Thursday, February 25, 2010

More food for thought

An anonymous commenter has brought up the question of the validity of the Leadership of the Alberta Party.

After reading the real constitution of the Alberta Party, they left a comment in this post.

Reading those pages I dont see any reference to a leader.

An interesting observation.


Edwin Erickson (the Leader of the Alberta Party) and I have tweeted to one another this morning and I have asked him his thought on my earlier entry, but no response so far.

Edwin Erickson a little infatuated perhaps?

At around 10:30 PM (yesterday now) I noticed a new member on Twitter, WAPwatch. At first I thought it might be my old internet friend resurrected. But alas, it is not. My old nemesis would have been a little bit smarter and I would not have been able to figure out the real identity so quickly.


Here are two screen shots taken at the same time. You will see the first posts of WAPwatch. (made at 8:23 PM. according to Tweetdeck)




And here you will see his followers. (Note: I have blocked out the other follower from the screenshot at their request, as they are no longer following)



You will note that the first follower, Edwin Erickson started following WAPwatch a full four hours before the first tweet. Before even one Tweet with any hash tags was posted.  The only way he could have known about the account and started following it before any tweets, was if he (or a cohort) created it.

Since then Edwin Erickson, I mean WAPwatch has been going through all of my followers and has started to follow them.



I suspect by morning WAPwatch will also be following everyone I am following.  Interesting that he chose pink for a background color. Presumably to lead one to believe it was a woman. Or maybe Edwin really does like pink.

Editted to add:
Joanne points out in the comments that this timestamp is of his last Tweet. And I stand corrected; I took it to be the follow time. Nonetheless, clearly he was the first on the bandwagon of this unusual twitter'er. I see this morning the following list is a mirror image of those following me.

Edited to add:
You will no longer find me on his list as I have now blocked him. I recommend my family do the same.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Black Cloud Over the Alberta Party

In my last installment regarding the Alberta Party I outlined the three steps to rescinding or amending party bylaws under the Society Act. I dropped a couple of hints in that posting and I suspect they will have caused either the Alberta Party or the Renew Alberta group to do a bit of homework. As such the information in today’s entry should not come as a huge surprise to them.

I will preface this also with: This is not an unusual situation, in fact I have been through similar experiences with two other parties. As well I have heard that this once happened to the PC’s many years ago.

As a recap here are the three points in the Society Act regarding changing bylaws.

Rescission, etc. of bylaws

15
(1) The bylaws of a society shall not be rescinded, altered or added to except by special resolution of the society.
(2) No rescission or alteration of or addition to a bylaw has effect until it has been registered by the Registrar.
(3) If the Registrar is of the opinion that a bylaw is not in accordance with the application for incorporation or that it contains anything contrary to law, the Registrar shall refuse to register it.


When it came to #2 I wrote:

Hhmm, okay we’re going to have to presume they have filed the resolution with the Society’s Registrar and that brings us to the third requirement.

As everyone knows one should never presume or assume anything. So I went to my local registry office and requested the appropriate searches and received the documents. For now I am only going to post the relevant sections.

This first one is a summary of all the submissions to the Registrar since 1998.



You will see generally each year they have filed their Annual Return and Audited Financial Statement. These along with a list of current directors are the basic requirements to keeping the non-profit society active. You will note they filed changes to the directors on Oct. 4, 2008 and again on June 5, 2009. The most recent activity has been two change of address; Sept. 2 & Dec 2, 2009.

There are two things that really stand out as “missing” on this. The first is that we know they elected new board members at the Oct 2009 AGM. When I look at the list of directors, the new ones are not registered. (I won’t be posting that document as it has everyone’s home address on it.)

The second thing is there is no mention of Bylaws or Special Resolutions being submitted as required by the Act. To illustrate what it would look like here is a portion of the same report from the WAP.



I also received a copy of the bylaws on record with the Registrar, but they were dated August 1985. I thought surely there had been some update or amendment since then. I emailed the registry office and asked if there was a more recent copy of the bylaws, perhaps they missed sending me a couple of pages. (There were over 60 pages, so it was possible). This is their response.

No changes to the bylaws have been filled.

