Wildrose ‘fires’ MLA Joe Anglin, who continues to sit as Wildrose MLA … for now

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A scene at the Wildrose Party nomination vote in Rimbey Saturday night. Actual Wildrose Party members may not have appeared exactly as illustrated. Below: Wildrose, sort of, MLA Joe Anglin and his leader, for now, Danielle Smith.

The Wildrose Party has fired rabble-rousing MLA Joe Anglin.

That’s how Mr. Anglin said he’d view it, anyway, if the party’s local members nominated another candidate in his rural Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding.

Well, nominate another candidate was exactly what they did Saturday night by choosing constituency association president Jason Nixon as their standard-bearer in the next general election by a substantial margin.

In this regard, I’m inclined to see the vote results the same light as Mr. Anglin. But Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith subsequently told the Calgary Herald she wants Mr. Anglin to run again for the party, in urban Edmonton.

Say what? So he can lose to the NDP? Leastways, those are the questions I’d be asking myself if I were Mr. Anglin. Plus: What the heck kind of a deal is that?”

The sixtyish Mr. Anglin was polite about it Saturday night, gracefully Tweeting congratulations to Mr. Nixon after the 34-year-old challenger won by a vote of 242 to 122. Mr. Anglin’s cellular phone message yesterday afternoon indicated he’d be taking a little break, until July 15 – and who can blame him, under the circumstances!

It’ll be a break to consider his options, I’ll bet – and they include more than just running for the Wildrose Party in an urban Edmonton seat.

Indeed, I’d say Mr. Anglin ever running for the Wildrose again is a pretty unlikely scenario, notwithstanding Ms. Smith’s assertion that her firebrand west-central-Alberta MLA has been “a huge asset to our party” and “an incredible champion on the issue of property rights.”

What she really means, more likely, is: Go away, Joe. Don’t come back.

Mr. Anglin has a habit of saying what he thinks – which, despite the claims of the Wildrose Party and other right-wing Western Canadian political groups that’s how elected officials should act, doesn’t really go over that well in the real world of politics. And since the former Alberta Green Party leader became aware his own constituency association president was challenging him, he’s already said some pretty harsh things about the Wildrose Party and its leadership.

When Mr. Anglin failed to persuade the Wildrose officials to disallow Mr. Nixon’s candidacy on the grounds the challenger didn’t resign his constituency position soon enough to comply with party rules, he accused the party of being no different from the long-governing Progressive Conservatives.

“If the Wildrose can’t follow their own rules, I am not sure they’re fit to govern,” he grumped to the media. “You just can’t make rules up and say you aren’t going to follow them. Otherwise we’re no different than the PCs.”

Uh… Hard to disagree with that.

Mr. Anglin also filed a complaint with the Calgary Police reporting he’d received an anonymous death threat after refusing to step aside for Mr. Nixon, and accused what the Red Deer Advocate called “a senior Wildrose Party player” of offering him “in essence a bribe” in return for stepping down – a job with the Alberta Electric System Operator, Alberta Energy Regulator or the Alberta Surface Rights Board, presumably on the assumption the party wins the next election.

So, no, I don’t think the Wildrosers really want Mr. Anglin to be a candidate, or expect him to try to be one. And I expect any regulatory job offers, whoever may have made them, are off the table by now.

When Mr. Nixon’s last-minute challenge suddenly surfaced in late June, days before the nomination meeting, Mr. Anglin told me that he’d view losing the nomination vote as proof he’d been fired by the party. In that event, he said, “I will view this as my options are wide open.”

Those options include running for another party, if one can be found that will take him, even joining another party immediately and sitting as its representative in the Legislature, running as an Independent or saying to heck with it and not running for anything.

I would say the most likely options for Mr. Anglin, who is most often described as a “maverick” by the mainstream media, are running an Independent or finding a home in the Legislature under someone else’s banner. Parties with seats in the Legislature now are likely to be wary – but what about the seatless Alberta Party, for which hope always springs eternal?

If Mr. Anglin has approached the Alberta Party – the still barely functioning invention of a group of Alberta Liberal Party reformers in 2010 – it would once again have a member in the Legislature and Mr. Anglin would have an opportunity for up to two years to call a press conference every day as its only MLA.

There is said to be interest in such a symbiotic relationship among the membership of the Alberta Party executive.

If he runs as an Independent or an Alberta Party candidate, even if he doesn’t win, he could just split the vote enough in the riding to let a Progressive Conservative squeak in.

Whatever Mr. Anglin does, as a man who famously neither minces his words nor engages in self-censorship, the former U.S. Marine is likely to do it with guns blazing.

Since, for the moment at least Mr. Anglin remains a full member of the Wildrose Legislative caucus, that should make for some very interesting conversation when next they meet.

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Alberta’s Greens, once defunct, are defunct no more

When I last wrote at length on this topic, I described the Alberta Green Party, of which Mr. Anglin was once the leader, as being defunct.

This, as it turns out, is only sort of true. Let me turn it over to Janet Keeping, the leader of the current version of the party, to explain:

“A Green Party was first registered in Alberta in 1990. … However, in 2009 disaster struck when internal dissension culminated in a failure to fulfill provincial filing requirements and the Green Party was deregistered, i.e., ceased to exist.

“About two years later, a small group of supporters formed a society – Vision 2012 – with the goal of getting a renewed Green Party off the ground. During the fall of 2011, volunteers collected thousands of signatures of Alberta voters on a petition calling for registration of a new party which, pursuant to the Chief Electoral Officer’s rules, had to bear a different name for the purposes for the next election. 

In this way the Evergreen Party was formed and ran 25 candidates in the 2012 provincial election. With that election under its belt, provincial Greens were able to change the name of the party back to the Green Party of Alberta and are now looking forward to fielding candidates under that banner in the next provincial election.”

Got that? The Greens are defunct no more.

Another option for Mr. Anglin, perhaps. Or, perhaps not, as he doubtless expressed a point of view during the internal dissention that led to the party’s discombobulation in 2009.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

Categories Alberta Politics