Calgary Foothills by-election will be an exciting one and critical for all parties

I should begin with explaining my two month hiatus from blogging and take advantage of the chance to plug my latest venture. Shortly after last spring’s exhausting general election, my wife Jane and I decided to treat our exhaustion with the purchase of a pub and coffee shop in Priddis. With six weeks of planning and renovations we managed to crack the doors of the pub two weeks ago and the coffee shop just last weekend. This of course has taken up nearly every minute of our time in this last couple months. We were never under any illusion that this would be some kind of easy money. So far things are going great.

Info on both can be found on the facebook page. Our main website is still under development. https://www.facebook.com/WatersEdgePub

janesNow, on to the by-election in Foothills.

The NDP will be putting everything they have into the race in order to prove that their election as government was not the accidental consequence of an electorate lashing back at the corrupted and entitled Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. The Wildrose Party will be throwing everything they have into the race in order to prove that they are more than a rural party and that they are indeed the government in waiting. The remnants of the Progressive Conservative Party will be throwing what little they have into the race in desperate hopes that they can regain relevance in the eyes of the voters. The Alberta Party will put all they have into the race in hopes of proving that they are more than a one seat show. That will be tough as the hipster density in Northwest Calgary is far lower than that of Calgary Elbow.

Staying true to principle, the Wildrose Party is holding an open nomination race for Foothills. Nomination races are always challenging as all the contenders are on the same team and the races can become internally divisive if a party is not careful. These races are critical in letting members directly choose who will represent them in the legislature too. The ongoing gross abuse of nomination races by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta was a large contributing factor in the collapse of their member support.

The Wildrose has two excellently qualified contenders for the nomination in Foothills and a third fellow who I admittedly don’t know much about.  Those people are Kathy McDonald, Prasad Panda and Dr. John Huang.

I won’t say much on Dr. Huang as I can’t find much information about him.

Much like last spring’s general election, this by-election will be based on principles and trust more than ideology. Both Prasad Panda and Kathy McDonald proved their principles and loyalty in their remaining loyal to and putting their all into the Wildrose Party after the Idiotic Eleven crossed the floor which led to their well deserved and mass unemployment. That dogged and determined loyalty is essential in gaining the trust and faith of the members.

When looking at the two contenders though I have to solidly endorse Prasad Panda.

Residency is important for representation. While MLAs can effectively serve without living in their constituency, they do connect best with their constituents if they actually live in the constituency. Panda has been a resident of Foothills for a long time. In a tight race, the electoral viability of the candidate is important and that edge of being local will certainly help.

The most important reason to get Prasad Panda into the legislature though is that we need some strength in there for the energy sector. With Notley’s appointment of a totally unqualified Energy Minister who is aided by an anti-energy activist as her Chief of Staff, the energy industry in Alberta is reeling. Alberta has had to rely on Premier Brad Wall to stand up for our interests while Notley tries to give veto power over Alberta’s energy development to Quebec. Alberta is in a terrifying spot under the Notley regime and we need qualified and wise voices to speak to our industry needs in the legislature.

With over 25 years as an engineer in Alberta’s energy industry, Prasad Panda is excellently qualified to address issues in the industry and to add a much needed voice of reason to our legislature on these issues. If we continue to allow Notley to run unchecked over our energy industry in these next few years the consequences will be dire for the entire province.

I strongly encourage the Wildrose Party Calgary Foothills members to vote for Prasad Panda to represent them in the nomination. Having worked with Prasad in two election campaigns, I truly can’t think of a more principled and dedicated candidate. Many a night I had to chase him from the campaign headquarters at 1am as he would not give up. He will put everything he has into representing the constituents who elect him. Truly the only fault I can attribute to Prasad is that he can be prone to overworking himself.

prasadMore info on Prasad can be found here: http://www.prasadpanda.ca/  Drop him a note. Prasad is always happy to directly interact.

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Party members get the final word (along with the electorate).

Voters in Alberta in general have been used and abused by our provincial government for quite some time now. Few have been democratically abused more though than the party members of the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party (pre-crossing) in the last 12 months.

The very essence of the party system is to facilitate organization and election of like minded people to office. At the core of this system is the nomination system where members will campaign and choose who will represent them in elections. This of course is the very area where the unprincipled in politics (alas there are many of them) choose to meddle the most.

The Wildrose Party under Danielle Smith’s leadership and with Rob Anderson’s constant interference was brutal in their efforts to manipulate nominations. Members in constituencies around the province were getting increasingly infuriated with the delay of nominations and arm twisting of potential candidates as they sought to get their chosen ones in. It is this sort of thing that led to member blowback against Danielle Smith and was a contributing factor to her callow departure from the leadership of the party.

andersonAnderson and Smith were truly delusional and lost in their own bubbles in thinking that the party membership would follow them when they organized their brutal act of treachery and joined the Prentice Progressive Conservatives.

The membership of the Wildrose Party was actually renewed and emboldened by the departure of Smith and her compatriots. While it hurt the party in the short term, the core is stronger and more dedicated than ever as the worst of it’s unprincipled members are now no longer with it.

Rob Anderson was the first to recognize that he was politically finished and he figured it out in rather short order. Having screwed the membership and supporters in Airdrie from both parties in two different floor crossings, Rob Anderson found himself utterly alone and despised by the membership in both the Progressive Conservatives and the Wildrose Party. Knowing he was politically finished, Anderson scurried off into the sunset to try and work on a new and less public career. Jason Hale and Bruce Rowe quietly fled the mess of their own making soon afterwards.

