Paul Hinman in 2010, when he was the Wildrose Alliance MLA for Calgary-Glenmore; Mr. Hinman says he’s still the leader of the Wildrose Independence Party (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

The internal battle over who leads the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta continues, with former Wildrose Party MLA Paul Hinman insisting he’s still leader and the party’s board saying he’s been replaced on an interim basis by Calgary engineer Jeevan Singh Mangat. 

Mr. Hinman more recently, in a WIP video (Photo: Screenshot of Wildrose Independence Party video).

The two WIP leaders even appear to have their own presidential pages on the Alberta separatist party’s website – although Mr. Hinman’s won’t likely be around much longer since the opponents in the party he calls “the Gang of 10” have the keys to the web account.

Mr. Hinman told me yesterday from his home in Raymond in Alberta’s deep south that he expects the dispute will be resolved at the party’s July 23 annual general meeting in Red Deer. 

He’ll happily accept the judgment of party members whatever it turns out to be, he said. “I’ll be very much at peace, whatever way it goes.”

As for whether the board will even allow the leadership question on the agenda, party Communications Vice-President Kathy Flett responded to my emailed query yesterday by directing me to Board President Rick Northey. I haven’t heard back from Mr. Northey, though. 

This is of interest because in June 2021, with Mr. Hinman still clearly at the helm of the WIP, support surged for the party, created in the 2020 merger of Wexit Alberta and the Freedom Conservative Party. According to an Angus Reid Institute public opinion poll at the time, it hit 20 per cent. 

Calgary engineer Jeevan Singh Mangat, who the WIP Board says in now the party’s interim leader (Photo: Wildrose Independence Party).

This happened while Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s personal popularity was in freefall, dragging his United Conservative Party down behind him. 

Since then, of course, Mr. Kenney has announced his departure, the UCP is engaged in a leadership contest to replace him that will carry on until the fall, and the governing party’s polling shows signs of recovery. 

If WIP support turns out to have been a flash in the pan, that could make the Alberta NDP’s path to victory more difficult. 

Mr. Mangat has a low political profile and, other than his bio on the WIP website, a very small Internet footprint. His Twitter account describes him as a UCP member.

Mr. Hinman, by contrast, is a well-known veteran of the right-wing fringe of Alberta politics. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at the Premier’s Stampede Breakfast in Calgary yesterday morning (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Once upon a time, he was a director of the now defunct Alberta First Party. He led the Alberta Alliance from 2005 to 2008, and the Wildrose Alliance in 2008 and 2009, when Danielle Smith took over as leader. He served a single term as MLA in the Cardston-Taber-Warner Riding between 2004 and 2008. In 2009, he unexpectedly won a by-election in Calgary-Glenmore for the Wildrose Alliance, but was defeated in the 2012 general election. 

In 2017 he ran up a flag up the pole about running for the leadership of the United Conservative Party. No one saluted.

Mr. Hinman became interim leader of the WIP in 2020 and when no one else seemed to be all that interested, and became permanent leader in 2021 under similar circumstances. 

He ran under the WIP banner in last spring’s Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche by-election, which was won handily by Brian Jean, campaigning for the United Conservative Party on a platform of dumping Mr. Kenney.

CTV Edmonton reported on June 29 that Mr. Hinman and members of the party board were on the outs over who was in charge.

The board issued a statement saying Mr. Hinman was no longer leader, CTV said. Dark hints that he’d used party money he wasn’t supposed to circulated, and were reported, vaguely and unsourced. 

Mr. Hinman denied them then and denies them now – saying yesterday that he has had disagreements with the board over whether he should be paid full time, and how much. “I don’t care what’s out there in the news about it,” he said. “I sleep well at night.”

Some board members are angry that the party hasn’t been getting the financial contributions they’d expected, he added.

According to Mr. Hinman, “we hope to put the fire out on July 23rd.”

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13 Comments

  1. Nothing like pretend conservatives and Reformers putting their own warped ideology above the common good of Albertans. Sadly, there are people who are fooled by this.

  2. Well, wouldn’t that be a coup?

    An Alberta political party dedicated to serving the right-wing, Christian-nationalist sympathetic, conspiratorially minded base elects a non-white, south-Asian ethnic leader. I know Alberta is weird, but this trails down the path into dementia.But this is also an indication of the level of desperation that goes with keeping these protest movements/political parties together.

    I recall years ago when there was this engineered resurrection of the old Alberta Social Credit Party. Long-time political activist and “motivation expert”Randy Thorsteinson was at the helm and was looking to smash the corrupt and complacent Alberta PCs. And things were going well, for a time. But internal fighting (doesn’t it always) did them in. In this case, the SoCred membership became concerned over the abundance of LDS members that were popping up among the party’s executives. Since the Evangelicals with have no truck with the Mormons, the civil war brewed and exploded, leaving the ruins of the party in its wake.

    I suspect that the WIP is in similar dire straits. Making up the excuse that Hinman misappropriated funds is pretty rich for a party that has, materially, no funds and no chance of securing any. So, it had got to be that, not unusual in CON circles, no one likes the leader and wants a new one, pronto. But why become the new leader when the membership is going to drum up another excuse to them? As I said before, dementia. Alberta style.

  3. Ho hum. Just one more looney-tunes fringe party on the extreme right. They appear and disappear like soap bubbles around the bathtub drain, with about as much relevance. They should thank Jason Kenney for raising their profile when he needed extra votes to defeat Rachel Notley in 2019.

    With the UCP’s “anyone but Kenney” faction in the ascendant, Notley will have to up her game for the next election. Now’s the time to prove they have a vision beyond more oil and gas.

