his personal blog. The weird caucasian blatherings by Leech were just the poorly phrased statements of one person. There is nothing referencing gay people or minorities in any of our policies so it must remembered that policy reforms alone will not do anything to counter these sorts of issues.

We do have some policy that is redundant, vague and out of date. We do need as a party to go through our policy set at our next gathering and fix this up.

What my poor photography demonstrates above is what our time was filled with due to the lack of formal policy work.

We had three sections of policy represented by groups of caucus and then two different breakout periods where people could have direct exchanges with MLAs on policy concerns. The discussion was incredibly frank and open and dialog went in both directions from members to caucus. This provided more clarity to policy direction than any policy book revisions ever could have. Caucus members got to hear directly from members and this will help them form their stances in the legislature. We can never have a policy for every issue so the best way that caucus members can represent party members is to engage them directly like this. One small but important critique here though, Joe Anglin needs the hook when speaking at such things as his long-windedness precluded many other questions. We do have many other caucus members and other questions Joe.

The other picture shows the open Q&A where Danielle Smith and Kerry Towle took completely open and unfiltered questions from members on the floor. Nothing was sugarcoated and while there were some softballs, the tough questions were asked too. Danielle was asked directly about the Hunsperger/Leech things and answered at length. Danielle Smith’s respect for free speech was evident but it was clear that she recognized the importance of taking care of these issues through better and more vigorous candidate selection processes and policy clarity. Both free speech and integrity of candidates can be maintained.

Some have already yelped that Danielle Smith did not condemn Hunsperger enough. Seriously folks, had Hunsperger been brought to the AGM, hung up, flogged by the entire membership and then personally fed his own recently severed testicles by Danielle Smith, there would still be some people saying she did not go far enough. It was one person, it did not and does not reflect the whole party, it is past and get over it already. Those who will never get over it are those who would never vote for a responsible option like the Wildrose Party in a million years anyway so it is past time to simply ignore them and move on.

True and real transparency

Some media and members alike expressed something akin to shock at how open everything was. Birds really should fall from the sky or something when Premier Redford dares to utter the word transparency considering how hard her government works to hide their actions from citizens and in light of the recent Progressive Conservative Party AGM where media was outright banned from the majority of activities, the open nature Wildrose Party AGM was indeed shocking in it’s contrast.

Even noted dipper Lou Arab took some time to pop in and put our open meeting to the test. He was only moderately abused 😉 .

Danielle Smith and the entire caucus was available throughout the entire two days. Even during the inebriated later hours of the hospitality suites Danielle could be found in the hallways being cornered with question after question directly from members. It must have been exhausting but it is incredibly appreciated and sends an incredible message.

Had a person wanted to speak one on one with every member of the entire caucus and provincial executive during the AGM it was easily possible with some effort over those two days. I expect it will be tougher in 2016 but only because there will be well over 65 caucus members as opposed to any lack of transparency.

While so many pay lip service to the whole concept of transparency, the Wildrose Party clearly practices it. It is through these practices and through member vigilance that we will maintain these high principles and that the Wildrose Party will usher in a whole new style of responsible government soon.

Hindsight and self-evaluation

Members and media alike were surprised by Tom Flanagan’s (party campaign co-chair) very frank and open summary of the past election. This sort of candid discussion of strategy and and personal humbling is never demonstrated by other parties. Flanagan spoke to our naivety in some elements of the campaign and he spoke to how some issues caught us off guard. Charts demonstrated how some of our policy initiatives during the campaign gained support while others (such as the energy rebates) actually cost us a fair degree of support. Flanagan spoke on how some of our policies are simply out of date and others just won’t sell.

It is through this unvarnished discussion that we ensure growth and evolution as a party. In being open, we must learn from our errors and successes. Contrasting these things openly before the entire membership brings us all into this learning and helps foster a sense of pragmatism and understanding of how we will have to always keep electability in mind when crafting our plans and policies.


The 2012 AGM was a great success and the Wildrose Party is much stronger today than it was just a week ago.

A new and invigorated Executive Committee was elected in a well contested race. In having to fight for their spots, these members will not be as inclined to fall into the complacency that crept into the last EC. I expect they will do a great job in guiding and managing the communications and operations of the party.

A deeper sense of enthusiasm and unity was gained by all in attendance and the importance of these gatherings was demonstrated (even to those who seem to try and avoid these things).

Danielle Smith’s keynote speech was excellent. I left it alone as myriad media and bloggers have covered it and it was live streamed.

We still have a mountain of work to do on our way to forming government in 2016. Major progress was made in creating that path to government this weekend. We need to keep this attitude and maintain momentum.


Just wanted to add that the staff and volunteers did a great job. Things went smoothly from registration to scheduling.It all was very well organized. Couldn’t happen without them.

We want your money! Not your voice!

 Well today I was happy to look in my mailbox to see a fat envelope from the Wildrose Party. I had assumed that the party had finally gotten around to mailing out notice of our upcoming Annual General Meeting in Edmonton and the constitutionally required report from the nominating committee that we all sort of expected to come in a few weeks ago.

Alas, I was disapointed to find that the letter was simply a four-page mailout with a return envelope taking shots at PC expenses and asking for more of my money as pictured below.

 Sadly this is indicative of where the attitude is with the Wildrose Party administration these days. The party is beginning to operate solely on the preservation of itself as a party while concepts of grassroots participation and communication with the membership for any purpose aside from asking for more money is falling far to the backburner.

How hard would a small insert giving details on the Annual General Meeting have been to add to that bloated envelope? It can only be assumed that the omission was purposeful.

This year’s Annual General Meeting has been a poorly communicated and bungled mess right from the very beginning as I have documented on this site in the last few months. It took repeated efforts of public pressure to get the party to simply publicly announce that there was indeed an AGM happening this year and an attempt to severely (and unconstitutionally) hinder the Executive Committee election was headed off shortly before the deadline to apply for Executive Nominations.

I have been with the Wildrose Party since it’s founding and the Alberta Alliance Party that it sprouted from and in many roles. I do understand that mailouts to the membership are expensive and resource intensive. I spent many a night volunteering as we stuffed envelopes to keep members informed of party activities and to ask for donations. When we got large enough that we had to outsource mailers, we still carefully ensured that we kept a balance between fundraising and general member communications. That balance has been totally lost.

To any members of the Wildrose Party reading this right now I ask this; when is the last time you got anything in the mail from the Wildrose Party informing of anything aside from why they need more of your money? One year? Two? I honestly can’t remember one. The party took such pride in raising nearly $3 million in 2011 yet can’t even bother to send us a newsletter or notice of something so important as an AGM?

The paramount event of the year where the members get to act like more than wallets for the party and participate directly in it’s direction and management is the Annual General Meeting. Despite this fact, the AGM and member input has been treated by the party administration almost as if it is a hindrance to be avoided. Minimal (and even less) required effort and resources have been dedicated to this AGM which is being almost grudgingly held. We can’t even get a simple mailed notice of it’s happening!

Yes, the party sent an email and did a robodial to announce the AGM. Now, we have thousands of members who do not have email (or did not share it with the party). Some emails go to spam boxes (not surprising considering most are asking for money). Many people do not listen to robodials and many who did likely did not write down the details of the AGM. What we can safely assume is that thousands of Wildrose Party members still do not know that we are having an AGM, where the AGM is or how to register for and attend it!

This is simply unacceptable on so many levels. People should bear in mind that a low AGM turnout strongly serves those who want to maintain the status-quo. Even a do-nothing Party President could still get elected if few people showed up for an AGM for example. Even if this keeping of the membership in the dark is not purposeful, it reflects either a terrible disrespect for the membership or it reflects utter incompetence.

This year members need to speak up. Since the party does not consider informing members to be an important thing, we will need to inform members on our own. Call your CA President and other members. Talk to people you know and encourage them to get out.

There was a great early-bird rate for AGM registration that has unfortunately passed. Another deadline is approaching and then the price goes up again. Let other members know about this and encourage them to get out.

When fundraising has so clearly surpassed the needs of the membership within the party, something has clearly gone terribly wrong in the party. We need to flush the Executive Committee and turn the Wildrose Party back into the member based populist movement that 10s of thousands of us got together to form.

