Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership review has been moved to a mail-in vote and MLA Dave Hanson from Bonnyville-Cold Lake-St. Paul says, “The board broke the rules of our own party.”
In an email sent to party members, UCP president Cynthia Moore said the party’s board members wanted to ensure every single party member has an opportunity to vote in the leadership review which was going to take place on April 9 in Red Deer. The party will open up the voting to anyone who has a current membership as of March 19 due to increased interest.
The board also decided to move the special general meeting online instead of in Red Deer. According to the email, more than 15,000 people have registered to participate.
The party will eliminate registration fees for members, but details on how to receive a refund are unclear. Members also have the option to convert the registration fees into a donation by asking for a tax receipt. Changing the rules after the membership cutoff date will exclude people who were interested in voting but couldn’t travel to Red Deer or pay the registration fee.
A decision which MLA Hanson is against.
“Absolutely against the move, they broke the rules of our own party,” MLA Hanson told Lakeland Connect. “Many more people would have simply bought membership in order to vote had they known; but the rules were very clear, only in person, in Red Deer.”
Lakeland Connect asked MLA Hanson what are his thoughts on Premier Kenney and why the board would change the rules.
“They did it because they saw the premier was losing, plain and simple,” Hanson said.
However, Harrison Fleming, spokesperson for Jason Kenney’s leadership review campaign, said the team is pleased that it will be easier for members to vote.
“With more than 15,000 members currently registered to attend the SGM at a venue that can only hold 2,000 — and more than two weeks to go before the vote — something had to be done to accommodate the growing demand for members to have their say. The party was at risk of disenfranchising thousands of UCP members.”
A national auditing firm is being retained to oversee the mail-in vote and more details about the vote will be released in the coming days.