What does this mean you ask? Well, it means the Alberta Party is still operating under their original bylaws (constitution) they filed in 1985 and not the one they circulated at the 2009 AGM. (The one I have posted)

As we already know from 15(2) of the Society Act:


No rescission or alteration of or addition to a bylaw has effect until it has been registered by the Registrar

Unfortunately, it also means the October AGM was not valid. In the bylaws that are in effect the quorum requirement is as follows:



My head count at the meeting was 37. Of that 2 of us were observers and 2 were children of one of the members. In Charles' letter to me he says it was 40% of the membership. 40% would be 40 people. At the meeting they reported the total membership in good standing was 99. I am not going to split hairs over whether it was 33 or 40 people; the fact is it wasn’t the required 50 people.

With the meeting being invalid, it means any resolutions passed are also invalid. In order to get their desired resolutions past they will have to have a meeting of members and meet the quorum requirement as per the above. If their membership numbers are now up to 500, they will need to have 250 people at the meeting.

Then they will have to "actually" file the Special Resolutions and they become effective once the Registrar approves them. And as I mentioned in my previous entry; I highly doubt they will approve a resolution that contravenes the Society Act itself.

There might be one silver lining to this black cloud though. They don’t have any policies! The bylaws in effect don’t mention policies or even make reference to how they would be developed.

They do however have principles:


Looks like there might be a couple in there the Renew people could get behind.

I will be posting the full text of the bylaws, but will blank out the names of the original signators. If any member of the Alberta Party or the Renew Alberta group would like the full report (that I paid for LOL) from the registry search, I will gladly email it to you. You can find my email address in my blogger profile.

The REAL Constitution of the Alberta Party




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to my blog

Okay, it was actually yesterday that this blog turned 2, but I had other things on my mind. LOL

Though it has gone through some dry spells, overall it has been a great experience. It has allowed me to vent, share, instigate, laugh, interact and even make new friends; some cyber and some in real life.

My list (in the right panel >>>>>>) of blogs I enjoy has grown from the original five. Recent additions include: Alex Abboud, Chris LaBossiere, Alain Saffel, DJ Kelly and just today the Best Political Team.

It's been a blast. Thanks to all my readers, lurkers and commenters...even the Anon ones.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The devil's in the details

An online description of what “the devil's in the details” means:
Some people say that the devil's in the details when they examine a contract or agreement. Generally, the agreement looks reasonable at first glance, but a closer examination of the terms and small print reveals a problem. People who routinely sign such agreements usually learn to look them over very carefully, looking for the snag or issue which might ultimately make the deal untenable.

The saying crossed my mind as I pondered the response from the Alberta Party President, Mr. Charles Relland. He says the motion that was passed was this:

Whereas the Constitution can only really be applicable to our Party after we sustain some growth, to work in practice, (and the Party, since 2005 is trying to follow it in principle), we have to admit to ourselves that we have to concentrate on growth with our secondary objective [that] of making the Constitution workable…"
Okay, that part is just fluff, but I do totally agree with it.
And
“… That the Provincial Board may make any operational policy, between General Assemblies, to regulate the provincial affairs of the Party, including, but not limited to the bylaws and sections of the Party Constitution…"
This is the portion that apparently gave the Alberta Party board full power to change the constitution.

From what I have been able to garner they have changed the following things:

Article 1(b) which is the principles, has been removed entirely and replaced with the Renew Alberta principles.

Article 5 a) i) & ii) Which outlines qualifications for board members, has either been amended or eliminated altogether.

Article 5 m) which refers to only “vacant” board positions being eligible for “appointments” has, in all likelihood been removed.

Article 8: (g) which refers to how policy is established has presumably been changed to give the board full control of polices. Thus they have now been “suspended”.

Article 12 (b) which refers to the notice for calling for amendments to the constitution. This has likely been removed since that decision making process is now in the hands of the Alberta Party board.

I could on, but I think you get the idea and it is, IMO, Article 12 (CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS) that is the devil in the details.

The motion Charles indicates has “passed” has a huge impact on the intent of the entire document. And if the board has the power to change it; in theory it could change every time they meet.