Well it’s not like there’s a guide for running the party….. Oh wait a minute… it appears there is one.

The behaviour of the current administration of the Wildrose Party is getting to the point of offensively absurd. They seem almost obsessed with stretching or outright breaking the rules of the party constitution whenever possible until they are called on it. The Wildrose Party constitution is right there on the party website for all to see and read so I can only assume that these contraventions of the document have been purposeful.

Since last spring’s election the party’s Executive Committee (they are directly responsible for such things), has appeared to have twisted and squirmed in every possible way to avoid facing and dealing with a large general gathering of the party’s membership.

Step by painful step we have had to pull information and action from the party’s Executive Committee from staying within the legally defined perameters of meeting here, to finding out the  where and when of the AGM here, to exposure of a gross breach of the party constitution here (which was grudgingly rectified after public embarrassment).

Despite all of the above actions being exposed, it seems that the party still can’t resist the compulsion to ignore the party constitution. We are now seeing this in the party’s reluctance to follow the rather clearly laid out guidelines of notice to members for meetings and executive elections in the constitution.

The constitution can be found in full here.

The Wildrose Party Constitution is not a document full of suggestions that can be cherry-picked from at will. The constitution is a critical document that ensures that the party remains uncorrupted and exists solely for the benefit of the membership and Albertans. The document lays out the rules for virtually every party action and operation and there is a reason for every one of those rules within the constitution.

Even if one feels that some elements of the constitution are wrong, it does not matter. The party is obligated to operate and comply fully with the constitution as it is. Only through a general meeting of the membership can we change the constitution and thanks to the bungling of the current party administration on AGM time-lines we can’t change anything in the constitution or party policies at this year’s AGM.

Despite simple guidelines and time cutoffs, it appears that the Party has been lapse in sending proper and full notice to the membership on some elements of the AGM. I will quote the portion that the party appears to have difficulty with below.


At least sixty (60) days written notice of the holding of any General Meeting shall be sent to all members of the Party who have been members in good standing of the Party for at least fourteen (14) days before the date of such notice. Notice may be given by post or it may consist of transmitting the information of such notice by using appropriate telephonic and or electronic mail to the member’s appropriate information of record and simultaneously posting the information on the Party’s website.
Not less than ninety (90) days prior to any Annual General Meeting of the Party, the Executive Committee shall create the Nominating Committee, consisting of three (3) members. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate candidates for the officer positions to be filled at the Annual General Meeting. Candidates for officer positions and all officers must be members in good standing of the Party. The Nominating Committee shall report to the Executive Committee prior to the notice of the Annual General Meeting being sent to all members, and such report shall be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting. Nominations may also be made by any member up to sixty-five (65) days prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting, and such nominations shall also be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting.

Now yes it may appear that I am being anal here but these rules of notice are important.

While the constitution does say that telephonic and electronic notice can be given, not every member has email and the demon-dial that I got about the AGM (past the 60 day cutoff) certainly did not read off the report of the nominating committee or list all of the names running for positions.

A large element of our party consists of senior citizens and many simply have not embraced email and the internet. As of right now, none of those members have any way to see who is running for what positions for the Executive Committee. This gives quite an edge to incumbent members of the EC who already have some profile within the party.

From what we have heard, no letter has been sent by the party yet. I certainly have not seen one in my mailbox. It could indeed be the case that the letter was sent on Monday morning within the guidelines and nobody has seen it yet but we have seen no evidence that this is the case yet.

Why does the current administration struggle so much when it comes to obligated communications with the members? Do they understand just who the hell they are supposed to serve?

If the party can put a letter into my mailbox begging for donations every month, why the hell can’t they get a simple notice and report to members within constitutional deadlines?

Few things better demonstrate the efforts to keep the members in the dark about who is running for executive positions than the meeting agenda on the party website. Only 30 minutes have been set aside for speeches from 43 candidates for the executive.

Taking into consideration the time to walk to the podium and back I figure we may be able to hear 30 seconds from every candidate running for executive positions. They will hardly have time to say more than their name, place of birth and place of residence. Is that enough to determine who to vote for?

