According to an increasingly influential segment of the United Conservative Party’s social conservative base, Albertans who have taken to social media to assail an ally of party leader Jason Kenney for the bigotry evident in his comparison of the pride flag to the Nazi swastika are nothing more than “the politically correct, thought policing, left-wing Twitter mob.”
That’s the word from the so-called Wilberforce Project, the anti-abortion group previously known as Pro-Life Alberta, which has been working hard below the radar since at least the end of last year to nominate as many UCP candidates as possible to, in its own words, engage in “political advocacy on behalf of the pre-born.”
But apparently the group casts its net a little wider than its principal effort – which has nothing to do with slavery, by the way, despite the group taking its name from William Wilberforce, the 18th and 19th Century British anti-slavery campaigner.
The recent troubles of Mr. Kenney’s friend John Carpay, for example, were apparently just too much for them to resist.
Accordingly, the group has launched a NationBuilder page under the heading “I stand with John” that includes a petition demanding the UCP “maintain John Carpay’s membership in their party, and stand strong in the face of the left-wing, politically correct, Twitter mob’s attacks against him.”
According to the campaign, when the activist litigator for various social conservative causes said “it doesn’t matter whether it’s a hammer and sickle for communism, or whether it’s the swastika for Nazi Germany, or whether it’s a rainbow flag, the underlying thing is a hostility to individual freedoms” … it was just an accident us liberal snowflakes took it the way we did.
In his speech to a rally in Calgary organized by the alt-right Rebel Media video blog, the NationBuilder pitch explains, Mr. Carpay “accidentally gave the impression to some that he believed the Swastika and the Rainbow flag were comparable.” (Emphasis added.)
Wouldn’t you know it, those “leftists” just ignored him when he “issued a statement clarifying that he did not intend to communicate that comparison.”
Mr. Carpay is a bright man, and seems like the sort of fellow who carefully thinks about every word he utters. So whether or not the leak of a video of his remarks took him by surprise, it seems unlikely he intended to say anything other than what he did say.
That of course is not the way the former Pro-Life Alberta sees it. “The aim of the radical left in attacking Carpay is simple: hurt the reputation of a good man in order to damage the work that he is doing … and all those associated with him,” goes the group’s argument.”
I imagine right now that Mr. Kenney would have been just as happy if the Wilberforce Project had dropped the public manifestations of its support for Mr. Carpay, which soon found its way into general commentary on social media.
Behind the scenes, though, not so much, perhaps. Increasingly, it appears as if the Wilberforce Project is the activist heart of the UCP. Which is why, of course, Mr. Kenney is unlikely to tell Mr. Carpay to move on.
The Envoys – not a musical group – to seek bold oil price solutions
Premier Rachel Notley announced yesterday that her NDP Government has appointed three “special envoys” to “work with key energy leaders on bold solutions for closing the historically high oil price gap that is robbing the Canadian economy of more than $80 million a day.”
They are Robert Skinner of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy, former Alberta Energy deputy minister Coleen Volk, and the premier’s former chief of staff, the often-controversial Brian Topp.
It was Mr. Topp, who managed the 2013 campaign for then B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix with less than stellar results, who nevertheless attracted most of the shots from UCP supporters on social media.
The envoys will report back soon. “All available options are on the table.”
Kerry Diotte set to sue U of A student newspaper
Kerry Diotte, the Edmonton Griesbach Conservative MP who recently threatened a defamation suit against several young people who criticized him on Twitter, is now suing the University of Alberta student newspaper over a pair of related articles that appeared on its website.
The former Edmonton city councillor and Sun Media columnist filed a statement of claim against the Gateway Student Journalism Society yesterday. Unlike the earlier letters, this development was covered comprehensively by mainstream media.
This time, Mr. Diotte does not appear to be represented by Arthur Hamilton, the high-profile Conservative Party of Canada lawyer who sent letters to Bashir Mohamed and several other young people demanding a full retraction of comments suggesting that by posting photographs of himself with prominent white nationalist Faith Goldy, Mr. Diotte was supporting her views.
Mr. Mohamed’s lawyer said his client “will vigorously defend any attempt by Mr. Diotte to restrict his right to free expression, particularly on matters that are the very heart of his right to political and democratic expression.”
In the action against the Gateway, which became public yesterday, Mr. Diotte is represented by Jonathan Denis, who was minister of justice in Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative cabinet.