Chris LaBossiere tells us:
“...they (the Alberta Party) also recognized that if they wanted to break out as a mainstream party, may have to make changes to their policies and constitution as required, and in between annual meetings. These changes could be made by the Board of Directors as seen fit, and then ratified at the next AGM”.
I will concede that I can see the application of this to policies. Things happen and a party needs to be able to respond. The constitution though, is quite a different matter.

Plus the board is proceeding as if they have been ratified? What if they are not ratified? Do they “undo” everything they have done in the meantime?

For clarity to readers, I have posted the latest copy of the Alberta Party Constitution that I could readily get my hands on.


In Alberta all political parties registered with Elections Alberta are also registered as a Society.

The Alberta Party is registered as a society under the name of “The Alberta Party Political Association”. Their society registry certificate # is 05033XXXXX. Due to this, they (like all parties), are governed by the Society’s Act.


This is what the Act has to say about changing the bylaws (constitution).
Rescission, etc. of bylaws
15(1) The bylaws of a society shall not be rescinded, altered or added to except by special resolution of the society.

Okay, so what’s a special resolution?

Definitions
1 In this Act,
(d) “special resolution” means
(i) a resolution passed
(A) at a general meeting of which not less than 21 days’ notice specifying the intention to propose the resolution has been duly given, and
(B) by the vote of not less than 75% of those members who, if entitled to do so, vote in person or by proxy,
(ii) a resolution proposed and passed as a special resolution at a general meeting of which less than 21 days notice has been given, if all the members entitled to attend and vote at the general meeting so agree, or
(iii) a resolution consented to in writing by all the members who would have been entitled at a general meeting to vote on the resolution
I believe they followed all the requirements of this (and their own constitution) leading up to their October 2009 AGM and passed the resolution Charles has provided.

So what’s next then?
Rescission, etc. of bylaws
15(2) No rescission or alteration of or addition to a bylaw has effect until it has been registered by the Registrar.

Hhmm, okay we’re going to have to presume they have filed the resolution with the Society’s Registrar and that brings us to the third requirement.

Rescission, etc. of bylaws
15(3) If the Registrar is of the opinion that a bylaw is not in accordance with the application for incorporation or that it contains anything contrary to law, the Registrar shall refuse to register it.

The reference to bylaws under the Application section is:
Application for incorporation(4) The bylaws that accompany the application shall contain provisions for all the following matters:
(h) the manner of making, altering and rescinding bylaws;

This is the part that really twists the brain. Because the resolution Charles has outlined (as required in (h) of application) would appear to be totally contradictory to section 15(1) of the Act and to the Acts’ definition of “special resolution”. (in green above)

His resolution gives full power to the board to basically do whatever they see fit to the constitution. A very top down and undemocratic scenario with zero input from members. In essence it removes the provision for “special resolutions” as defined by the Act.

The Society’s Act, on the other hand, would appear to protect the interests of members by keeping them involved in the process and sets out minimum requirements as to notice, methods, etc.

I find it a little difficult to believe the Registrar would accept a resolution that appears to run polar opposite to the Act itself.

Let me be very clear, I am not a lawyer; the above is purely an observation on my part. I simply enjoy exploring complex details and how things all fit together.

It must be the .......

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chris LaBossiere enters the fray

Chris LaBossiere has responded to my blog on his blog.

He is looking for an apology of sorts. I will for a couple of things.

First my tone; I tend to be a straight shooting, no bullshit type of person. I understand that comes off as abrasive and is often misinterpreted, so I do apologize for that.

Second; that I referred to their tactics being a case of naivety. This came about when a commenter referred to the happenings as skullduggery. Which I thought was a bit harsh, as I truly didn’t think anyone was trying to deliberately sabotage the party. So I opted to use the word na├»ve. I do apologize for this as well.

He points to me having previously held positions with the WAP, as if that somehow has something to do with what I was blogging about. About the only relevance that it has is that through my past experience, I have exposure to the meaning and ramifications of a party constitution.

He says I have been throwing some mud. I can see how it might be seen that way, but really I was trying to shed some light on a serious issue. And as it has (NOW) been revealed; the constitution, the very backbone of the party, has indeed been changed significantly. Would this have been revealed without my commentary? Are members ever going to get a copy of this amended constitution?

