Then a Wildrose MLA, Joe Anglin addressed a crowd from the steps of the Alberta legislature in November 2013 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Last observed pursuing a claim against Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer alleging abuse of process, colourful former MLA Joe Anglin has found a new way to tilt at Alberta’s perpetually swirling political windmill.

Mr. Anglin, 63, who is both the former Wildrose Party MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre and the former leader of Alberta’s Greens, announced yesterday he would seek the nomination for Derek Fildebrandt’s Freedom Conservative Party in the riding he once represented for the Wildrosers.

Jason Nixon, Jason Kenney’s friend and House Leader, also back in the day when he was a Wildrose MLA (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, Mr. Anglin said in a short news release, has “decided upon a centralized autocracy as a path forward.”

“Sadly, it was a Tory autocracy that led to an NDP government,” Mr. Anglin’s release said. “Tory MLAs must vote as they are told or they will be exiled.”

The release went on: “If the current number of rigged Tory nomination races are an indicator of what Albertans can expect from a Tory government – corruption and incompetence will follow. If the Tories can’t follow their own rules, what makes them think they can govern? Obedience to Kenney may help his plans to become Prime Minister, but it does nothing for Albertans.”

That’s pretty harsh, but not entirely inaccurate.

Boasting that he was the only Wildrose MLA elected in 2012 who didn’t cross the floor to join the Conservatives (although he did leave the party in 2014 to sit as an Independent), Mr. Anglin said “the Freedom Conservative Party has now picked up the torch that the former Wildrose surrendered when they sold their souls to the Tories.”

Freedom Conservative Party Leader Derek Fildebrandt (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

“My commitment to property rights is unmatched,” he said. “Where the Wildrose once tried to silence me, the Freedom Conservative Party wants me to shout loud and clear in support of property rights.”

In June 2014, Mr. Anglin faced an unexpected challenge for the Wildrose nomination in the riding he represented from Jason Nixon, who just days before had been his loyal constituency association president.

Mr. Nixon, nowadays a close friend of Mr. Kenney and the UCP’s House Leader in the Legislature, won the nomination. Mr. Anglin challenged the legality of his nomination under the Wildrose Party’s rules and lost. That fall, Mr. Anglin quit the party to sit as an Independent. Under the circumstances, you could hardly blame him.

In early 2015, Mr. Anglin talked about seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in the riding, but both sides eventually concluded it wouldn’t work. Mr. Anglin disputes a PC Party claim it rejected his candidacy.

He ran for the seat as an Independent in the May 2015 general election but came last in a field that included winner Mr. Nixon and PC and NDP candidates.

Mr. Anglin’s dispute with Elections Alberta over the wording of his election signs, and removal of some of those signs, as well as statements made by the Chief Electoral Officer, began during the election campaign and has continued ever since.

In a separate legal action, Mr. Anglin received leave from the Alberta Court of Appeal on Nov. 30 last year to challenge a $250 fine levelled against him by Elections Alberta for the wording and the size of the lettering on some of the signs he used during his run as an Independent. Mr. Anglin vows that case will continue as well, saying he has several legal questions he hopes to have the opportunity to put before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Fildebrandt, who as regular readers of this blog will recall is a pretty colourful character himself, told me that while Mr. Anglin’s nomination will ultimately be up to the party’s candidate nomination committee, “I certainly welcome his application.”

“In our party, the leader has no veto,” he noted.

While Mr. Fildebrandt is at the moment the FCP’s interim leader, he is expected to be acclaimed as leader of the party on Saturday – doubtless much to the annoyance of Mr. Kenney.

For his part, Mr. Anglin should have a chance for a grudge match with his nemesis, Mr. Nixon.

+ + +

Mentions in Dispatches: You can’t make this stuff up!

Andrew Scheer, passing though India, impersonates Her Majesty!

No one’s quite sure who Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was trying to be on his rather theatrical state visit to India in February. Mr. Trudeau was widely criticized, however, and in Canada at least the trip was judged to be a dismal failure.

But when Alberta Opposition leader Jason Kenney went to India last month, he was obviously playing the role of the Prime Minister of Canada. The critics panned his performance as well. Another dramatic fail.

