PHOTOS: Yo, Jason! Voting so easy, you can phone it in from the Okanagan! Or not. Below: Progressive Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney and PC Referendum Committee Chair Casey DesChamp (Photo: LinkedIn).
Jason Kenney’s Progressive Conservative Party told members yesterday it has extended the deadline for members to register to vote on merging with the Wildrose Party from today until Monday at midnight.
An email sent to members gives the reason for the extension as “a deluge of membership purchases,” which Casey DesChamp, the party’s referendum committee chair, is quoted in the email saying is “expected to be more than 50,000.”
It’s not implausible that with registrations in such numbers the party could be experiencing technical difficulties processing voting PINs for new members and emailing them out, but it seems odd that the PCs would extend the registration deadline but not the voting period.
Ms. DesChamp’s claim could be interpreted as being at odds with Mr. Kenney’s boast in in the Calgary-area city of Cochrane at the start of July that the party’s voting technology was so advanced, and made voting to easy, that “you could vote on a boat in the Okanagan with a beer in your hand.” (Your blogger knows the person who made note of the PC leader’s remarks and is completely confident in the fidelity of this quote.)
A simpler explanation may be that Mr. Kenney is prone to hyperbole when he assumes he is among friends. Regardless, presumably only drunken sailors from Alberta will be allowed to vote in the referendum.
Whatever the reason, I suppose it’s best from Mr. Kenney’s perspective that the PCs do things as quickly as possible and organize a slam-dunk vote result – something the veteran political organizer should be quite capable of achieving – especially when many legacy PC members are bound to harbour lingering doubts about what appears to be a hostile takeover bound to lead to the destruction of the party they supported for many years.
Undoubtedly many members of both the PC and Wildrose parties have joined the other in order to be able to cast two ballots for or against unity. The smart money remains on the easy success of the double reverse hostile takeover engineered Mr. Kenney and his supporters.
PC Party memberships had to be purchased by Wednesday for new members to be eligible to take part in the unity vote, and Mr. Kenney is clearly doing his best to eliminate any possibility something will go awry on the PC side of the unity effort.
Across the aisle in the Wildrose Party, as reported in this space yesterday, party leaders who also support the unity effort on the grounds that in all but name the political entity that emerges will be their party seem to have put in place a mechanism to kibosh any last-minute rebellion by pure laine Wildrosers.
PC voting will begin one week from today and continue through Friday and Saturday. The Wildrose vote will be conducted on July 22 only.
Happy Bastille Day. Vive la France!