A great deal of this could have been avoided by the party posting its constitution on their website like every other party does and as Charles himself had written in October how important this is.

And about Charles….I find it very fascinating that his comment was posted from the same IP as Chris’ recent comment.

Chris, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt on this and not make a mountain out of molehill. Clearly Charles sent you an email and asked you to post it in my comment section. However, I am a little disappointed that Charles did not simply email me directly; or that you didn’t post in your own name communicating his email.

Edited to add: On Twitter Chris is also trying to twist this as a “WAP misinformation campaign”.
Sorry to disappoint the WAP detractors; but the WAP has absolutely ZERO to do with this. It’s just lil’ol me typing away on an otherwise boring weekend; trying to get to the bottom of some very bizarre switch-a-roos.

Albert Party President responds

I have received a comment from the Alberta Party President, Charles Relland. So that it doesn't get lost in the mix of comments I am posting and responding to it here separately.

Ms. Morgan,
Thank you for your interest in the Alberta Party – an interest that brought you to the first portion of the Annual General Meeting of the party last October in Red Deer. Unfortunately, your recent blog entries are factually incorrect and it is important that I set the record straight:
First, Mr. Erickson ran on a platform that clearly stated that he wanted to bring the Renew Alberta team into the Alberta Party.
Second, the portion of the Annual General Meeting that you walked away from saw the presentation of my Omnibus Motion #10-24-09-20, overwhelmingly passed by the party membership who were in attendance at that meeting, and who represented more than 40% of the total membership of the party. This motion completely negates the points you have made in your blog postings. For your reassurance, and for the information of your readers, I quote two pertinent portions of this motion:
Whereas the Constitution can only really be applicable to our Party after we sustain some growth, to work in practice, (and the Party, since 2005 is trying to follow it in principle), we have to admit to ourselves that we have to concentrate on growth with our secondary objective [that] of making the Constitution workable…"
And
“… That the Provincial Board may make any operational policy, between General Assemblies, to regulate the provincial affairs of the Party, including, but not limited to the bylaws and sections of the Party Constitution…"
The party constitution and the omnibus resolution give the board clear authority to suspend the party policies.
Third, and most significant, the board of the Alberta Party proceeded with this course of action because traditional policy development simply doesn't work. Clearly, we intend to be a new type of party. We are inviting the involvement of all Albertans.
I suspect that your vehement opposition to the Big Listen is based entirely on the fact that you have no interest in seeing the Alberta Party broaden its base of support and actually listen to people who may disagree with your own point of view. Fortunately for you, there is a party (in which you apparently hold an official position) which will accommodate your narrow minded, old-school political perspective.
Yours truly,
Charles Relland,
President
Alberta Party

Charles,

Thank you for taking the time to clarify some of these important discrepancies. Glad to see you are still the President.

Other than a blog entry by Robert Leddy, nothing can be found on any platform that Edwin may or may not have run on.

I have five pages of resolutions in your name and I am not sure I can match any of them up with what you have described. Would you be good enough to state specifically the motion number? And even the page number, as there motions 1 thru 9 on one page and then 1 thru 6 on another page. That is to say there are 2 motions that are each number 1 thru 6.

Better yet, why don’t you post the reworded constitution so everyone can see what rules you are now operating under. If you can’t post it, just email it to me; I will gladly post for you.

Charles, I thought you knew me well enough to know that I am not opposed to listening whatsoever. And I am very much in favor of more players in the political arena; especially from the left.

My narrow minded, old-school political perspective…. Now that truly is funny; when I have been criticized for being too “progressive” for the WAP.

And no, I don’t hold an official position with the WAP (apparently or in fact). You really must get up to speed or find better sources for your information.

Alberta Party - the plot thickens

First I would like to make it clear that I truly do wish the Alberta Party every success. Many are saying this will be another party on the right of the spectrum; I would disagree with that.

The two groups that now appear to have control are definitely to the left of the spectrum. One of their biggest supporters made it quite clear on Twitter yesterday; they will not even entertain views from the right.

