Saturday, February 20, 2010

Take your constitution and "shove it".

That is basically what the board of the Alberta Party have told their members. As reported in today's Calgary Herald. The Alberta Party, has thrown out its policy book to embrace a new centrist political group.

From the Alberta Party Constitution:

ARTICLE 8: ASSEMBLIES (MEETINGS OF THE PARTY)
(g) Resolutions at a Party Assembly, unless otherwise in the Constitution provided, shall require a majority of the votes cast to be carried (herein called a “Majority Vote”). A resolution establishing or amending Party policy or objectives to be carried must receive not only a majority of the votes cast but bust also receive a majority vote of the delegates from a majority of the recognized Constituency Associations.

The AP held their last AGM in October 2009 and I can confirm there was no motion to "remove all policies". Nor has there been any "assembly" of the members since then.

So who exactly are the individuals that decided they could reign supreme over a duly registered constitutuion? The board elected in October consisted of:

Name / Twitter
Irene Burd
Edwin Erickson @edwinferickson
Connie Jensen @cjensen48
Midge Lambert @midge_l
Robert Leddy
Charles Relland
Walter Sandusky
Fred Schorning
Howard Thompson
Kathryn Upton
Ron Upton
Ashley Valberg @linoleumbob
Bob White
Elaine Young

At the October AGM the party reported having 99 members. It was then they also decided to call a leadership race. As we know now, Edwin Erickson was the only one to put his name forward and by all reports was "acclaimed" the Leader.

Ironically, it was Edwin, who at that meeting made the following motion;
"....moves that the new board strike a committee to organize a policy convention to be held at an appropriate time."

So it appears the no such committee has been struck and of course no policy assembly date set. It would seem Edwin now feels it is quite alright to override the party policy and even motions he, himself proposed.

My brief entry yesterday sparked a few phone calls and I can now confirm that not only were members not aware of the flushing of the policies; at least one board member was also caught off guard.
Which casts a pretty dark cloud on Erickson's statement: "Unanimously our Board has decided to suspend our old policies...."

This whole mess actually doesn't seem to stop of flushing the policies. This quote from Chima Nkemdirim;  "The party has a “statement of principles” in place (www.renewalberta.ca) that serves as the bedrock of the party."

The Alberta Party already has their principles embedded in their constitution, but if we are to believe this statement it would appear the board has also altered the Constitution without the required member input and vote.

Nkemdirim goes on to say;
"The nuts and bolts of policy, however, will come from the membership."
REALLY??? And what exactly is that worth if the board thinks they can just throw them out the window whenever the feeling strikes them?

9 comments:

  1. You are the executive director of the Wildrose Party and former CFO of the Alberta Alliance. You were also a member of the Alberta party. How many fringe right wing groups have you been a part of?

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  2. I have never been a member of the Alberta Party. If you had read my prior post you would have noted; "I attended the Alberta Party AGM in October as an observer".

    Yes, I was the CFO for the Alberta Alliance, which became the Wildrose Alliance. This is the only party I have been a member of since 2005.

    And just to set the record straight, I am not the Executive Director of the Wildrose Alliance.

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  3. Dear Jane,

    I remember you being at the October (I think) meeting in Red Deer along with Jeff Willerton (apologies if spelling is wrong) and a few others who seemed to have a renewed interest in the Alberta Party.

    I felt very strongly after talking with Mr. Willerton that he had some interest in potentially seeking the leadership of the party. I felt at that time, that if he did and if he succeeded the far right of your party might have followed him into the Alberta Party and left the WRA a much more potentially centrist path.

    As I was also at that meeting and one subsequent one in January, I can attest to a great interest in change... in a vast majority of members looking to the future with an open mind. The commonality that held those people together was a belief that Albertans do not now have a option to participate in our own democracy.

    Your party presented that to Albertans and have really shaken this province up (thanks for that). However, there are others of us who balk at many aspects in your party and though we respect what you've done, we do not want to be part of it. We needed an avenue to participate that was not the one you offer.

    From what I understand, directors of the AP met on more than one occasion with Renew People and that is when the decisions were made to join together on the common ground that they had.

    As only a simple member of the Alberta Party, I do not profess to know the details of the exec. committee meetings, so I cannot attest to how it was established that current policy be suspended, however, I believe that happened at an exec meeting in central Alberta in early February and all members AT THAT MEETING voted in favour (hence, perhaps, Mr. Erickson's use of the word unanimous).

    I would inform other readers of your blog that the policy was rudimentary at best and the suspension of it does not mean that it will be dismissed. After consultation with Albertans who are looking to the centre, parts of the original policy will be brought back if they are found relevant to the new direction of the AP.

    As a member of the party, and someone who wanted to move the party into a position of relevance, I was hoping to move to the center and am happy and excited with the new developments.

    Your post intimates some sort of sculduggery, yet I don't believe that is fair. Members of every party are sometimes surprised at the turns and twists that happen in executive committees. Such a big change as the one that has happened, will obviously not be supported by 100% of the membership (of 99). After finding out more about the move, I hope most of those who did not support it on first blush decide it places their voices further ahead in the public debate. If there are one or two others who cannot come to grips with the changes, they will leave the party. That is their right... as it is any member of any political party.

    My guess is that while we may lose one or two members (99 becomes 97), membership in this party will grow many times in the next year or two (95 vs 8,000 perhaps). The proof will be in the pudding.

    I totally understand your attempts to find fault with this new initiative. It would have been far more expedient for the WRA to find a nice place to park Mr. Willerton and his supporters. Better plan for you... not so good for Albertans looking for a centrist party where they can contribute their ideas.

    Best regards.

    Will

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  4. What is your affiliation with WAP then? To set the record straight....

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  5. Hi Will,

    As I mention in today's post, I do wish them well and am all for more choices for Albertans.

    The main issue I have is the disregard for the constitution. Do I think it is sculduggery? No or at least I certainly hope not. It is probably more a case of naivety.

    BTW my attendance at the AGM was as an observer from another political party; not any sense of renewed interest.

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  6. To Anon,

    I am a member of the WAP.

    I do believe I already stated that in my previous response to you.

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  7. If by member you mean former Executive Director of the WAP, then alright. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  8. Anon,

    Actually I menat member AS IN;

    I have paid my membership fee (like over 13,000 other people). Period.

    What is your big hang up on the previous positions I have held with the party?

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  9. Berry Farmer is Will Munsey. He is part of a clique, including Connie Jensen (who once lived with Edwin Erickson), Edwin Erickson and Midge Lambert (and Joe Anglin) who took over the Alberta Greens in late 2008 and convincingly destroyed it by July 2009 (it didn't file it's annual report in March 2009). Elaine Young is also close to this group.

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