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 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.