Now federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is in India, apparently auditioning for the role of the Queen, turning up with his wife Jill Scheer for selfies with occasional Indian politicians and at various charitable operations whence he Tweets nearly identical statements about what wonderful work they’re doing.

The lack of interest in the Scheers’ unofficial visit has been noticeable. We await additional theatrical reviews with interest, nevertheless. One of the first, from the Globe and Mail, deemed it to be another fail.

Will Canadian politicians ever learn about the perils of campaigning abroad?

UCP candidates find ways to prolong Soldiers of Odin brouhaha

A couple of Edmonton-Henday West UCP nomination candidates – who apparently missed how desperately Opposition Leader Kenney would like to see the last of the brouhaha about their constituency association’s recent beer-and-selfies invitation to several members of the Soldiers of Odin anti-immigration vigilante group – have opted instead to prolong the story.

Leila Houle suggested to the other two nomination candidates who like her posed for selfies with the members of the group to drop out of the race and leave the nomination to her. She has a better plan for dealing with racism, Ms. Houle told them, floating the notion of an anti-hate task force to monitor hate groups.

Meanwhile, nomination candidate Lance Coulter, contradicting Mr. Kenney’s claims, let it be known yesterday that not only did he know who the Soldiers of Odin were coming, he was supporting their free speech rights by appearing in their selfies. “People have a constitutional right to voice their opinions, and I’m not going to deny them that,” he told the Edmonton Journal. “I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.”

According to Press Progress, Mr. Coulter has a history of interacting with alt-right content on social media.

The third nomination candidate is Nicole Williams. Notwithstanding Ms. Houle’s suggestion, all three plan to remain in the contest.

Will Conservatives now reconsider their support for repugnant Saudi regime?

Now that Saudi Arabia has taken to kidnapping dissidents living abroad, murdering them, and shipping what’s left back to Riyadh via diplomatic pouch, one wonders if the Conservative Party of Canada will reconsider its support for that country’s theocratic monarchy?

Alert readers will recall back in August, when the Saudi government expelled Canada’s ambassador after Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland Tweeted Canada’s support for imprisoned and tortured free speech and women’s rights activists, it didn’t take the Conservatives long to jump to the side of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the power behind the repugnant theocratic regime’s throne.

The Saudi tantrum was obviously caused by undiplomatic Liberal Tweets, they all seemed to think.

Now that the Saudis appear to have been emboldened at home and abroad, it will be interesting to see if the Conservatives have anything more to say. Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, in India pretending to be the Queen, is presumably unavailable to comment.

Hitler’s role in 1918 clarified, thanks to Conservative MP

Finally, a political aide is taking the blame for Calgary Confederation Member of Parliament Len Webber’s recent newsletter article marking the centenary next month of the end of World War I.

The commentary included the observation that by October 1918, “it became clear the Allies were in a position to defeat Hitler and the German forces, and discussions to end the Great War intensified.”

To clarify, the future dictator was still a corporal in the German army in October 1918, much of the month recovering from the effects of a British mustard-gas attack, as a matter of fact. So you could argue Mr. Webber’s mail-out got it right, after a fashion, and it’s mildly surprising the Conservatives didn’t say just that.

Thankfully, Mr. Webber’s newsletter didn’t inform readers Hitler was blown up in a movie theatre in Paris in 1941!

Join the Conversation


  1. I feel sorry for Jason Kenney and for others in the UCP. I do not believe for a moment that he and a large proportion of their members are purveyers of hate and discrimination. They are honest people who want to do the best for Alberta and for all Albertans. I might not agree with them all the time but I do think that it would be folly to paint them with the same brush as some groups in our province.

    But Mr Kenney risks aliening voters by not coming out very quickly and very publicly to distance himself and his party from this each and every time hate and discrimination raises it’s ugly head.

    He needs to be careful, Rachael Notley is getting ahead of him on this issue. This is not Alberta of thirty years ago. The demographics of the Province have changed over the past 15 years.

  2. Quite a potpourri of political events lately, I suppose it actually has been an interesting week in politics and not much of it interesting in a good way for the UCP or Conservatives.

