Wildrose leader complains UCP voting system may be rigged, and not in his favour

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PHOTOS: Then Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean, holding microphone, addressing an anti-carbon-tax, anti-Bill-6, anti-etc. rally on the steps of the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton in December 2016. The visible sign may or may not have represented the opinion of more than one participant in the event. (Photo grabbed from Daveberta.ca.) Below: Mr. Jean and his UCP leadership opponent Jason Kenney, possibly wearing each other’s hats.

Gee whiz! Computerized voter suppression games in the United Conservative Party leadership race? Say it ain’t so!

Don’t take my word for it. This is what Brian Jean, former leader of the Opposition Wildrose Party and now a contender to lead the UCP, says: “Our party committee has chosen a leadership election system where, if things don’t change, over 40,000 party members may not be able to vote.”

Now, can you guess whose supporters most of those UCPers will likely turn out to have been?

And why do you think the party’s top insiders might have done something like that? I mean, other than to ensure they get their way and have Jason Kenney as their leader after the party’s leadership election on Oct. 28?

Mr. Jean is presumably concerned that the system – which he called “complicated” and “cumbersome” – will ensure that it’s much easier for Mr. Kenney’s supporters to register than those of other candidates. With the registration timelines barely publicized and the final deadline to register to vote at 5 p.m. this afternoon, that’s a reasonable assumption.

What’s more, last night at a leadership debate in Mr. Jean’s Fort McMurray hometown, the former Conservative MP accused Mr. Kenney, also a former MP and cabinet member in the Harper Government, of spreading lies about him.

Albertans are sick and tired of lying politicians, Mr. Jean told the forum, the CBC reported. “Right now there is a politician on this stage that his team is lying about me, lying about my Christian values, lying about my position on Bill 6 … even lying about other things.”

The statements complained of by Mr. Jean include claims in a social conservative publication he supports LGBTQ Pride too enthusiastically and elsewhere that he has failed to support the right of Canadians to own assault rifles enthusiastically enough. The anti-abortion publication in question also accused Mr. Jean, who has divorced and remarried, of being a “libertine.”

Mr. Jean, by the sound of it, denies it all. He is self-described “churchgoing, God-fearing Baptist,” the CBC reported, and presumably properly gunned up as well. Mr. Kenney, naturally, denied knowing anything about it at all.

One has to feel a certain sympathy with Mr. Jean. Confronting Mr. Kenney has been a bit like standing in front of the proverbial juggernaut. So far, the only way conservative politicians have been able to survive has been by getting the heck out of the way, one way or another.

For his part, Mr. Kenney appears determined to combine the worst features of the old Progressive Conservative Party with those of the Wildrose. That is to say, under the former Ottawa insider’s leadership – which is all but a certainty now – the UCP will inherit the entitlement and arrogance of the old PCs and the social conservative extremism of the once-somewhat-grassrooty Wildrose.

Get used to it, Mr. Jean. Resistance is futile.

Edmonton’s Al Rashid Mosque to host Visit My Mosque Day this Sunday

Concerned by polling suggesting a significant minority of Canadians have a negative perception of Muslims and the overwhelming view in the Muslim community that discrimination against Canadian Muslims has increased in the past five years, several Islamic congregations across Canada have set aside next Sunday, Oct. 15, as Visit My Mosque Day.

Members of the Muslim community in Edmonton are inviting their neighbours of all faiths and without faith to see the inside of the Al Rashid Mosque, 13070 113 Street NW.

“This event will be a perfect opportunity to challenge Islamophobia by fostering an environment of open communication and engagement,” said Mukarram Zaidi, a Calgary physician who is one of the organizers of the event.

The original Al Rashid Mosque, opened in 1938 at a site near the Royal Alexandra Hospital in central Edmonton, is preserved at Fort Edmonton Park. The congregation relocated to the mosque’s present site in 1982.

Categories Alberta Politics