The Wildrose Party has ordered a new annual general meeting in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding after the last gathering fell apart amid competing factions.
A new board elected at the contentious Oct. 15 meeting has also been tossed and a new vote will be held. A date for the new AGM has not yet been set.
Controversy erupted at the riding association’s Oct. 15 annual meeting when party members supporting sitting Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin faced off against the party’s candidate in the next provincial election, Jason Nixon, and his supporters.
At one point, Nixon and his followers declared the meeting over and stormed out of Rocky Mountain House hotel. Remaining party members chose a new chairman and elected a constituency association board stacked with Anglin supporters.
The bad blood was a spillover from a contentious nomination process in July that saw Nixon elected the party’s next candidate, soundly beating Anglin, who had won the seat for the party in the 2012 election.
A review of the contested AGM election was called for by riding members and an independent review was ordered by the party’s executive.
Wildrose Party president David Yager said the review found party bylaws had not been followed and there were problems with how nominees for board positions were brought forward.
Also cited was “unacceptable behaviour” that led the chairman, Nixon, to adjourn the meeting.
Yager said on Monday that one of the points of dispute was whether the chairman had the right to adjourn the meeting or whether that was required to go to a vote. The report says he had the right to call a close to the meeting given the situation.
“How do you carry the vote in an unruly meeting?” said Yager. “This is almost as practical as it is legal.”
Other problems identified were nominations from the floor and agenda changes without the proper process.
“We believe given more time, we may identify additional flaws with the AGM but the ones identified to date negate the Oct. 15 AGM,” said Yager, reading from the report.
Those requesting a review wanted an answer on whether the second part of the meeting was considered duly constituted and the board properly elected.
“The answer to that is no,” said Yager.
It is recommended that a new meeting be scheduled in 60 to 90 days. That gathering may not happen until the new year given the approaching holiday season.
Yager said, “I don’t know” when asked whether he thought the controversy would hurt the party’s chances in the riding in the next election.
“I would have bet that (Premier) Jim Prentice giving away memberships would have hurt his prospects in the PC (Progressive Conservative) leadership race and the four byelections,” he said, aiming a jibe at the premier.
Anglin supporter Edwin Erickson, who was elected constituency association president at the meeting, could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Nixon did not respond to a request for comment.