    First, Mr. Anglin seems ready and eager for a rematch. He may be the first of a number of former Wildrose members who are not happy with the heavy hand Kenney takes, although to be fair some of his grievances are from before the arrival of Kenney and his efforts to stomp out those troublesome grassroots.

    Second, the reviews of Mr. Scheer’s passage to India in the Globe and Mail were much less enthusiastic than I expected, even though his costumes were more conventional. This is really not a good sign for the Federal Conservatives.

    Third, in local news yes the Soldiers of Odin saga continues despite Kenney’s attempts to squelch it, but unfortunately his unruly potential candidates can’t seem to shut up about it quite yet – oh please keep talking among yourselves, don’t mind us.

    Fourth, the Saudi’s recent action seem to reinforce that maybe Trudeau’s government actually has a good point about them. The Saudi’s protested our cabinet minister’s tweet made them seem like a banana republic, hmm … maybe it would have been wise for them to lay off the kidnapping and killing for a while, if they didn’t want to to give that impression to the world.

    Last, but not least, Federal Conservative Len Webber seems to have gotten his world wars confused, it was Kaiser Wilhelm who was defeated in World War I, not Hitler. I guess he needs to fact check as well as spell check those newsletters. Normally, a Federal Conservative in Alberta can say all kinds of embarrassing things and as long as they can manage to win the nomination they don’t have to worry, but wasn’t his riding actually one of the closer races in the Calgary area?

  3. It is not just Len Webber who displayed either his ignorance or his sloppiness.

    I have to assume that this proof read by someone prior to publication. That someone was clearly a person with the same attributes.

    Hopefully in the future Mr. Webber will be more careful and will begin the search now for a competent proof reader.

  4. Yup, you certainly have your share of wackos, um colourful characters, wandering around Alberta living in their own little worlds separate from the mainstream or logic. Kenney is a slimeball interested only in himself and his future prospects, reduced to saying Schtum, Schtum to his more volatile and out-of-touch party members to keep a lid on it until he assumes the Imperial robes of Alberta. Like trying to corral a herd of wild horses – these non-thinkers will constantly blabber rubbish after he gets elected. Alberta gets who it deserves, the way I see it. We already saw Notley the social democrat turned by big oil into a vituperative weasel. Apparently it’s in the air. I know I have to avoid talking politics when talking to my relatives there.

  5. I have hesitated commenting on the Soldiers of Odin saga as I have to admit until this story broke I had never heard of them. But I had a conversation the other day with a grain trucker I have hired for many years that I thought was very interesting. A bit of history, he calls himself a small l Liberal so we have some great political debates while loading the truck. So we start loading truck and after a while he brings up the UCP candidates getting their pictures taken with the guys from the Soldiers of Odin, I said to him until this happened I had never heard of them. He looks at me like I am an idiot and says”really”? So as a come back I asked him have you ever heard of the NDP’s socialist caucus? He looked at me with this perplexed look and said what the hell is that? So my conclusion was that if you are very interested in politics you tend to look at and point out the fringe elements of your opposition as a way of discrediting your opposition. As for Jason Kenney, once Lance Coulter revealed that he knew what the Solders of Odin were he was immediately turfed. And in the end unfortunately for the rest of us the real winners are the Soldiers of Odin, look at all the free publicity they recieved! Enjoy your day.

    1. Farmer B,

      I must protest – you’ve set up a false equivalency with your anecdote. Only by greatly oversimplifying any commonalities (yes both groups exist at the extremes of their respective political positions) and by ignoring the rather dramatic ways the groups are different (intimidation and racism are not the same as protesting at caucus meetings) is one likely to judge the Soldiers of Odin are an equivalent embarrassment to the UCP as the NDP Socialist Caucus are to the ND.

      All wrongs are not equivalent.

  6. “ …My commitment to property rights is unmatched… “. This is too rich. The “Freedom Conservative Party” is the vanity & pique creation of Mr Derek Fildepockets, who got in hot water with Jason Kenney after he failed to respect the property rights of some farmer on whose land he shot a deer without permission, and compounded his sin by failing to tell Kenney about it.

    I think Mr Anglin’s cowboy hat is too tight.

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