Good news and bad news.

The good news is that the Wildrose Party finally openly announced the location and time of the 2012 AGM.

Information may be found here and there is a great early-bird rate that I strongly suggest people take advantage of.

The bad news is that the powers that be seem to still have utterly no understanding of what is a grassroots based party or even what the constitutional obligations are as a party. The “application” form for executive nominations in the party is almost offensive in it’s tone and nature and in my view is in total conflict with the very constitution of the party.

I guess it is time to walk down the constitutional road and explain to some party staffers just how it bloody works.

Here is a link to the party constitution. I strongly recommend that it be read and even more strongly recommmend that it be abided by.

The constitution of a party is critical and while dry the importance of the constitution simply can’t be understated. The constitution is what ensures that the party exists to serve the members and Albertans as opposed to the self-interest of small groups. That is why self-interested small groups constantly try to whittle away at member-empowering constitutions by the way.

To begin with the constitution clearly states where the authority of the party lies in section 5.1:

“5.1 The governance of the Party shall reflect the following principles:

5.1.1 Authority within the Party resides in its members.

5.1.2 The Leader and Executive Committee are accountable to members of the Party and the Caucus.

5.1.3 The Caucus is accountable to the Party and to their constituents.”

¬†Now it is clearly established that authority within the party resides in it’s members.

The way the members can exercise that authority is through the direct nomination and election of the Executive Committee of the party. That is why AGMs are so important and it is why top-down sorts put off AGMs as much as possible.

The qualifications for running for an executive position within the Wildrose Party are very basic as the party has a grassroots constitution and wants to keep the positions open to as many applicants (to the membership) as possible. They are as such:

“7.2 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.”

The only limitation on running for an executive position within the Wildrose Party is that a candidate be a member in good standing with the party. Nothing more nor should there be. Aside from that it is up to the collected membership to decide who best will serve in those roles.

Now here is where the horsecrap from the party begins. On the party website is a link to an application form for executive positions.  This is a very deep and intensive application form and it demands right in the beginning that it be filled out completely. Sorry folks, the party is in no place to make such demands. As per the constitution the applicant only needs to demonstrate that they are a member in good standing of the party.

Now at the bottom of the form it demands that applicants sign off their party rights to the nominating committee (whoever they are) who may refuse the application for any reason that they may see fit. Sorry folks but that is simply horseshit on many levels.

“1. Acknowledge and agree that the AGM Nominating Committee has the authority to disallow my candidacy on any grounds it sees fit, and whose decision shall be final and binding and not further appealed or challenged.”

So candidates are expected to sign off authority to an un-named and appointed committee who may reject their application for any reason that fits their fancy. Think about that.

If this application is to be believed, authority within the party rests with an appointed committee as opposed to the membership as the constitution states.

This is utterly unacceptable and in my view possibly even actionable.

Look, I understand that grassroots politics can and will be messy. I know that some wingnuts will apply for executive positions. Trust has to be placed in the collected membership to choose the best person at the AGM!

The application form states that this information will aid the committee in vetting candidates. Lets be clear here, the committee has utterly no authority to vett candidates aside from ensuring that they are members in good standing of the party!

At the last AGM the committee not only vetted, it openly endorsed candidates!

I have documented at length on how the last provincial executive could barely even meet by teleconference five times in an election year. Considering that many on that board were acclaimed by the committee and endorsed by them, I would say they do a pretty piss poor job of vetting and endorsing anyway.

The purpose of the nominating committee is simply to ensure that all roles have applicants and that all are members in good standing. Nothing more!

Wildrose members! Speak up! Call the office at: 1.888.262.1888 (though while there is an army of staff they rarely answer).

Call your CA President and call Danielle Smith. Call Paul Collins if you can find him.

If we let go of control as members, than the whole exercise as a grassroots party has been pointless.



8 thoughts on “Good news and bad news.

  1. Yes this application is 100% wrong and its sounds like Stalin in charge really. I am not surprised though to be honest! This is an application similar to running as a canidate.

  2. Cory,
    What do you propose we do?
    Attend the AGM obviously, but once there, within a very short and time Agenda timeframe, how do we go about reversing the direction the party is going. At this rate we’re simply a conservative thinking branch of the Progressives. To attain the power many of our executive see as being the sole mandate of the party, we might as well have our MLAs cross back over the floor and join the Progressives, since it appears that the “grass” is being trodden down.

  3. Well Dan, yes attending alone is simply not enough. Voting for executive members who respect and intend to maintain the grassroots basis that we were founded upon is the next step. Time is indeed short but I know at least a few good people will be pursuing executive positions at this coming AGM. I am sure who they are will become evident once nominations close and campaigning begins.

    If you are seeking to run or know of others who would be good in executive spots, I suggest getting their names in. The more the better.

    One thing I will say with confidence, we need to root out the incumbant board. It has been pretty much dysfunctional since it got in and not a one of them has stood up or spoken out about these kinds of problems yet.

  4. Yes, this sounds exactly like the Application for Candidacy. Yes, the Executive has assumed too much power. Yes, this does not appear to be any different then the PCs of whom they constantly point fingers at… Smaller version of “the old boys club” is what I see (lady members notwithstanding).

  5. I think the standard view of a Nominating Committee is correctly reflected by Wikipedia:

    “The intention is that they [the Nominating Committee] be made up of qualified and knowledgeable people representing the best interests of the membership.”

    This places a huge importance one the qualifications and character of the members of the Committee. Members cannot determine the ability of a candidate based on a short speech with no debates and no questions permitted. Members, sometimes unfortunately, rely on the integrity and diligence of the Nominating Committee in ferreting out the most suitable candidates.

    This leads to the question of how the members of the Nominating Committee chosen and under what principles are they required to operate. That should be stated clearly in the constitution.

  6. Well Rob, from what has been found so far it sounds like the people selected to be on the nominating committee are of good reputation and high in principle as it should be. It took a great deal of prodding to find out just who they were though and no details on the process. The lack of transparency in an area where no secrecy should be required is discomforting.

    It has been found that the nominating committee has not met yet either despite the deadline for applications being quite soon. The committee had no knowledge of or input on the offending document that is contrary to the constitution.

    To put it in short, the EC has bungled what should have been a simple process. I hope we can learn from this and avoid it in the future.

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