Alberta Politics

wildrose party fundraising letter takes a televangelist tone.

In a post-election fundraising letter sent to supporters (at least southern Alberta), Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith boasts of her party’s strong showing in the April 23 election and admits that her party “might need some time to prove to Albertans that they are a government in waiting.”

Like most political fundraising pleas, the letter is written in a first person narrative style and, not unexpectedly, claims that the the Wildrose Party ran a positive campaign in the face of negative opposition.

Peter Popoff
Peter Popoff

In these ways and others, Ms. Smith’s letter mirrors the style of a fundraising letter sent by American televangelist Peter Popoff to his supporters in March of 2006. Despite controversy, including charges of fraud, Mr. Popoff is known for “faith healing” and sale of his trademark miracle water.

Mr. Smith’s letter demonizes the Wildrose Party’s opponents and presents herself as the only political leader who can help Albertans. Similar to Mr. Popoff’s letter, it uses of bold text throughout to emphasis the main points, which include the “many failings” of Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative government.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Party Alberta Election 2012
Danielle Smith

The Wildrose letter takes aim at a report recommending the Premier’s pay be raised  (and does not mention that the Premier rejected the recommendation), criticizes this year’s budget deficit, and tackles the Tories for a new provincial sales tax (which does not exist). Like much of the rhetoric emanating from the Wildrose Party over the past two years, the tone of the letter is angry, appealing to the negative emotions of their supporters.

The eeriest similarity in style between the two letters is Ms. Smith’s pitch for the recipient of the letter to make a “gift of $170 or more.” $170 seems like a very odd amount to request, as even wikipedia has little to say about it, but the plea for a similarly numerical donation in Mr. Popoff’s letter could provide an explaination as to a hidden significance of those numbers.

From Mr. Popoff’s letter:

“NO, I don’t want you to send $37 or $77… No, SEND EXACTLY $17.00. Because 1 is the number of the Father… and 7 is the Father’s number of perfection.”

I know many Albertans who would agree that the election of only 17 Wildrose MLA’s on April 23 felt like Divine Intervention.

The similarities in style between the two letters are too eerily for this political observer to ignore. Appealing for the support of a very conservative base, who may be used to receiving this style of fundraising letter, it may not be surprising that the people behind the Wildrose Party are taking notes of successful strategies used by American televangelists to raise heap loads of cash. For this reason, I do not expect Ms. Smith’s next fundraising letter will trumpet her attendance at Edmonton’s upcoming Gay Pride Parade.

2012 Danielle Smith Wildrose Fundraising Letter

(Thank you to the long-time reader who provided me with a copy of Ms. Smith’s fundraising letter)

23 replies on “wildrose party fundraising letter takes a televangelist tone.”

Is it just me or does the letter look like it is on legal size paper? One of the oldest fundraising tricks in the book, people take a letter rmuch more seriously on legal size paper.

I have to wonder
*is Smith defending the values of Leech and Hunsperger when she says “belittle and demoinze the values of Albertans like you”?
*the policies she ran on and will defend for the next years, does that include the policies she said she wanted to throw out the window in post election interviews?
*the gold plated salaries they are against, do they know that Rob Anderson said they were just fine?
*I wonder will the Wildrose ever say what they will cut to bring spending to 2011 levels plus inflation? They have never admitted their cuts would be cuts.

I know fundraising letters are speaking to the converted, but this one seems to be playing a secondary role of trying to reaffirm Smith’s leadership.

After delcaring herself pro-choice and pro-gay marriage, she didn’t take an oath for MLA but affirmed she pledge as only avowed atheists so, and pledged to participate in the gay pride parade only to back track the day after to only participate in one pride week event.

You know, I don’t think those are things that are very aligned with the values of the “Albertans like you” who are getting this fundraising letter and will be voting in her leadership review.

Come on Official Opposition Leader Rob Anderson!

Revisionism is fun!

“Gave the PCs the biggest scare they’ve ever had in the 41 years they’ve held power.” – as long you don’t count 1993 when the Liberals got 32 seats.

More fun revisionism:
“Wild Rose ran a positive campaign.” Unless you count the “Alison Redford doesn’t like Alberta” ads. “Our team ran on ideas.” The idea that Danielle’s picture should be slapped on everything, and local candidates should hush up or lose their $1,00 bond. “Dedicated candidates took our messages to doorsteps and town halls across this province.” Yeah, senatorial candidates who stood in for WR MLA candidates too dumb to be trusted to speak.
Selling snake oil, that sums up Wild Rose pretty nicely. Right down to targeting the weak and vulnerable.

Between the two posts of today, the anti-Christian sentiment is palpable and unbecoming — Wildrose fan or not.

Just sayin’

Great post Dave. I was a member of the Reform Party years ago so I’m not shocked to see the Wildrose Party use similar fundraising strategies as American evangelical groups. They are tried and tested and work.

Good catch. Albertans avoided a big disaster by not electing these guys into government.

To Fred ZIffel: how is this anti-Christian? I go to church every Sunday and I agree with Dave. Just because im a Christian doesn’t mean i can’t tell when someone is crazy and trying to scam me out of my hard earned dollars.

I find this distasteful. The wildrose deserves to have their methods of fundraising criticized, but it does not deserve to be compared to charlatans and snake oil salesmen. Demonizing your enemy discredits you, not your enemy.

Thanks, Jason.

Yours is the most level headed criticism I’ve received of this post. I may have gone a little far with the original lede of this post and strayed a bit from my intended point.