I know that speeches from 43 people can get tedious and I certainly don’t propose that we give them all ten minutes each. At this AGM though we really only have two mandatory matters of business that have to be addressed and that is the presentation of the party financials and the election of the executive committee. One would think that in light of that something more than 30 minutes of the weekend could be dedicated to the election.

Campaigning prior to the AGM will be critical for all of the candidates but they will never be able to reach all attendees. Many people only attend the one day and they make their decisions based on the speeches of the candidates.

Every week we see more and more indication that the current party administration is either incompetent or is willfully trying to keep member participation to a minimum within the party. Neither of those circumstances are acceptable and I strongly suggest that we clean house and elect an active and principled Executive Committee this November who respects the party constitution and the membership.

To candidates running for executive positions, I suggest that you get on the party’s case to extend the time dedicated to executive elections at this year’s AGM. They have made it clear that they only act in a reactionary manner and only when under great pressure.

Is it really that hard to simply follow the party constitution?

Apparently for the powers that be within the Wildrose Party administration the constitution provides only loose guidelines rather than hard time-lines as I had thought it had.

As with most things lately, it appears that the Wildrose Party will only release the critical information that they are constitutionally obliged to release with constant pressure and they will do so kicking and screaming.

Jane covers it here:


Portrait of a left-wing mind.

Hat tip to John Westerberg for sending me this gem. The mindset of your average dipper makes sense in light of this pic.

Aside from a short picture post, have added a few more updates to the list of Wildrose Party Executive Committee nomination candidates for the 2012y Annual General Meeting in Edmonton. Will keep filling out that list as updates and bios come in.


OMG! OMG! Oh Noooes!! Danielle Smith is going to sell our water!!

One of the laziest yet most common fearmongering tactics that come from the shallow-left is to raise the boogyman of the USA coming up to take Canada’s water somehow.

In finding nothing else to really be critical about with Danielle Smith’s trip to the USA, union activist blogger David Climenhaga decided to clip out a part of Smith’s release where she dared utter the word “water”. Climenhaga then had to add emphasis and speak of how it makes his blood run cold as quoted below.

David Climenhaga:

This led Ms. Smith, whom the party news release was also careful to note leads Alberta’s “government in waiting,” to enthuse: “This is an important opportunity to represent Alberta and discuss three major areas of bilateral interaction: energy, agriculture and water. These issues are critical for Alberta’s future and are an important part in building relationships with our American friends.” (Emphasis added.)

I don’t know about you, but it makes my blood run cold when I hear a committed market fundamentalist like Ms. Smith musing about the need to chat about water with our American cousins.

To put it simply, what a load of crap. There is nothing to fear nor not even a hint of something to make one’s “blood run cold”.

To begin with, water is already a commodity. Companies pay to bottle it and sell it to us whether pure or mixed with food and chemical products. Water is purchased to use in irrigation by farms and it is purchased to use in energy extraction. Laundromats purchase water and cities sell me metered water to water my lawn. The best means we have in responsible utilization of our water is in fact to treat it as a commodity. I didn’t buy low flow toilets because I like the weak sound of the flush, I did it to save myself money. As long as treated and transported water are commodities, the end user will be motivated to limit the use of that water to their needs. I am saying this now before the Council of Canadian Kooks start barking about it being evil to sell water. It is a non-issue. We already do so and we always will.

There is an awesome little writing tool we all have heard of called “W5”. Whether in an essay or even writing a community flier, as long as you cover the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “why” of something, you pretty much have it covered.

There is something that the w5 rule does not cover though and through utilizing it’s omission the lazy-left fearmongers about a looming crisis with bulk sales of our precious fresh water to the United States that will leave no water here for us. The word that the left refuses to address is:


 Back in 2008 I wrote about this on another forum so rather than rewrite I may as well just paste it here verbatim. As I say in the beginning of the piece, this non-issue keeps coming up over and over again and Climenhaga has demonstrated that. There is no need to change the response.

