A leaked document that was sent to me late last week revealed a request for an investigation into a United Conservative Party nomination candidate for Calgary-Mountainview. The document is addressed to UCP President Janice Harrington and requests an investigation into the residency history of Ms. Caylan Ford. According to a source, Ms. Harrington’s response to the letter has been “evasive”.
The document alleges that the grassroots is being circumvented in favour of a preferential candidate from Ontario. Ms. Ford responded to commentary on social media stating she was “born and raised in Calgary” and had lived in Calgary for “more than two decades”. As a friend who currently lives in Alberta pointed out, he “was born and raised in B.C. but (he’s) not a resident there”. Ms. Ford’s LinkedIn profile suggests she has not been a resident of Alberta since 2008.
The document requests verification as to whether Ms. Ford was a resident of Alberta prior to February 2018 as she purchased a UCP membership in January 2018. United Conservative Party Policy states that a potential member must be a resident of Alberta for six months prior to purchasing a membership. In order to become a candidate, Party policy states a candidate must be a member of good standing for six months. Ms. Ford currently meets the latter.
The document requests confirmation as to whether Ms. Ford was told Party Policy would be waived for her electoral run.
As Ken Chapman pointed out in the podcast Episode 3: Political Correctness, UCP-Style, political parties are private clubs. They have rules and policies that are not binding by law, no matter how much the members would like them to be. As such, the Party brass has absolute power when it comes to holding people to account; or not. It’s simply a matter of whether those in power are trustworthy enough to follow the rules.
I mean, if the guy who wants to lead the Party can’t be bothered to keep an updated membership, why should anyone else be expected to follow the rules?
While I don’t personally believe that the nine signatories from the Calgary – Mountain View Constituency Association Board have an issue with Ms. Ford herself, who by all accounts is a very accomplished and experienced young woman, their issue is with the Party big-wigs choosing who will and will not be subject to the rules. In cases such as these, it appears as if the Party is willing to use the rules and policies as obstacles for some and mere options for others. The elitist attitude isn’t sitting well with some members.
This story is hardly new ( browse through the posts since October 28, 2017 for more info). Since the UCP formed, Jason Kenney has run the Party with blatant disregard for membership input. And though it likely isn’t an issue to the general public, the members who were promised a voice are feeling the heel of Kenney’s foot above them. Top-down decision-making is standard for the former Progressive Conservative faction of the United Conservative Party but it is a new way of doing things for former Wildrose members.
I will be having a conversation with Ronda Klemmensen, former Wildrose Constituency Association President in Strathmore-Brooks and current Constituency Association President of the Freedom Conservative Party for Episode 4: The Way We Were. Watch for it Monday morning on Twitter @ThisWeekInAB and on This Week In Alberta Politics Facebook Page
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