The point that I tried to make is that there are similarities between the two fundraising strategies, which is not entirely surprising, because it is a proven successful fundraising strategy.

Thanks again,


I’ve been waiting to say this in a hectoring tone for a few months: Danielle Smith, get your facts straight, do your research and check your history!

Another big whopper in the fundraising letter (in addition to those already noted) is that Wildrose is the first real conservative opposition the PC govt has ever faced. That would be true if you ignore the 11-year period between 1971-82 when the Socreds the Official Opposition.

But hey, don’t let the facts get in the vicious, petty, deceptive and fear-mongering fundraising letter. That’s how Harper does it.

Jason: Thank you for the reminder I left out another underhanded tactic routinely employed by Wild Rose strategists- deflection. “Deny, deflect, accuse, revise” is the full menu.

It seems to me that many people do not realize that when Hunsperger made his “lake of fire” post, he was not being inventive — he was referencing a passage from the Bible. I would contend that, historically, Bible-believing Christianity has never understood homosexuality to be acceptable behaviour in God’s view. You may disagree with me on that, and I would be willing to support my view, but for the moment, accept that premise for the sake of argument.

So then, from the Christian perspective, the attack on Hunsperger is really just an attack on a messenger of traditional Christian belief for nothing more than an articulation of said traditional belief.

One of the candidates for premier said that sort of belief had no place in her party or her Alberta. Another of the candidates said that she personally disagreed, but recognized the religious belief involved.

Which of those candidates embodies true tolerance?

Given this scenario, how would you suggest a Christian respond in light of the election outcome?
And then what should the Christian think when a standard sort of fundraising letter becomes fodder for ridiculing Christianity? Followed by a second post advertising T-shirts that also engage in the same ridicule.

I understand this is a big country with an amazing diversity of opinion, so I offer this as a perspective that many of this blog’s readers may not have considered in the echo chamber of their Twitter universe.

Thanks for listening.

Fred: I know a great number of Christians who responded to this election by being thankful the Wildrose did not win. Criticizing a particular view held by some Christians is not in anyway an attack on Christianity. I also find it interesting some of the most dedicated Christians I know are gay and lesbian. They most definitely welcomed the failure of the Wildrose to gain power.

As for tolerance, it’s a funny linguistic dance when we get into whether tolerating and allowing intolerance is more or less tolerant then not tolerating intolerance?

The biggest problem with this letter is not the fundraising aspect or it’s similarities to evangelical fundraising but with the gross inaccuracies and distortions in it. Danielle Smith is either ignorant or lying and neither reflects well on her. However, and here the religion comparison is apt, Wildrose followers will take the letter at its word, without questioning, and hand over the dollars.

I am not liberally minded however I like the quote Raj Sherman stated that its a choice between bullies and bigots in the 2012 election. Bullies being the PC party and the latter being WR. Hmmm I wonder which I would prefer to have be the leaders of a Province? Well out comes the logic…Bigots are ignorant! They just plain and simply do not know. They are guided through this ignorance. Bullies on the other hand are criminal. They know what they do, they get off on doing what they do.
So if I entertain the idea further logic tells me that I should go with the bigots because there is a chance there for enlightenment, from ignorance to educated. With Bullies your hoping for reeducation and rehabilitation. Again I would go with the bigot…
Having said that I focus in on this article (thank you by the way Dave). Sure The WR party has some questionable practices and seems to hold fast to some “anti-progessive” stances that turn many people off. But I urge people to consider the alternative and in fact the winning party! I do not mean to take the light off of any form of ridiculousness but the light should be shone brightest at the larger ridiculousness. Right? shouldn’t it? or am I out to lunch? Perhaps I’m both lol.
Lets line this Fundraising method up against the PC parties latest “fundraising” initiative shall we. The Alberta government going after “Big Tobacco” for 10B+/- using lawyers who are personally connected to multiple PC party officials including the leader. WOW there must have been a sale on BALLS because these Criminals loaded up! Pocket Padding, Conflict of Interests call it what you will but all I know is that it leaves a huge exposure and risk of corruption at the highest level!
Dani may request $170 and it may be a lucky num num but I would prefer her koolaid to the poison.

The Christian part, We all fall short of the glory. No more he than I and to say Gay/Lesbian is any less/more a sin than any other is downright ignorant. Gay people need Christ Jesus just the same as any hetro.

I don’t see anything that, strictly speaking, is inaccurate in the entire letter. There are certainly omissions, most strikingly that Alison Redford promptly turned down the pay increase, but I don’t believe these warrant this kind of attack.

I certainly understand the main point of the article, and there is a good chance it is accurate (if so, it is obviously a very effective fundraising strategy). Using little words/phrases which accumulate to communicate bias and distain as in this blog posting, however, do not in any way contribute to the argument.

When the Taliban in Afghanistan poison little girls so they can’t go to school, we call them religious and social extremists. In Alberta, religious and social extremists are called the Wildrose. If you don’t beleive in their perverted and self-serving interpretation of the christian Bible or call them on their anti-social, hate-filled writings on sexuality, abortion or global-warming denial as “an attack on a messenger of traditional Christian belief for nothing more than an articulation of said traditional belief.” Fear- and hate-mongering, homophobia and otjher forms of extremism aren’t excused just because you say its God’s work. If there is a god, I hope she’s a mean, tough black l;esbian with a limp and a wikkid sense of humour! The Christian Right is neither!

@Robert Gerard

Off-topic, but I’m reminded of the punchline to a classic “Kids in the Hall” sketch:

“Fat black crippled dykes are hard to find.”

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