It would be hard to write a nomination update tonight without focusing on the resignation of the United Conservative Party‘s Lethbridge-West candidate, Torry Tanner.
Tanner resigned today after a video posted on her Facebook page circulated on social media this week showed her claiming that young children were being to exposed pornography in schools and teacher were hiding their students gender reassignments from parents. She posted the video during the UCP nomination race in the riding.
Here’s the UCP Candidate for Lethbridge West claiming Alberta Teachers are exposing kindergarten students to pornography and providing gender reassignment without parents knowledge… #abpoli #ableg #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/SBzrYxFQbK
— The Breakdown (@TheBreakdownAB) March 29, 2023
“The baseless claims made the UCP candidate for Lethbridge West do not represent the Lethbridge that we know and love,” said Lethbridge-West NDP MLA Shannon Phillips. “We are inclusive and respectful, and Ms. Tanner should take the time to learn more about the community she is hoping to represent.”
In response to the video, the UCP appeared to initially just ask Tanner to remove it from her social media feeds, but after pressure grew the party posted a statement from the candidate announcing her resignation.
“During the nomination process, I made a video that, at its core, spoke to my commitment to protecting children. However, it’s clear that my choice of words have distracted not only from the issue I was trying to discuss, but are being used by my political opponents to hurt our chances of winning across the province,” said Tanner in a statement posted online by the UCP.
“Tanner’s notice of resignation falls well short. She faults only her ‘choice of words,’ not the lies she embraced, and regrets only that they might hurt the prospects of the United Conservative Party in the next election,” Schilling said.
Tanner, who was also known from her role as a participant in an unsuccessful lawsuit against former Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, defeated local business-owner Rick Dempsey in a nomination vote only a few weeks ago.
The southwest Alberta riding was home to one of the closest races in the 2019 election but a repeat of those results feels unlikely after this. It is expected that the UCP will now appoint a candidate to replace Tanner.
Tanner’s resignation was somewhat reminiscent of the “Lake of Fire” comment that helped destroy Danielle Smith‘s chances of leading the Wildrose Party to win the 2012 election. The incident was dubbed a “bozo-eruption,” a political term that has stuck in Alberta politics ever since.
Tanner’s video was an unhelpful distraction from Premier Smith’s other communications crisis this week – the 11-minute long video of her speaking to radical street pastor and then leader of the separatist Independence Party of Alberta, Artur Pawlowski, about speaking weekly to Department of Justice officials about their pursuit of charges against COVID-19 rule breakers. Smith continues to deny what she said in the video, claiming once again that her language was… “imprecise.”
(I am planning to write more about the Smith-Pawlowski video soon on the Daveberta Substack).
Upcoming nomination votes
With Tanner’s resignation, UCP slate has dropped to 80 candidates in Alberta’s 87 ridings. The Alberta NDP have nominated 77 candidates. The Green Party has 27 candidates, the Alberta Party has nominated 12 candidates, the Liberal Party has seven, and the Independence Party has at least seven.
Candidate nomination votes are currently scheduled for the following dates:
- April 1 – Calgary-North East UCP
- April 3 – Grande Prairie UCP
- April 21 – Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville