2008 Alberta Provincial Election Alberta Politics Calgary-Montrose

calgary-montrose conflict-of-interest?

The curse on the Stelmach Tories house in Calgary-Montrose continues as it has been uncovered that the local Returning Officer has PC Party ties

The Conservative government appointed Lynn Warkentin in December to be the returning officer in the northeast riding.

Her husband, Frank, is the chair of the Progressive Conservative party’s nomination committee in Calgary-Montrose — a connection, the two opposition leaders say, that warrants the removal of Warkentin from her post.

“There’s very close ties between the local returning officer and the PC association [in Calgary-Montrose],” said Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft.

“It’s wrong. There should not be ties between returning officers and any political party.”

Last year, Alberta’s Chief Returning Officer Lorne Gibson made a number of recommendations to Tory Justice Minister Ron Stevens on how to revamp Alberta’s election process. One of these recommendations, which obviously weren’t adopted, included:

2. Prohibition against political activity

Returning officers are currently prohibited from engaging in political activity in support of a political party or candidate, and from making a contribution under the Elections Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act. There is no similar restriction on parrisan activity at the constituency association level.

All election officers, and particularly Returning Officers, must be completely non-partisan in fact and perception. The prohibition on political activity should include a restriction on constituency association level participation.

Since the Election Clerk may be called upon to replace the Returning Officer in the case of absence or inability to act, and because of the high profile of that position, the same prohibitions should apply.

a. Expand the list of prohibited activities for Returning Officer to include participation at the constituency association level.
b. Extend the prohibition against political activity to include Election Clerks.

Alberta Politics Calgary-Montrose

calgary-montrose a victim of a culture of litigation?

To expand on a topic broached in a post yesterday, if recent legal actions by the Tories are any indication, the Calgary-Montrose Progressive Conservative Constituency Association may be a victim of a culture of litigation in Alberta’s current governing party.

I’m pretty sure that I’d be mighty pissed if I were a member of a political party who’s legal agenda generated news articles like:

Tories win fight against volunteers

This of course is in regards to the recent victory of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Association over a group of its volunteers in the east Calgary constituency of Calgary-Montrose.

The provincial Progressive Conservatives have won a prolonged court battle against some of their own members, a ruling that further muddies when or if the Tories will nominate a candidate in the riding of Calgary-Montrose.

But the decision also leaves several volunteers of the local riding association on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills and could result in foreclosures on their homes.

Because of the legal battle (and probably with the distraction of potentially losing their homes because of the PC Party) the Calgary-Montrose PC constituency executive has yet to hold a nomination meeting, but has scheduled a meeting for February 9 in the wake of Ed Stelmach‘s threat to appoint a candidate of his choosing in Calgary-Montrose if the constituency association didn’t act.

With current Calgary-Montrose MLA Hung Pham declaring that he will not seek re-election, Calgary-Montrose is without a PC candidate. Pham, first elected in 1993, earned the dubious title of the MIA MLA for his less than perfect record of attendance in the Alberta Legislature. Unlike his record of attendance in the Alberta Legislature, Pham didn’t hide his feelings about the matter in a recent letter:

MLA Hung Pham won’t seek a fifth term as the Progressive Conservative candidate in Calgary-Montrose, blasting his own party on the eve of an election for lying, making “poor decisions” and taking “dishonourable” actions.

In a letter to his constituency board last weekend, the Tory backbencher scolded the party for doing nothing to help local volunteers with their huge legal bills — and accuses the party of having “lied” about its role in constituency politics.

He questioned how the party handled “millions of dollars” of its own funds.

With an Alberta provincial election call only days away, it appears that all is not well on the good ship S.S. Stelmach.


calgary-montrose blues.

Does anyone want to volunteer on a Tory Constituency Association Board?

You can do it for free and lose your house in the process.