Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wildrose Report and Alberta Alliance Watch announce merger ...

... and will henceforth be known as Wildrose Alliance Watch:

This blog will remain up, and the odd post will still be made here, but when that happens, I'll link to it over at WRAW.

See you on the other side.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fait accompli?

I would like to apologize to readers of The Wildrose Report. Back here, I promised some further information on the merger, and reasons why Wildrose members should oppose this sellout.

I just didn't get to it, but based on what I've seen and read, the merger seems to be a fait accompli anyhow. Just so you know, my original plan was to do some posts on:

  • the current state of the Alberta Alliance's finances. I was also going to point out some misleading public statements coming from the AAP Executive on the state of Alliance finances. Given some of the inaccuracies contained in these public statements, I was going to suggest that it would be prudent for Wildrose Party members to demand that audited financial statements for the 2007 calendar year be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer prior to the merger. Such statements are required by law, so this would not place any sort of additional burden on the Alberta Alliance.
  • Paul Hinman's ineffective leadership, lousy communications strategy, and brutal media coverage. The Wildrose Party could have been going into the election with a new, competent leader. Instead, you will be lead by a gaffe-prone lightweight. It won't take long before you regret this decision, I'm afraid.
  • the Alberta Alliance's poll numbers. The party was headed for obliteration. Exactly why your Executive felt the need to jump on to this sinking ship is a mystery.
This merger has all the hallmarks of a desperate act. If the party performs more poorly than expected in the next election - and with Paul Hinman at the helm this is a substantial possibility - many questions will arise regarding what might have been, and the Wildrose Executive members who negotiated and recommended the terms of this merger will forever be remembered as completely incompetent.

This should end their political careers. After all, if these people cannot properly protect the interests of their own party in a negotiation, how on earth can they be trusted to defend the interests of Alberta. I sure don't want these buffoons negotiating anything on my behalf.

As for me, I plan to continue writing about the federalist right in Alberta. Given that a new party name will be emerging, I will likely replicate the strategy I used that led to both Alberta Alliance Watch and this blog becoming the number one ranked blog on Google Blogsearch for the terms "Alberta Alliance" and "Wildrose Party" respectively. This means I will need a new blog, so that searches for "Wildrose Alliance" come my way as well.

I have reserved a couple of names: The Wildroser, and Wildrose Alliance Watch. I am leaning towards "The Wildroser", given that I believe I coined the term, back in this discussion board post, written on June 26, 2007. If anyone disputes this claim, speak up now, or forever hold your peace.

Regardless of which name I decide to go with, I am pleased to report that I anticipate making my voice heard during the upcoming election. In fact, I am optimistic that I will be sourcing at least one story for the MSM on the Wildrose Alliance ...

... and, if I do, I guarantee you ain't gonna like it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Friends, Albertans, Wildrosers ...

... lend me your ears.

I fear a great injustice is being perpetrated upon you as we speak.

No doubt the proposed "merger" of the Alberta Alliance and Wildrose Party is old news to you by now. I have been carefully following the issue myself, and respectfully suggest to you that virtually all of the commentary to date on the matter has been completely wrong.

The bulk of the comments that I have read are oriented towards a view that the proposed terms of merger either (i) represent a balance, with each party sacrificing and benefiting equally, or (ii) disproportionately favour the Wildrose Party.

One such example of confused interpretation can be found in a recent post by Tory blogger "Red Ken" Chapman:

... Getting the Alliance party members to agree to a merger and accept the bylaws of the Wildrose Party and have Wildrose first in name will take some explaining if it is to be successful a the January 19th AGM of the Alliance.

The Alliance has been around longer, since 2002, and has proven to be able to deliver at least a modicum electoral success with Leader Paul Hinman. The compromise position offered is Mr. Hinman will lead the new merged party. ...
Hmmm. So having a misspelled word - "Wildrose" - added to the name of the AAP, and having the AAP agree to incorporate the obscure bylaws of the Wildrose Party into its internal paperwork, is, in the mind of Ken Chapman, somehow equivalent to having the Wildrose members accept a dud like Paul Hinman as their leader.

Don't make me howl with laughter! Political leadership is everything. A misspelled word, and some internal party bylaws that nobody has read or cares about hardly counterbalances this major concession.

Chapman has also completely botched his analysis of this deal by overlooking a number of major concessions that the Wildrose Party is being forced to make. Let us look at the actual proposed terms of this merger in more detail. The terms are contained in a Notice that I have copied from the website of the Alberta Alliance:
Notice of Special General Meeting (SGM) of the Alberta Alliance Party.

Saturday January 19, 2008 Westin Hotel
10:00 AM 5:00 PM 320 - 4th Ave SW, Calgary, AB

Dear Alliance Party Members,

During the month of December the Provincial Council has been in negotiations with the Wildrose Party of Alberta to unite the parties. After several weeks of negotiations the Alberta Alliance Provincial Council has approved the following terms to a merger, subject to the approval of our members at a Special General meeting, to be held in Calgary, AB on Saturday January 19th 2008. We invite you to attend this meeting and ask that you pre-register by January 12th to insure we have adequate space for each attendee. You must be a current Alberta Alliance member.

