The weekend is over. The Wildrose Alliance Party annual general meeting for 2012 is over. Now it is time to sit back and reflect on the various items we accomplished over the weekend.
Friday night started off with an informal reception complete with beer, wine, hard alcohol, lots of melons and cheeses. People we haven’t seen since the last AGM started showing up and immediately the campaigning for the EC positions started. As is the norm the cliques were formed and hard core “door knocking” was taking place. Funny though, no one was asking if anyone was on “Team Rob” or “Team Danielle”. Apparently there are no such teams. Who Knew? So don’t believe everything you read on the kukkuplanet blog, or in the Huff Post.
Anyone with half a brain, and a few of us with our entire intellect in tact had already decided for whom we would vote. For that group, the consumption of copious amounts of beer and cold cuts and plenty more melons and cheese was the order of the evening. With several hospitality suites to visit, it would be rude not to have at least a beer or three with the hosts. Of course, that led to one of my worst faults…. DRUNK TWEETING!!
With all the paranoia and anger present due to unknown entities creating videos and anonymous emails, I couldn’t help but fuel the fire and suggest to Rob Anderson, and even Danielle Smith, we should have Bottom Feeder tee-shirts and don tinfoil hats. Fortunately, the MLA’s and the leader were all in good moods, so my being myself didn’t cause any ill will. As a matter of fact, I think some of the discussions held regarding these items brought us to an understanding. They should be left alone, ignored and forgotten. Theft alone and ignored, they lose any of the desired affect sought by the creator(s). Don’t react and they will eventually bore of their games and move on.
When I first caught up with the Leader, she and her husband, David, discussed with me private conversations the leader had with @kikkiplanet regarding her attending the AGM portion of the weekend as a local writer. Apparently some in caucus weren’t impressed Danielle would offer to provide media credentials to a woman who has spread lies, innuendo and vitriol against the party and many of its members. Like Danielle, I agreed she should be permitted to attend, though no other “blogger” would be given media credentials to attend. I think the leader checked with me as she is fully aware of the animosity between the blogger and me. I thought her presence would be great as she would spew vitriol and there would be several hundred people there to keep things in context. I would simply ignore her in person as I do on Twitter. I was later warned about her possible presence by other MLA’s and party insiders. I just laughed and said I was up to the challenge. I didn’t have to worry. True to form, she didn’t show up. The bottom line, we are not like your Father’s PC Party, or like Alison Redford’s PC party. We have nothing to hide from Albertans.
Going into this weekend we knew there would be no policy changes being made. We knew we wouldn’t be voting on anything other than the new executive council. Indeed, there were no policy changes, but there was certainly a lot of policy discussion. Discussion, informal as it was, was undertaken by pretty much everyone in attendance. Most of it was in the context of we must do this, or we must do that. One topic in the forefront throughout was statements made in a blog by a former candidate, Alan Hunsperger, regarding the future demise of homosexuals who don’t change their ways. There were very real concerns stated about the Leader’s having not condemned Pastor Hunsperger. The consensus is that Pastor Hunsperger should have been turfed off the campaign and our backs turned on him.
I agree with the Leader 100%. While we find the content of the blog to be reprehensible, Pastor Hunsperger has the constitutional right to his religious beliefs and to free speech. Though his theology is off, and his wording was poorly chosen for shock value, as much as hardly anyone would agree with him, unless he is inciting hatred or harm, he has the constitutional right to discuss his beliefs. The same holds true for Pastor Leech. Where I wouldn’t call Hunsperger’s blog a BOZO moment, being it was written a year before the election in his capacity of PASTOR, in the truest sense of the meaning of the word Bozo, Leech after having the opportunity to explain himself and apologize continued on to do another interview where the interviewer led him right into making the same statements that got him into trouble yet again. Can you say BOZO!!
We did go a little overboard in our openness this weekend. In our attempt to prove we are a transparent party, people like Lou Arab, husband of NDP MLA Rachel Notely was permitted to sit at a media table and tweet the most ridiculous statements.
— Lou Arab (@LouArab) November 24, 2012
I think I may have shut him down with my response
— John Winslow (@JWinslowYEG) November 24, 2012
Okay, it is funny, I agree. I also find it offensive. Why? Not because of any dislike or hatred of gay men. I find it reprehensible because someone who’s wife is a defender of gay rights would make a statement that would so horribly offend the gay members and staff of the Wildrose who were in attendance at the AGM.
He further goes on to tweet:
— Lou Arab (@LouArab) November 24, 2012
I know, I am getting petty, but this bastion of support for the working man, just insulted the staff of the Mayfield Inn while, at the same time, insulting the many minority members, staff and board members, and women of the Wildrose Party. Way to go Lou, you completely made an ass of yourself. Are you certain you weren’t under the influence of Deputy Premier Lukaszuk’s Hair Gel?
Back to reality. It has been decided, we are going to take a very close look at policy over the next year. I can almost guarantee our social policies WILL change to more reflect the reality of modern day Alberta. This only makes sense since the vast majority of the membership, at least those I have spoken with, are 100% in favour of protecting the rights of all people, regardless of age, gender, race or sexual orientation and, yes, religion. Which brings me to tweets such as….
— Nelson Ching (@twitchingyyc) November 25, 2012
Yes, yes it was. Do we agree the party should have kept the TWO, of 83, candidates on the roster? This is arguable. However, no one in the Wildrose Party can challenge these two Pastors’ rights to their opinions, or to share them. They are protected, like all Canadians from having their freedom of speech stripped by anyone. In a CBC interview that was never aired, Danielle Smith stated the Wildrose Party in no way shares the views of Rev. Hunsperger. The party made a choice, poor though I think it was, to defend the rights of Rev. Hunsperger to his opinion and his right to state it, and to let the voters decide the fate of the candidate. The electorate made the right decision and did not elect him, as they also did with Ted Morton. The leadership of the Wildrose Party believes the people of Alberta are perfectly capable of doing the right thing. In this case they certainly did. If Danielle, or anyone else in the party had decided to deny these two men the right to their opinion or to share it, could they be trusted to protect anyone’s free speech rights? Those making all the noise about this issue have to understand, Danielle and a Wildrose government would defend the rights of all Albertans to hold their own opinions and, yes, even to share them.
Lots and lots of discussion was held this weekend regarding the vetting of candidates in the future. You can guarantee people who hold offensive views will be separated out as trouble and not be permitted to run. I KNOW the new EC is not going to allow the party to just drop a candidate into a CA, especially one who couldn’t pass muster in his or her original CA.
We also discussed such things as making policy on the fly, to get votes. Primarily we looked at the effects of the so-called Dani Bucks on the outcome of the election.It was a good idea, rolled out the wrong way. In order to roll out something like this you have to make it so the electorate understands exactly what you are promising even when your opponents and the media favouring your opponent is going to try to rip it down. We did not do that. For this reason, these types of on the fly policy changes can’t be allowed to happen.
So what is the bottom line? We have a year to discuss and bring forward policy changes at the next AGM. You can guarantee there will be many many policy discussions. These will be in the way of CA meetings, coffee shop meetings, phone calls and even internet forums. I am going to be putting a forum on this site for friends to discuss policy changes we need to make.
The beauty of grassroots democracy, even at the party level, is the majority rules. We do not want to run on a socon platform. We do want to run on a fiscally responsible one. If being fiscally responsible means conservative spending and borrowing, then so be it. One thing is for sure. The Wildrose Party does not want to be in the business of legislating on social or moral issues, especially those already legislated by previous provincial and federal governments. It is not in the cards or even on the remotest of radars.