Thursday, January 31, 2008

Alberta Alliance Watch and Wildrose Report announce merger ...

... and will henceforth be known as Wildrose Alliance Watch:

This blog will remain up, and the odd post will still be made here, but when that happens, I'll link to it over at WRAW.

See you on the other side.

Monday, January 7, 2008

No news today on the Alberta Alliance's censorship attempt

I haven't heard from, which surprises me a bit, but I notice the documents at the centre of this censorship attempt are still in my account, and are still viewable. In fact, in just two days, they have generated more views than most of the other political documents in my account, which have been available for months.

Given that the documents are still available, has obviously not granted the Alberta Alliance's censorship request - at least so far.

Back in this post, I said this:

I will not be pulling them [the documents complained of], until I have had time to decide if there is any merit to this copyright business. If I decide a political party does have copyright over these kinds of documents, I will pull them. I can't imagine this is the case, but I don't honestly know.
While my research is not totally complete, I have completed enough to state that, under Canadian law, the Alberta Alliance doesn't have a leg to stand on. I own the copies of these documents, and the Alberta Alliance has no copyright. Even if they did have copyright, their copyright wouldn't apply to me, because my activities are considered to be "fair dealing".

Let me expand.

I am described in the complaint as "an unknown individual". This statement is false. I write under a pseudonym - as do many writers - but I am in fact well known to the author of the complaint. She knows I write this blog, and she knows I write critical commentary about the Alberta Alliance Party and its policies. She knows these things very well, yet she chose to omit any reference to any of this in the complaint.

But my background as a critical commentator on the affairs and policies of the Alberta Alliance is highly relevant to the copyright issue, which lies at the centre of the complaint. People are allowed to copy documents protected by copyright if their purpose is research, criticism, review, or reporting. These exceptions are known as "fair dealing". (See sections 29 through 29.2 of the federal Copyright Act.)

I posted my copies of the old Alberta Alliance Constitution and Policy Book on in support of my political writing. Think about it. What other purpose could I have? Political research and writing is the raison d'etre of Alberta Alliance Watch, and the laws of fair dealing apply to me in the same way they apply to everybody else.

It's time you Alberta Alliance members started to figure things out.

I am allowed to dissent, and I am allowed to support my dissenting arguments with the documentation that I deem necessary. Your party's attempts to inhibit my political research, and stifle my writing, with a trumped up, incompetently drafted complaint, proves that the people running your party are in over their heads. These people don't belong in public office - where they could do some serious damage.

By the way, the complaint contains another factually false statement. The Alberta Alliance describes the copy of the draft constitution I posted as a "confidential" document.


I obtained this document in the summer of 2006 off the Alberta Alliance website. It has been sitting on my hard drive ever since. This document was available to the public, and most certainly was not confidential. Here is a screencap of how the Alberta Alliance website used to look. I don't specifically recall if this is the page I used to obtain the constitution, but it was something along these lines. As you can see, in the past, the Alberta Alliance was distributing the party constitution free of charge to anybody who wanted one. I did want one, so I paid for the bandwidth to download it, and that is how I came into possession of it.

The only possible explanation for this blatant falsehood is that the Alliance knows it has no basis for a valid complaint, so it is attempting to add some heft to the thing by suggesting I obtained possession of a "confidential" document through improper means.

It is a banana republic tactic, and the ease with which the AAP fabricates facts is, to be frank, a bit spooky.

The complaint should be withdrawn forthwith, and the Alberta Alliance should cease and desist from harassing me with these frivolous allegations.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Alberta Alliance scribd complaint update

Just wanted to advise that I have made the changes to the document titles in my archive, so that there is now no possibility of confusion regarding the currency of the AAP documents.

I have also started up some bookmarks to assist in keeping track of documents relevant to the complaint. There are some before and after screencaps there showing how the (i) AAP Constitution, and (ii) AAP Policy Book looked when I first posted them, compared to now.

I am now prepared to defend my right to engage in political research, make copies of relevant documents, and publish my commentary and criticisms in this humble online journal.

The next step in this matter will likely be an email from, asking for my take on things. I plan on publishing it here, along with my response.

Please check back.

Alberta Alliance files complaint against Alberta Alliance Watch

Well, I expected a hostile reaction from the Alberta Alliance in response to my most recent post, and the very reasonable requests contained therein.

