It started with a message, letting me know I was missing a lot of information in Episode 3: The Way We Were in my interview with Ronda Klemmensen. I knew that, of course, it was only one person’s story, but I wanted to know more. The messenger gave me another name.
I reached out to the next person who told me a little bit more about a grassroots movement gaining momentum. This movement isn’t a new political party; this movement is coming from within a political party. They’re not happy with the way the UCP is being run. He gave someone else my name. I received another message.
In the beginning, the people were promised honesty; they were promised an end to back room dealings and a fair, transparent governance process. They were promised an end to the entitlement and top-down decision-making. They were offered a “Grassroots Guarantee”.
From southern Alberta to the north, from east to west, the members have been run over. Rumours are flying in this direction and that. “The only people who have been elected are either Kenney loyalists or Jean loyalists.” Some suggested the Alberta Fund, Brian Jean’s Political Action Committee, is funding candidates. They think someone might be planning a return to politics because everyone knows Jason Kenney has never really been interested in governing Alberta. If Kenney’s elected as Premier, he will step down to run for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Some suggest there will be two leadership races in 2020 – one for the United Conservative Party and the other for the Conservative Party of Canada. No one expects Scheer to win.
But some members don’t just want the Party to come to power; not like this. Some members thought those words, before the merger, meant something. They even thought those words were true. Based on those words, some people voted to merge the parties they had invested in and they won.
What some members didn’t expect was the Party they had invested in to turn on them, the members, when some people no longer needed their support. They saw what was happening in riding after riding, the members being told who they could vote for. The standards for some candidates were not met for others. The members were feeling betrayed.
They thought they outsmarted the Party elites by organizing against Leah Wood in Lac St. Anne – Parkland. They didn’t care who won, as long as it wasn’t the preferred candidate of the powers that be in the UCP. And they won. Or at least they thought they did. Dale Johnson was disqualified for firing a woman with whom he had had an affair after she assaulted him at his home. But Jason Nixon, who once fired a woman who made a sexual harassment complaint, was acclaimed.
The opportunity for Ms. Wood, whose daughter-in-law was Brian Jean’s campaign manager (whose mother is seeking the nomination in Yellowhead), whose son is employed with UCP caucus, whose brother-in-law works for the CPC, to win a nomination still exists; if they’re going to risk another nomination race. And the members felt betrayed again.
Networks began to form and grow. The members are unhappy… and they’re organizing… from within the mighty UCP.
Printed with permission from those who contacted me. Stay tuned.
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