Presidents of 33 constituency associations (CA) do not want the United Conservative Party (UCP) to change the location of Premier Jason Kenney’s leadership review.
The special general meeting (SGM) scheduled for April 9 should remain in Red Deer, urged a letter sent to UCP Board President Cynthia Moore, Executive Director Dustin van Vugt, and board members on Monday.
“Please note these were achieved through consensus, with no single president opposing any of them and all supporting supporting them to you,” read the letter offering five recommendations to ensure a smooth process in Red Deer.
To alter the format now would cause members hardship, make the party appear to be “disorganized” and could be perceived as “underhanded,” stated the letter obtained by the Western Standard.
The CAs were responding to reports that logistical changes were being considered to accommodate more than 13,500 new members who signed up to vote by the March 19 deadline, as well as potentially thousands more who already hold UCP memberships.
The UCP is expected to meet Tuesday evening to discuss holding the event in three cities over three days instead of the planned one-day in-person event.
Any changes to the voting process must be put to the full party executive board for ratification.
“Many of us appealed to you about holding this meeting with voting polls in each constituency. Then we suggested holding votes in each city with population exceeding 10,000, ”said the letter.
“You decided Red Deer was the location and told us one site helped secure the integrity of the vote. We think to change this now becomes an even greater logistical difficulty to ensure volunteers exist in multiple cities. ”
“Further, every member registered to attend has done so knowing that Red Deer is our location. They have made their travel arrangements and, in many cases, booked accommodation, perhaps non-refundable. To change now makes us look disorganized and unprofessional. ”
“We have known for weeks now that our numbers were going to be much larger than the 2,500 originally expected; to change the location after the membership deadline to vote may even be perceived as underhanded. ”
The CAs want the party to hold the SGM at the Red Deer’s Cambridge Hotel as planned.
“With proper organization in the most efficient rooms, line-ups, and crowd control, 20,000 votes are readily cast in this facility,” said the letter, offering potential solutions to anticipated parking problems such as shuttle service from Red Deer College and Westerner Park. .
A recommendation was made to extend the hours of voting on Kenney’s leadership from 9 am to 9 pm
“Given the simplicity of the question, and with the effective organization of polling lines and stations, 20,000 voters are handled successfully and without exceeding the fire code requirements of the Cambridge Hotel.”
Considering the “need for dozens of polling stations” the CAs recommended increasing the number of scrutineers to include CA treasurers, and vice-presidents to assist CA presidents currently tasked with the job.
Finally, they called for voter lists to be managed on paper and not electronically to avoid any power glitches due to the volume of votes cast.
Dozens of CAs displeased with Kenney’s leadership voted to hold an early review of the premier.
“We appreciate your work on achieving a successful SGM. We strongly support you in this endeavor and are confident that our recommendations assist with the achievement of an SGM that reflects positively on our UCP and that are all proud of. We would also like to extend to you that many of us with experience in this sort of event are willing and pleased to assist you in any way that we can, ”read the letter.
The UCP has been warned by many Albertans not to change the vote agenda.
Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standar