UCP board mem­ber quits party

For­mer MLA says loss of grass­roots in­put in­flu­enced his de­ci­sion to leave

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA GRANEY [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/Em­maLGraney

ED­MON­TON For­mer Con­ser­va­tive MLA and UCP board mem­ber Ian Dono­van has re­signed, cit­ing back­room deals, the party’s “dic­ta­tor­ship”-like con­trol by leader Ja­son Ken­ney and party brass, and ques­tions swirling around mul­ti­ple nom­i­na­tions.

A sup­porter of the United Con­ser­va­tive move­ment since its in­cep­tion, Dono­van wrote in an email to his col­leagues on the Card­ston-Sik­sika UCP board he “can­not be part of a party that has lost its way.”

“It has be­come ob­vi­ous to me that Mr. Ken­ney has de­cided that the party is more im­por­tant than the peo­ple it was to rep­re­sent. It’s sad that such a good idea has been hi­jacked by the party lead­ers and head of­fice,” he wrote.

Dono­van told Post­media Sun­day af­ter­noon the on­go­ing dis­si­pa­tion of grass­roots in­put in the UCP guided his de­ci­sion to leave.

He said he first started scratch­ing his head dur­ing the fall sit­ting when UCP MLAs re­fused to vote on the abor­tion bub­ble-zone bill.

“I worry when the party comes in and has ul­ti­mate con­trol — or the leader has ul­ti­mate con­trol — over ev­ery­body,” he said.

“It might be a con­tentious is­sue, but as an MLA you need to pick a side.

“To tell your MLAs, ‘You’re leav­ing the house and not vot­ing on this is­sue at all,’ it reeks a lit­tle bit of dic­ta­tor­ship stuff to me.”

Dono­van said he kept hop­ing what he sees as top-heavy con­trol would change, but that it hasn’t hap­pened.

He is par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about the host of con­tro­ver­sies around UCP can­di­date nom­i­na­tions for the 2019 elec­tion, in­clud­ing an of­fi­cial com­plaint to the elec­tion com­mis­sioner by High­wood MLA Wayne An­der­son, ques­tions around for­mer UCP can­di­date Jeff Call­away be­ing a “kamikaze” can­di­date for Ken­ney, and de­lays to the UCP can­di­date nom­i­na­tion in Red Deer South.

Even in his own con­stituency, he said, party mem­bers were re­stricted to four hours in which they could vote for a nom­i­na­tion can­di­date.

“(Party lead­er­ship) want to have very tight con­trol of what their can­di­dates are do­ing, which I can un­der­stand for the bozo erup­tions and what­not, but … that also tells me — when peo­ple are sit­ting around a cau­cus ta­ble, are they go­ing to be able to have a free vote in the leg­is­la­ture?”

Dono­van was elected as Wil­drose MLA for Lit­tle Bow in 2012 and crossed the floor to the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives in 2014.

He said Sun­day he left Wil­drose be­cause he was be­ing told to vote on some­thing — just like what he’s cur­rently see­ing in the UCP.

Dono­van isn’t sure where he’ll find his next po­lit­i­cal home and is still search­ing.

“If I feel (some­thing) is crooked and cor­rupt, if I’m sit­ting there watch­ing it still hap­pen, I’m just as bad as what’s go­ing on be­cause I’m not do­ing any­thing about it,” he said.

UCP spokesman Matt Sol­berg said “vot­ers ren­dered their de­ci­sion on Mr. Dono­van dur­ing the floor-cross­ing and the 2015 elec­tion that fol­lowed.

“Al­ber­tans are ready to move be­yond the past,” he said. “We re­ject the idea that United Con­ser­va­tive mem­bers in Card­ston-Sik­sika have been un­der­mined, given that nearly 3,500 votes were cast by mem­bers of that rid­ing in the can­di­date-se­lec­tion process,” he said in an email.

I worry when the party comes in and has ul­ti­mate con­trol — or the leader has ul­ti­mate con­trol — over ev­ery­body.


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