Danielle Smith maintained her delusion right up until the Progressive Conservative members got the chance to kick her out of office which they eagerly and overwhelmingly did. Smith’s treachery and abuse of the members who supported her led to the utter end of what had appeared to be one of the most promising political careers in Canada. Word is that Smith didn’t even attend the first Progressive Conservative constituency association meeting in person after having crossed the floor. Had she a clue how powerful the members are and how enraged they could be, perhaps she could have salvaged the nomination (though I doubt it). Smith will now fade into well earned obscurity as an odd footnote in Alberta political history.

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When livid party members tossed floor crossers Gary Bikman and Rod Fox out on their self-serving asses in nomination races along with Smith, Prentice panicked. It was clear that there was no way that Bruce McAllister was going to survive an open nomination race. The PC party jumped in and disqualified party loyalist Jamie Lall in hopes of maintaining at least one of their floor crossing trophies of prominence.

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A rightly enraged and motivated Lall entered the race for Chestermere-Rocky View as an independent candidate along with his considerable local support down there. The Progressive Conservative constituency association is now in utter disarray as the President and other board members resigned in disgust with the party actions under the guidance of Prentice.

With Lall pulling from the Progressive Conservative base and with most voters being repulsed by the actions of the floor-crossers, it is very likely that Bruce McAllister will be joining his unprincipled colleagues as a disgraced and unemployed political has-been on May the 5th.

Of the 9 MLAs who betrayed the membership of the party in December only perhaps a couple will still be employed a mere few months later. Perhaps none of them will make it through the election.

Will MLAs and party operatives learn from all of this? I doubt all of them will but I sure hope many of them will have learned a lesson here:

You can only fuck with the party membership for so long and so much before they lash back!

 

 

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It’s like pulling teeth.

In the last little while the Wildrose Party Executive Committee has reminded me of nothing less than the Stelmach PC party in their inept reactionary way of dealing with issues within the party. With multiple blog postings on this site, it has been exposed that the Executive Committee barely met five times in an election year, missed the window to hold an Annual General Meeting where policy and constitution could be revised by the membership and now are bungling the process of nominations for the Executive Committee to the point of violating our very party constitution.

Every time these issues are brought to light, the Executive Committee or others in positions of responsibility within the party have grumblingly and grudgingly addressed the problem. It is sad that it takes such pressure and scrutiny from social media and outside individuals to keep our current Executive Committee even marginally functional.

Now my far prettier and more sane half, Jane Morgan has gotten to work with her keyboard and phone to expose even more detail on the inept actions of the Wildrose Executive Committee under President Paul Collins and has excellently detailed her findings on her blog. While some slight effort was made by some to lay blame for the mess on the nominations committee, Jane exposed that the committee had not even met before and had no idea that the Wildrose Party had posted a constitutionally illegal application form for executive nomination forms on the party website. I of course invite you to click through above and read the details and updates from Jane yourself.

Again responsibility lies directly with the current executive committee. Did the whole committee approve of that document being drafted and put on the website? Who drafted it anyway? Did the VP communications approve that release? Did the President approve it?

Jane’s latest update has been that she is informed that a meeting will be held to discuss this issue and that she will be updated on it’s outcome soon.

I do hope that those at this apparent meeting realize that there is very little to discuss. The Wildrose Party Executive Committee either chooses to act within the Party constitution or it does not. There is no gray area here. You can’t act just a little outside of the rules you are bound by in this game.

With the waffling and the profound nature of this oversight (if indeed that is what this is), I strongly suggest that the membership of the Wildrose Party strongly consider voting to replace the entire current Executive Committee at this year’s Annual General Meeting in Edmonton. While I do know that many of the member’s of the Executive Committee are excellent individuals and while I know that a few have been privately communicating with myself and others to try and fix this mess, not a single one has been willing to break ranks openly and condemn this breach of the party constitution. Not a one will call out and demand that the party President publically fix this sooner rather than later as embarassment and even rumors of corruption spread.

The Executive Committee needs to be made up of a diverse group of committed individuals who will follow through with their assigned roles and who will speak up when things are wrong. Our currently Executive Committee is lacking on all of those fronts.

The party constitution is not a document full of suggestions for the Executive Committee to abide by. It is a document drafted by the members and controlled by the members for the protection of the rights of the members. Only through 2/3 of the collected members at a general meeting can that document be changed and this has not happened. The Executive Committee is bound by the party constitution no ifs ands or buts about it and they had better damn well realize that quick.

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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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Yes I am alive!!

I am indeed alive and well though it has been the better part of a year since my last posting.  It has indeed been quite a year politically. I won’t recap but the explosive growth and evolution of the Wildrose Alliance Party has been exciting and has kept me quite busy as a provincial board member.

 I have recently resigned from the provincial board of the party as I am now pursuing the nomination for Calgary North Hill (to be renamed Klein). Yes, the PCs have actually renamed a Calgary constituency after Ralph Klein in hopes of rekindling feelings of better days within the electorate. I suspect that this strategy like so many others made by Alberta’s Progressive Conservatives will fail dismally. I guess I should be happy that I am not living in Calgary Stelmach or Calgary Getty at least.

 Well, I am in campaign mode and should be back to blogging semi-regularly from here on in. A formal campaign website is in the works and the campaign organization in general is coming together. Today I went knocking to the membership to gain nomination signatures and it really was great seeing how engaged and enthusiastic our members are. The next election is going to be an exciting one indeed. It really does not matter which leader the tired old Progressive Conservatives choose this time; their days in government are clearly numbered.

 I look forward to documenting the campaign here and continuing to inspire/annoy/enlighten/inflame people with my rants which I expect will continue in their usual pattern of ranging from tongue in cheek to philosophical to deep to inane.

Campaign Like Pose

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