The decision to merge the parties is entirely up to you. The following six resolutions will be submitted for consideration by all Alberta Alliance members in attendance.

Be it resolved that;
1) the Alliance changes the name of the Alberta Alliance Party to the Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta.
2) the Wildrose Alliance adopt new Bylaws substantially the same as those of the Wildrose Party of Alberta.
3) the Wildrose Alliance immediately conduct election of officers.
4) the Wildrose Alliance call and provide notice of an Annual General Meeting to be held by May 1, 2008.
5) the Wildrose Alliance accept all the assets and liabilities of the Wildrose Party of Alberta; following the acceptance of the merger by members of both the Alberta Alliance and the Wildrose Party at their respective Special General Meetings.
6) the Wildrose Alliance allow all members of the Wildrose Party of Alberta to exchange their membership in the Wildrose Party for a membership in the Wildrose Alliance for the unexpired term.

Both parties will have conducted due diligence examinations of the other, prior to the January 19th 2008 SGM.

If the merger is approved, the Wildrose Alliance will reimburse candidates for expenses already incurred for election material that bears the Alberta Alliance name to facilitate the transition to new name. (Candidates will have to provide documentation of the original expenses to be reimbursed.)

If the union is approved, a meeting of the new Provincial Executive shall follow the SGM, to establish by-laws for candidate selection and constituency formation.

Members of the Wildrose Party of Alberta have been invited to attend. If members of the Alberta Alliance approve the above resolutions, Wildrose Party members will then be recognized as voting participants at the SGM.

I hope you can join us for this important meeting.


Jane Morgan, CFO
On behalf of the President & the AAP Provincial Council.
In addition to the foregoing highlighted clauses, I would like to emphasize that the Alberta Alliance policy book will become the policy book of the new "Wildrose Alliance". This was made clear by a gloating Paul Hinman during an interview on the radio yesterday. (I will obtain a copy of that interview and post it for you.)

Please understand that under the terms of this arrangement, no "new" party is being created. The Alberta Alliance will merely be changing its name. All of the institutional history - and financial history - of the Alberta Alliance will remain intact, and will become the history of the Wildrose Alliance.

This means the "new" Wildrose Alliance will be responsible for all of the current debts of the Alberta Alliance. You should be aware that the Alberta Alliance has run deficits in every one of its financial statements on file with the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta. I will prepare some further summaries of this information, and post it for you.

This transfer of the "Wildrose" name also likely means the entire Wildrose Party registration petition isn't worth the paper it is printed on. Look at the petition form every one has been using (alternative link). It is done in the name of the "Wildrose Party of Alberta". If the Alberta Alliance succeeds in changing its name to the "Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta", any future registration of the Wildrose Party will likely be denied, given that the name is so similar to that of the newly renamed "Wildrose Alliance". Section 7(3) of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosures Act reads as follows:
The Chief Electoral Officer shall not register a political party if, in the Chief Electoral Officer’s opinion,

(a) the name or the abbreviation of the name of the applying party so nearly resembles the name or abbreviation of the name of a registered party as to be likely to be confused with the name or abbreviation of that registered party ...
So, in addition to accepting Paul Hinman as your leader, accepting responsibility for all of the Alberta Alliance's debts, and abandoning all of your policies in favour of the Alliance policy book, you are also agreeing to hand over the "Wildrose" name, which has the effect of pulping your entire registration petition.

Let's keep going.

Look at highlighted resolutions 5 and 6. The Wildrose Party will also have to hand over all of its assets, and its membership list.

I need to say that again.

The Wildrose Party will also have to hand over all of its assets, and its membership list.

We're still not done.

As a final insult, Alberta Alliance candidates will be reimbursed by the Wildrose Alliance for any pre-merger expenses they have incurred on "election material". The Wildrose Party assets the Alliance is due to receive will no doubt come in handy in satisfying these claims.

Mergers are complex things. They must be done properly, and prudently. The rush to merge being pushed by the higher ups may not be in the best interests of the Wildrose Party, and, as members of the Wildrose Party, that must be your first concern until arrangements are finalized. I have undertaken to provide further material for you Wildrose members to consider, and have many more things to suggest as to how you, as ordinary members, should approach this.

You have been badly served by your Executive Committee, and you know it. Even if you support a merger, you may wish to seek amendment to these proposed terms in order to safeguard your interests better.

What is being proposed is a complete capitulation, and absorption. Please talk to your fellow members about this, check back here, and at Alberta Alliance Watch, for updates and further discussion on this matter.

Update 01/05/08: The audio of the interview wherein Paul Hinman indicates that Alberta Alliance policies will supplant all Wildrose Party polices is now available:

Rob Breakenridge interviews Paul Hinman - Jan 2, 2008

At the 4:55 mark, Paul Hinman says: "Basically, we are accepting the Alberta Alliance policies, and the Wildrose constitution".