Ian Berg tweeted:
@KenChapman46: If I agree with Myron a lot, I can't join Reboot?
To which Ken Chapman replied:
@IanBerg You can join by U will not enjoy yourself- the people are vested in different values from Mr. Thompson.
So it would appear the "Big Listen" is already limiting who they will be listening to.

Fair enough, that is actually why I wish them luck. IMO it appears they will be a good home for disenchanted Liberals and maybe a couple of ND'ers.

Having said that; I think they will eventually have to face their blatant disregard for the party constitution sooner, rather than later. A constitution is the very backbone of a party and clearly outlines how a party must conduct itself. As I have outlined in my previous posts, the board appears to have strayed greatly from their constitution.

Today it appears we may have yet another violation of the constitution come to light. Chris LaBossiere and Dave King have each come out of the woodwork to claim they are on the Alberta Party board.

We know that neither of these individuals were elected to the board at the last AGM, therefore they must have been appointed. The Alberta Party constitution does allow for this, however there are several requirements that must be met.

First according to Article 5(m) there must be a "vacancy" to fill and that the person appointed will come from the same "regional zone". The board member I have contact with has confirmed no one for the board elected in October has stepped down; therefore there was no vacancy to be filled.

Second {from 5 a) (i) & (ii)} to be eligble to be a board member you must be either a member for 120 days or have been on a CA board a minimum of 90 days. Now it does go onto say the second one (90 dys on a CA) can be waived; however there in zero reference to being able to waive the 120 membership requirement.

Even if we overlook the "vacancy" issue, anyone added to the board in Feb 2010 would have had to been a member back in Sept 2009; anyone added to the board in Jan 2010 would have had to been a member in Aug 2009; and so on. I find it hard to believe that if Dave and Chris, two politically active individuals, were members back in the fall of 2009 that they wouldn't attend the AGM in October.

In Dave Kings case it is not clear when he joined the Alberta Party, he only refers to himself as
"a new member of the Board of Directors of the Alberta Party."
Chris La Bossiere however gives us a very definite time frame;
I have been a member of the Alberta Party Board of Directors now for over a month. I joined the Party and the Board, in advance of the recently announced "merger" with the Renew Alberta movement

It would appear he likely joined somewhere in the first two weeks of January; that would make him eligible to be appointed to the board at the earlist in the first part of July 2010. And even then, only if there is a vacancy and he resides in the same regional zone of that vacancy.

Let's take a tally. So far they have:

- Ignored the constitutiion by "suspending" policies without a majority vote from the members.

- Ignored the fact that they already have principles embedded in their constitution and are using the principles of the "Renew" group.

- Ignored the constitution by appointing new board members where no vacancy exists and appointed members who don't meet the requirements.

There has been a lot of internet chatter since Thursday on this, I have yet to see one explanation of the their actions. According to Daveberta we won't even know the full board until March! Why the secrecy?

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?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interesting way to operate a political Party.

Finally something (albeit bizarre) to blog on and sadly I have very limited time. If you are not familiar with the groups I discuss below, it this might seem a bit disjointed. My apologies.


I attended the Alberta Party AGM in October as an observer and they made some changes to their constitution; but I don't remember one that gave the Executive board full control over determining policy. Yet that seems to be exactly what has happened. According to this quote over at daveberta.ca;
So where are our policies? As of today we have none.Unanimously our Board has decided to suspend our old policies and has committed to building new ones through face-to-face conversations, around the province, starting March 1st.

I have had a chance to speak to two members; neither of them were aware of any discussions with the Reboot or Renew groups and certainly didn't have any idea that their policies were being wiped out altogether.

Their new website claims "listening to Albertans." Seems to me their off to a pretty rocky start; they haven't even listened to the members who were there in the first place.

How can future members have any confidence in a board that feels it has the power to change policy without consultation with the members?

All I have read about the two progressive (read: frustrated liberals) groups indicates that they support democracy. A very honorable stance; yet they have choosen to totally disrespect it when it came to the Alberta Party. How can they say they have "united", when it clearly is more of a hostile takeover.

There are other interesting things about the way the Alberta Party operates, but that will have to wait for another day. I will leave you with this challenge. What is odd about this picture?


See you in a few days. Have a great weekend everyone.