The Alberta Alliance kook brigade showed up in both my comments and email. I let one kooky comment through, in order for you to experience a taste of what one has to put up with when doing adversarial blogging about Alberta's right wing parties. I fully expected this kind of thing to happen; it comes as no surprise. For obvious reasons, comments have now reverted to their default status.

The Alberta Alliance itself chose not to respond directly to my email, even though their CFO, Jane Morgan, recently went to all the trouble of photoshopping a little joke about my comments policy. So, I turned comments on, especially for her, and got no response, or, to be more accurate, no response in my comments.

The response I did receive came in the form of a complaint about yours truly filed with another website. I hold an account on, otherwise known as the "youtube for documents". It allows members to publish, share, and discuss all sorts of written files. As this post indicates, I uploaded some completely accurate copies of publicly available Alberta Alliance documents, namely, a copy of the Alberta Alliance's 2006 constitution, and 2006 Policy Book. The Alberta Alliance is now asserting that this amounts to a copyright violation, and are demanding that pull the files.

The Alberta Alliance's complaint can be read here. They are apparently quite proud of it. Notice how Jane Morgan has redacted the URLs, and cc'd the thing to the Party President, Randy Thorsteinson.

Ooooh, I'm getting scared.

How to respond?

Well, in my view, there is one potentially valid point in the complaint. If someone came across the documents without reading my post, wherein I state that both of these documents are dated, they may come to the conclusion that the documents are currently in effect. I am going to rename the documents, to clarify that they are no longer in effect.

I will not be pulling them, until I have had time to decide if there is any merit to this copyright business. If I decide a political party does have copyright over these kinds of documents, I will pull them. I can't imagine this is the case, but I don't honestly know.

If I decide that there is no merit to the copyright complaint, I will do my best to convince to keep the documents up. However, given that they don't have a dog in this hunt, they may pull them anyhow, just to stop the whining.

Then things will get interesting.

Be advised that I have every intention of preserving my right to publish non-copyrighted political material from any and all sources.

This right wing attack on free expression will not go unchallenged.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

An interview, and an email

One of the details of the merger that has been a source of some concern has to do with policy. What policies will the "new" party be advocating during its first campaign? This is a critical question, because the election platform will serve to position the "Wildrose Alliance" on the political spectrum, and thereby forever define it in the minds of the voters.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

There is no mention of policy at all in the Notice of Special General Meeting available on the Alberta Alliance website. (A copy of the Notice can be found in this post on The Wildrose Report.)

In a January 2 radio interview, Alberta Alliance Leader Paul Hinman announced that all current policies of the Alberta Alliance will become the policies of the post-merger party. (More evidence that this "merger" really amounts to the Wildrose Party being absorbed in toto by the Alberta Alliance.) The full interview is available here:

Rob Breakenridge interviews Paul Hinman - Jan 2, 2008

If you move ahead to the 4:55 mark, you will hear Hinman say: "Basically, we are accepting the Alberta Alliance policies, and the Wildrose constitution". He then goes on to tell us that there is great similarity between the current Alliance policies, and those in effect at Wildrose: "Very few [policies] are contradicting; generally they're all the same." (Starting at the 5:25 mark.)

I found this passage to be a bit odd when I first heard it, because my understanding is that the entirety of Wildrose Party policies can be found here. There are a total of 6 policies.

The Alberta Alliance policies can be found here. The AAP policy book is a 30 page sleep-inducer consisting of dozens and dozens of policies. Wildrose has no policies in most of the areas covered by the AAP, yet Paul Hinman is trying to convince us that the two policy platforms are so similar that they essentially amount to carbon copies of one another: "Generally, they're all the same."

How is nothing, the same as something?

Now, I'm sure you Alberta Alliance members will be quick to point out that I am referring to a dated, 2006 policy book, and that policies were substantially modified at the November, 2007, Alberta Alliance policy conference.

This may be, but the Alliance website still seems to contain the old policies. Given that the new policies are an integral part of the merger, I think they should be made public. After all, in order for Wildrose members to come to an informed decision on the merger, they need to know what it is that they are agreeing to.

I'll bang out a quick email and see if I can get an up-to-date copy of the Alberta Alliance policy book, along with some other documents that we need to review.

Update 01/05/08: I have just sent the following email in to Alberta Alliance CFO, Jane Morgan:

This should get some action.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A merger mea culpa

In response to a comment made under this post on The Wildrose Report, I said:

... I doubt the WRP [Wildrose Party] would want to tarnish its image makeover by aligning with the Alberta Alliance.

