The members of a contested constituency association board in Wildrose Party’s Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre have resigned.
Edwin Erickson, who was elected constituency president during a fractious annual general meeting in October, said he and 14 other board members are calling it quits.
They were elected after the party’s candidate in the next provincial election, Jason Nixon, and his supporters walked out of the annual general meeting at a Rocky Mountain House hotel on Oct. 15.
The gathering became heated when supporters of the party’s MLA Joe Anglin insisted on voting for their own slate of board candidates.
Wildrose Party officials sided with the original board and ordered a new annual general meeting. An independent review found party rules had not been followed and the new board was not duly elected.
Erickson contends the party broke its constitution by refusing to follow its own rules on how to handle such disputes.
In the meantime, Anglin quit the party and now sits as an independent.
Now, Erickson and other board members are washing their hands of the party.
“The Wildrose are digging their own hole so fast they don’t need any help from us. We feel it’s kind of a lost cause,” he said. “It’s like beating a dead horse. You can see that the party looks like it’s going down the tubes. So why are we fooling around?”
Erickson said he and other supporters of Anglin will continue to back him.
“We are going to try to get Joe elected one way or the other. We certainly don’t plan on dropping our support for Joe.”
Paul McLaughlin, vice-president of communications for the recognized constituency association, suggested the resignations change little.
“That group wasn’t recognized by the executive committee of the party so they really had no legal jurisdiction anyway.
“It was kind of wasting everyone’s time, I guess. So at least we got some closure.”
He dismissed suggestions the party was on the way down.
As Wildrose candidate, Nixon is continuing to work to represent residents in the riding, and responded to suggestions in a recent Edmonton Journal series on health care that Rimbey Hospital should be closed.
“There’s been a ton of local advocacy,” he said.
McLaughlin said the party’s message of fiscal conservatism, among other issues, are increasingly resonating with voters. He said Nixon gets plenty of shows of support when meeting with residents.