    1. Mike J Danysh: Something tells me the UCP won’t last much longer. I have a feeling about that. It’s going to get really ugly, within the next year. The head honcho of the UCP will exit from Alberta politics, and may even try and resurface in the federal political arena. Or, he might be some type of well paid lobbyist.

  4. No surprise whatsoever.

    At the end of the day does it really matter?

    It is not as if this party comes close to registering as a serious contender based upon their ongoing machinations and their recent electoral numbers.

    I find it all somewhat encouraging. Internal issues, no money, etc. The very last thing we need in Alberta is an ultra right wing Wildrose Independent MLA. We already have far right flakes in the Legislature today.

  5. More fake conservatives fighting amongst themselves ,gee what a surprise. Hinman is so damn dumb he hasn’t bothered to think about what separation would do to us seniors. Giving up our old age security payments,Canada pension plan payments, and public health care benefits is a no brainer but this fool doesn’t get it.Tricking stupid seniors is the game, with a lot more privatization as the plan , and who gives a damn about who gets hurt as long as I get elected is the attitude. When lawyer Marilyn Burns asked me to become leader of the Alberta Alliance Party I never once thought they intended to bring this brand of stupidity to Albertans and I don’t think they did . Things all changed when these reformers got control. Their mandate of screwing Albertans out of their wealth while we fill our pockets and those of our rich friends with their money and force them into a lot more privatization is what they are famous for and most Albertans are no longer buying it. The younger generation isn’t as dumb as they want them to be. Following their senior relative’s actions and believing the lies isn’t happening anymore. These young aren’t as easy to fool.

    1. Alan K. Spiller: These pretend conservatives and Reformers don’t create jobs, they only destroy them. Their record shows this. Ralph Klein was like this, and also the UCP are like this. Paul Hinman will be the same, as will Pierre Poliveire. We recall what nurses and teachers went through in Alberta, under Ralph Klein. These pretend conservatives and Reformers also do not care about those on limited incomes, or retirees either. Their concern is for their rich corporate friends. Even the head honcho of the UCP was in the CPC, where people had their life savings totally vanish in the income trust fund disaster, where $35 billion was wiped out. The head honcho of the UCP, and Pierre Poliveire never had any sort of job, outside of the political world, so they know nothing about the struggles of everyday people. When they retire from politics, their political pensions won’t be affected like others will. None of this is any good.

  6. Well, perhaps in a few months there will be even more potential candidates for the Wildrose Independence Party leadership – some disgruntled UCP leadership candidates that did not win. If she doesn’t win the UCP leadership, I could see Danielle Smith fitting in with them quite well. Of course, she is also quite an opportunist, so she might instead just turn into another Ted Morton, who happily takes home cabinet minister pay, while all the while continuing to grumble.

    There is an existential dilemma for the UCP. If they elect a leader who is more mainstream, they risk losing support of the more angry people they stirred up, to the Wildrose Independence Party. If they play to them too much, they risk losing broader voter support. At this point, polls do not mean much until the UCP decides who will be their next leader.

    Mr. Hinman who is more experienced, would obviously seem to be the better choice for the WIP leadership right now, but that assumes whatever internal problems are not as serious as those against him claim. However, in the long run, getting rid of him now could provide an opportunity for someone else, say from the UCP, to come in the fall and take over. So maybe there is a method to the Wildrose Independence Party madness here.

  7. Wondering why many Alberta politicians tend to look like the town crackpot … I remember some of these coots actually made it to university, and were one-issue loudmouths who saw things a certain way and grandly assumed that everyone else should agree with them. Challenged, and if unable to supply a logical answer, they would instead regard you sneeringly as “one of them, eh?” And make sure to not waste their time by crossing swords with you again. After all, there’s always someone else to try and browbeat. Wingdings, we used to call them, and the topic wasn’t often politics per se. However, if one of their kind did happen to be a political POV proselytizer who never listened to anyone else’s opinion because, “well, it’s wrong, and only I’m right”, then my personal fevered imagination conjures up the visage of Hinman in the lead photo.

    As for the other nitwits’ pix presented following one of a now used-up looking Hinman no longer in his prime buffet days, I have simply no idea what their excuses are for being nincompoops. But I understand, and rumour has it, that there are some competing theories extant for the behaviour of the last gentleman, some of them indeed apparently quite unkind about the man under the cowboy hat.

    [“This speculation must stop at once!” By Joint Order of the UCP and Wildrose Mountebank Party High Command. “These reckless rumours started by Justin Trudeau are an affront to every decent Albertan, and are typical of the unfriendly attitude of the Trudeau Liberals to grassroots citizens of this province. Trudeau comes from a privileged jet set whose inability to think like a good convoy trucker is apparent in everything he says. Consequently an executive order has been proclaimed that nobody is to believe any Trudeau-generated rumour. Those found guilty of doing so will be charged under the Alberta Critical Infrastructures Act for getting in the way.

    Signed Poppakenney, Premier (ret’d), Monsewer Hinman and Someone or Other.

    NB (not PS): Poppakenney wishes to advise my adoring public that my collected memoirs will be available late Fall 2022, published by Fotheringay & Watson, Christian Publishers for The Word of God Blog, Sundry Editions, AB.
    Price: One Pepe Poilievre Bit Coin
    $1.00 equivalent of Alberta Independence Good as Gold Cyber Currency from every sale will be donated to the Retired Petroleum Investor Fund Lottery Corporation and the Preston Manning To Be Endowed Memorial Foundation.]

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