There will be no deal between the two before the next election.
Apparently I was wrong. Alberta Alliance propagandist Jane Morgan has gleefully disclosed that a "merger" deal between the two right wing federalist rump parties is indeed in the works. According to Jane Morgan's post, the "merger" will proceed if six resolutions are passed by the tiny Alberta Alliance membership at a Special General Meeting to be held on January 19, 2008. These are the resolutions:
1) the Alliance changes the name of the “Alberta Alliance Party” to the “Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta”.

2) the Wildrose Alliance adopt new Bylaws substantially the same as those of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta”.

3) the Wildrose Alliance immediately conduct election of officers.

4) the Wildrose Alliance call and provide notice of an Annual General Meeting to be held by May 1, 2008.

5) the Wildrose Alliance accept all the assets and liabilities of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta”; following the acceptance of the merger by members of both the Alberta Alliance and the Wildrose Party at their respective Special General Meetings.

6) the Wildrose Alliance allow all members of the “Wildrose Party of Alberta” to exchange their membership in the Wildrose Party for a membership in the “Wildrose Alliance” for the unexpired term.
In addition to the foregoing, it appears to be the case that Paul Hinman will remain on as leader, post-"merger".

Now, I have read some comments to the effect that these proposals, if adopted, represent a Wildrose Party takeover of the Alberta Alliance.

I disagree.

If the "merger" goes ahead under these terms, it is in fact the Alberta Alliance that is taking over the Wildrose Party. Look at the key elements of this so-called "merger":
  • The legally registered Alberta Alliance Party will change its name, but will remain as the post-"merger" party of record for the purposes of Alberta's elections laws.
  • The current leader of the Alberta Alliance will become the leader of the "merged" entity.
  • All assets and liabilities of the Wildrose Party will be assumed by the Alberta Alliance.
  • All Wildrose Party members will become members of the renamed Alberta Alliance. The Wildrose Party will cease to have members, save for a few holdouts. (This should increase the average post-"merger" IQ of both parties.)
  • The current Wildrose Party, stripped of assets and members, will presumably disappear.
I do feel a bit sorry for the grassroots members of Wildrose, who have been working their tails off for the last six months to complete the registration petition. Months of knocking on doors, standing outside of malls, getting harassed and harangued, only to have their efforts thrown away by a completely incompetent Executive Committee. Bizarre.

I never would have guessed a group of self-proclaimed leaders - even right wing federalist ones - could be so callous and dumb.

No wonder my prediction of "no merger" turned out to be wrong.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My number one reader

Just wanted to thank the reader with the Calgary IP who seems completely enthralled with this site. Obsessed, even.

This person has been known to initiate up to 42 page views here in a 24 hour period. Today, they were even rooting around in the Wayback Machine for archived versions of these pages.

Blogs are meant to be read, and good blogs do develop a following. I must say I never thought these posts were sooooo good that someone would be driven to read them over and over again, but, to each, their own.

So thank you, whoever you are.

Update: Hmmm. It would appear my number one reader is "Knave" from Project Alberta. I thought it was one of my anonymous "fans". I have a couple of people who send me little love letters from time to time, and I got my wires crossed in terms of figuring out the IP for one of them.

A mistake on my part.

Knave is very open about his real identity, so I don't think he would mind me mentioning it here. He is Rhys Courtman. I don't know Rhys, but from what I can see, he is a real pro. I'm glad he stops by here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Alberta Alliance beats rap

From yesterday's Edmonton Sun:

RED DEER, Alta. — Charges under the Election Act against the Alberta Alliance Party and a company run by its former leader have been dropped.

A trial was to begin this week involving Cascadia Motivation, a company run by Randy Thorsteinson of Red Deer, but charges related to election spending were dismissed Aug. 3. No reason was given as to why.

A $115,000 debt was generated when Thorsteinson led the party during the 2004 provincial election campaign. The party paid Cascadia for brochures, advertisements and other promotional materials. Under the Election Act, a debt needs to be held by a chartered bank, but in this case the money was simply owed to Cascadia.

Alliance Leader Paul Hinman said paperwork had been undertaken to have the debt moved to a chartered bank.

Hinman said the money was reported properly with Alberta Elections, but another party became aware of the situation and complained.
Source (click for full screencap):

Click for full screencap

Hinman's explanation is worth repeating:
... paperwork had been undertaken to have the debt moved to a chartered bank.
In other words, according to the Alberta Alliance, it's perfectly okay to violate the law, so long as you take steps to bring yourself back into compliance with the law after you have been caught and charges have been laid.

