by Tristan Turner
The Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock Wildrose Constituency Association (CA) held their Annual General Meeting in Westlock Jan. 20. Approximately 50 members and supporters were present, a number that made the event well attended in the opinion of several speakers and members.
Despite recent setbacks within the party and the entire executive stepping back for personal reasons, the organization elected a new executive and resolved to find a candidate in preparation for what may be an early provincial election. The evening included an opportunity to hear from party stalwarts on the party’s current state.
Former President Barbara Wilson chaired the meeting and expressed concern that no one stepped forward to fill more than half of the CAs executive positions, and those who did were elected by acclamation.
“This CA is going to die if we don’t have people stepping up,” Wilson said, adding there was a need for renewal in the organization.
Jim Turnbull is the new CA President, Fred McDougall is Vice President of Membership, and Edward Goodliffe is VP of Fundraising. Vacant positions include the Chief Financial Officer, VP of Policy, VP of Communications and the CAs Secretary.
The CA acclaimed 10 Directors at Large, a third of the 30 they are allowed, members who assist in general leadership and volunteering tasks, including fundraising drives and events.
Although many announced they were stepping down from their positions on the executive, it was shared they did so for personal reasons and not as a result of the recent floor crossings by high profile party members. They expressed their willingness to assist in other ways.
Despite strong attendance, and the filling of some key positions, several members expressed concern about the average age of members in attendance. One Wildrose member said he hoped the CA could bring in more ‘young people’ between 45 and 55.
Party pep talk
Attendees heard from several party guest speakers who spoke of the recent collapse of the Wildrose caucus in the legislature, where nine members, including leader Danielle Smith, crossed the floor to the PCs. Each of the speakers did their part to lift party spirits.
Former president Barbara Wilson began the proceedings by saying everyone present could use a pep talk. “I’ve never felt so betrayed in all my life,” she said of the recent floor crossings.
Former Morinville Town Councillor and Wildrose supporter Joe Gosselin also spoke at the meeting. Gosselin addressed the group about the need “to quickly find a candidate” for the riding, and shared that he would put his name forward as one of the candidates. “We need a candidate soon, whether the election is in the spring or 2016,” Gosselin said.
Whether the CA will acclaim a candidate or have an election remains to be seen.