What I wrote in Project Alberta in April 2008:

I get so tired of this issue coming up year after year whether through groups like the Council of Canadians or lately the Polaris Institute with their report here:  http://www.polarisinstitute.org/files/t … ada’s%20ta.pdf

It was refreshing to hear Rob Breakenridge on QR77 take the author of the Polaris report to task and expose him rather well on the bunk that he is pushing. Tony Clarke with the Polaris Institute was constantly stuttering and dodging as Breckenridge challenged him with the most effective tactic available in the countering of anti-trade, leftist, fearmongering; he used facts.

Clarke began by asserting the constant myth about how Canada would be compelled to sell it’s water in bulk due to conditions in NAFTA. Unlike many who Clarke has spewed at, Breakenridge had done his homework and actually read the agreement. NAFTA expressly states that water (aside from bottled and tanked water) is not to be considered a trade-good under the agreement. If anything, NAFTA actually protects us from the mythical draining of the nation by the United States. Clark stuttered, had no case to make and eventually mumbled about having to agree to disagree on the interpretation. (it is difficult to have many interpretations of such a clear statement)

Next Clarke rambled about how the USA could just ignore agreements anyway and force trade as they have done many times before.    Breakenridge challenged him to name one single such case. Clarke sidetracked and kept rambling but Breakenridge continued to push. Clarke finally had to shamefully admit there was no such case.

This Tony Clarke is a classic example of those who continue to push this myth about the threat to Canada’s fresh water supplies. These people have an agenda of anti-American and anti-trade goals and they will not hesitate to fabricate issues in order to make their case. This “ends justifies the means” ideal is rather prevalent on the left particularly in trade and environmental issues where actual facts would undercut their entire case. Sadly, these people are not exposed to the light of reality as Breakenridge did so masterfully often enough.

Getting back to the Polaris Institute report, the document begins with a map of Canada with a depiction of a tap on it draining our water into the USA. Very cute depiction and gives a nice visual. Going farther down in the document, we see a nice picture of some dry cracked dirt. You know, the kind of thing that we see in our back yard if we forget to water during a dry couple weeks in August.  Through pictures we can now already see the terrifying prospect of the desertification of Canada through the mass draining of our fresh water into the United States. A terrifying thought indeed.

To begin with, they begin to lay out how this threat has existed for decades and trot out the tired old “Grand Canal” concept of the 60s. They forget to mention that the reason this Grand Canal has never even had ground broken on it is that it is and always has been an unviable pie-in-the-sky project that never could realistically come into being. What bringing this up does illustrate though is that the anti-trade folks can’t find any better examples of bulk threats to Canada’s water (perhaps because there are none).

Next they move on to pointing out some stats and facts about how many American cities and regions are facing shortages of fresh water supplies. This is true and urban populations throughout the world are facing this as their population grows. Rather than dedicate time to the issue of more responsible water management in urban settings though, these people have preferred to use this issue to imply that their is a growing threat to Canada’s water due to this.

Next, they move on to Canada’s water supplies and call us “the Great Green Sponge of the North”. Now they play some interesting stat games here in which they try to understate just how much water we have. In their rather creative accounting they determine that the United States actually has more renewable water resources than Canada. While their goal here was to portray Canada as being short on fresh water, does this not beg the question “In this case, is Canada’s demand not a threat to American supplies?”. Apparently the USA has more but I guess they are coming after ours due to simple greed.

Next, we have a picture of a reservoir next to a desert. Kinda cute, but it really means nothing. Water retention in arid regions has been done since prior to Roman times.

The report now moves on to one of their weakest points. The logistics of how this water will be transported.  This I have to post verbatim as it is simply too loony to be believed.

Western Corridor: Originally, the North American Water and Power Alliance [NAWAPA] was designed to bring bulk water from Alaska and northern British Columbia for delivery to 35 U.S. States. By building a series of large dams, the northward flow of the Yukon, Peace, Liard and a host of other rivers would be reversed to move southward and pumped into the Rocky Mountain Trench where the water would be trapped in a giant reservoir and then pumped through a canal transporting the water southward into Washington state and 34 other states.

Good heavens! A trench 1000s of kilometers long is going to be created and will drain the Great White North!!!!
Now lets get a little perspective here. One of the largest water diversion projects undertaken by man was the Panama Canal. This project took decades and the participation of multiple nations. 27,500 workers died in the construction.

What is the length of the Panama Canal? A total of 77km. The canal itself moves about as much water as the Bow river in Calgary (a tiny river in the scheme of things).

Now in light of that, try to picture what exactly it would take to move mass quanties of water more than 3000 km from the North to the USA. This means crossing numerous mountain ranges in the Rockies and somehow crossing all those pesky (and giant) river valleys along the way that would try to drain all that water back into the Pacific. This concept would take 1000s of times the resources of the Panama Canal if indeed it is even humanly possible.

We will have colonized Venus before such a project comes about. Despite this, kooky groups like this have no qualms about spreading such scenarios in hopes of spreading fears of the big bad USA. Even more sad is watching our mainstream media treat these guys like they have even a shred of credibility.

So, the crazy canal idea is out, what else have they got?

Ahh, I see they mention how a series of supertankers may drain water and take it south.   Just how many millions of supertankers would we have to line up at the mouth of the Fraser River just to capture and take what naturally comes out of there and flows into the Pacific Ocean? How many billions of tankers to cover all of the Canadian outlets to the Oceans? Why… this project could very well employ the entire planet by having them work on supertankers alone.

Next they touch briefly on pipelines. I suspect that they remain brief as even these folks realize that any massive pipeline constructed that would move a significant amount of water is really rather unviable. The Alliance Pipeline that transfers gas from NE BC costed billions and took years to build. Even if the trillion or so it would take to add the compression and pumping capability to that pipe in order to get it to move water that huge distance were invested, the pipeline would only move about the same volume of water as a small creek. It would take thousands of such pipes hundreds of years to drain even one of our smaller northern lakes dry and we would long have run out of the energy sources we would need in order to pump that water before we ran out of water.

The kooky ideas go on and on from multiple groups claiming everything from towing portions of the polar ice-cap south to large undersea bladders.

There is a very good reason that none of these projects have come about or are even in the works; water is tough to move in bulk. Water does not compress like gas. Water is heavy. While water is indeed a precious commodity, it still is not worth nearly enough per-gallon to try and move on the scales proposed.

The basis of the entire water fearmongering case is this; American cities are low on water (and some agricultural land), thus the Americans will force us to give them ours. The first part is fact, the second part is sheer baloney.

Desalination is an expensive process that makes for rather gross drinking water. That being said, desalinization is growing in leaps and bounds as the cost of the process is dropping and strides are being made in viable short-transfer of water processed this way. New plants are being built and water shortages down south are being addressed through it.

North America is indeed bounded by oceans on all sides. While desalinization remains expensive, it still costs a fraction of a fraction of the amount that would be required in order to come up with any of the loony water extraction schemes taking water from Canada and moving it to the USA. A person really has to ask themselves: “Why would the Americans spend 1000s of times the amount, plus pay Canada (or steal it ) in order to do what they can for far less on any of their coastlines?” The answer simply is that they will not.

Where is the demand for this water? Why do we not see companies lining up for the chance to extract and sell this precious part of life?
I do not want to see water export bans. We may indeed get fortunate enough to find some client crazy enough to purchase water from one of our river outlets to the ocean (unlikely as it is). It would be a great form of revenue for the nation all the same. I suspect though that these potential client-countries would probably just retain their own water before it hits their own coastline.

While this is a non-issue as I said, I still felt compelled to post this rather long rant addressing it. Sadly while being a non-issue, this issue does indeed gain some traction with many people who like to get scared by the headlines without looking more deeply into the story. This issue is being used to foster anti-Americanism by the leftist groups that thrive on that and people’s fears from this may impact trade-agreements on real commodities.

The fear of the loss of Canada’s fresh water can cost us all in itself and this myth needs to be countered vigorously whenever it pops up. Facts turn this issue into the non-starter that it is, but these facts need to be brought up and discussed often.

Real water issues such as pollution and urban over consumption need to be addressed. These can often end up sidelined as people jump on the fearful hysteria bandwagon being created by the anti-trade groups. This should not happen.

This report from the Polaris Institute was issued in collaboration with: The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, the Sierra Club and the Canadian Labor Congress.

I think the list of supporters kind of says it all.