I wonder if Paul Hinman thinks this should be the process for other violations of the law? If a person is caught shoplifting, and gets charged, should the charges be dropped if they go back into the store and put whatever it is they stole back on the shelf?

Perhaps I should send Paul an email after all, and get this cleared up.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Coffee with Paul Hinman?

I found this bizarre:

I just roll my eyes when I read his blog. He writes about things and tries to make them sound like "news".

Like the time he posted that the Alliance had the same address as Cache-flo Synergy Inc. (my office) *gasp*. It was no secret. Yet he seemed to think it was worthy to write about.

His favourite target is Paul, yet he has declined invitations from Paul to meet over a coffee.

I think he likes to see himself as an important "watchdog" and I would agree, likely a PC supporter.

Posted by: Jane Morgan | August 09, 2007 at 05:11 PM
According to Jane Morgan (the Alberta Alliance's Chief Financial Officer and recently defeated candidate in the Calgary Elbow by-election), Paul Hinman wanted to buy this pony a double-double.

I don't recall ever receiving the invites.

Perhaps they got caught in the spam filter, and have long since been deleted.

Jane Morgan's comment did get me thinking about how I would have responded to a coffee invite from Paul Hinman if in fact I would have received one. To be blunt, I am interested only in Paul Hinman's public political positions. A year ago, I may have counter-offered to do an email interview, which would have produced a clear record of my questions, and an equally clear record of Paul Hinman's evasive answers.

Now, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

I have bigger fish to fry.

When you think about it, this is quite a statement. Not even a lowly blogger like moi is interested in expending the minimal time and energy necessary to interview Paul Hinman.

I may be interested in an email interview with Robert Leddy, though. I would like to discuss this.

Jane, if you run into him circulating the Wildrose registration petition, can you tell him I'm looking for him?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What is Robert Leddy up to?

The Alberta Alliance's putative candidate for the next provincial election in the riding of Edmonton Millwoods has a post up asking people to assist the Wildrose Party in getting registered by signing their registration petition:

I have had the chance to meet with representatives of the new Wildrose Party of Alberta who are interested in competing for a chance for the top spot. At this time the Wildrose Party is trying to get 7000 signatures from Albertans to officially register this new Party for the next election.

I strongly encourage people to sign the petition to register this Party. You do not have to join or vote for the Wildrose Party if you do not want to but you would be recognizing this Party's right to exist and to allow your fellow Albertans a choice in the next election.
Given that a strong Wildrose Party would likely wipe the Alberta Alliance off the political map, it would appear that Robert Leddy has unwittingly been drafted to cut his own political throat ...

... unless of course he has secretly decided to seek a Wildrose Party nomination sometime in the future. I'll leave comments open on this post in case Robert Leddy swings by to clarify his intentions.

Paul Hinman: "non-entity"

From the blog Corridors Of My Mind, Objects Of My Interest:

The only obstacle to a major sea change in Alberta is that there are no credible alternatives. Party names notwithstanding, Kevin Taft is too academic to connect with people, Brian Mason is a putz, who probably doesn't even plan to run candidates throughout the province, and Paul Hinman is a non-entity.
Life back on the farm near Welling must be looking pretty damn good right about now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Calgary Herald ignores Alberta Alliance in latest reporting on poll numbers

There is an old adage in politics: 'Any publicity is good publicity'.

Well, given that this is the case, a July 29, 2007 story in the Calgary Herald on a recent Leger Marketing poll represents more bad news for the Alberta Alliance. A full screencap of the story can be accessed here:

Click for full screencap

The reporter, Paula Beauchamp, makes absolutely no mention of the Alberta Alliance in the story, even though the AAP has a seat in the house. She does mention the Green Party, however:

According to the poll, support for Kevin Taft's Liberal party is at 19 per cent, while the New Democratic Party sits at six per cent and the Greens at five.

I also note that Calgary-based pollster Cameron Strategy has ceased asking about the Alberta Alliance in its polls. Look at the chart reproduced in this post at The Alberta Liberal Archive.

Now, I'm sure some of you Alberta Alliance members will attempt to explain these omissions by conjuring up some whacky conspiracy theory about how the liberal MSM is doing you in.

Grab a brain.

The reason the Alberta Alliance isn't appearing in the reporting is that, on the basis of all the evidence, it has become irrelevant to the legitimate political news organizations in this province. They aren't going to waste space reporting on a party that really doesn't factor in to the electoral picture.