Coup attempt against Wildrose Leader Brian Jean

Danielle Smith

It’s out. The story is out.

A new blog by a political strategist is blowing the lid off a coup attempt against Wildrose Leader Brian Jean and is drawing some interesting links to another coup effort that happened two years ago.

You can read the blog in its entirety here:

Here’s the broad brushstrokes: The author of the blog, Nicky Walker, first broke the story that the Lac la Biche St Paul Two Hills constituency had called for a leadership review at the Wildrose October 2016 AGM. She followed that up with the blog today that reveals a series of text exchanges with the would-be coup organizer. The exchanges make these claims: “I’m betting Brian will have to either resign or face a bloody summer by end of June”; “I have 27 CAs lined up to pass motions asking for a review”; “It’s about the lack of leadership. Folks are pissed at Brian for how he handled the Derek issue, the Smith staff still being around.” (Personally I think one of the smartest things Brian Jean did was keep some of the “Smith staff” – they are some of the most dedicated, hard-working and genuinely good people in politics – but I digress.)

Just as revealing was an interview given by one of the board members of the Lac La Biche constituency explaining why he wanted a review: “There’s been some issues in the news that maybe haven’t put Wildrose in a positive light,” said Carl Christensen. “Even more than that, I would say part of it has to do with talk about uniting the right and so on. And some people say that our party shouldn’t have been talking along these lines.”

So there it is: Brian Jean has spent the last year trying to build a big tent party that would attract more centrist voters and build a large enough coalition to be able to win the next election, and a portion of the Wildrose party faithful don’t want to go there. So they want to turf Jean as leader.

When you read Nicky’s piece you’ll see she starts with the story of the November 2014 AGM where the knives were out for me. She witnessed people getting up to the mikes saying things like, “ Stop trying to form government and start representing my opinions” and “If we only just stick to the old beliefs, eventually people will see the logic and will come back.” The assembly went on to vote down policies on equality rights for the LGBTQ community, indigenous rights, postsecondary debt forgiveness, among others.

One piece of information Nicky didn’t know, and which I revealed on my show today, was that it was at the 2014 AGM where I also discovered who was behind a nasty push poll that had been designed to suppress Wildrose support during the September byelections. A “poll” went out asking people to identify their support. When they identified as Wildrose they were played a message that went something like this: “Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith and some of her MLAs marched in Pride where men dressed in women’s underwear and danced in front of children. Is this consistent with your values?” The “poll” was targeted and designed to keep Wildrose voters from coming out to vote during the byelections and it worked: we lost all four seats. I thought it was done by one of our opponents. At the AGM I found out it was done by a Wildrose organizer supported by a Wildrose donor. The effort at the AGM to vote down the LGBTQ equality rights policy was apparently part of an effort to teach me a lesson for marching in Pride.

When the AGM was over I decided I was done as Wildrose leader. With all the nonsense still going on behind the scenes, I have to wonder if Brian Jean is going to come to the same conclusion after his AGM in October. You can listen to my full discussion of these internal intrigues here. And that’s the rest of the story…..

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categorised in: