Friday, February 8, 2008

Randy Thorsteinson contradicts Paul Hinman

I first blogged about the FFWD article entitled "Time to get this party started" back here. In that article, there is another very interesting quote from Wildrose Alliance leader Paul Hinman that the public should know about:

Hinman says that when his party collected its registration signatures in 2002, members informed signatories of the party’s political position before they signed. “That’s what we promoted ourselves on,” he says. “It was, ‘Hey, I’m Paul Hinman. We’re trying to start a new party here in the province…. We think that we need an alternative on the right. Would you mind signing so we can start our party?’”
Why is this important? Well, on January 23, 2008, the main mover and shaker behind the formation of the Alberta Alliance, Randy Thorsteinson, made a post on Project Alberta that completely contradicts Hinman's boasts. This is what Thorsteinson said:
You are correct I was the founder of the Alberta Alliance. Most people including Paul Hinman turned me down when I asked for help in getting 6,000 signatures for the party registration. They didn't see the need for a new party, but I did it anyway without them. I didn't hold a grudge towards Paul or anyone else because they only joined after the hard work of registering the party was over.


Let's go back, and review this again.

In November, 2007, Paul Hinman indicated that he was directly involved in the gathering of signatures when the Alberta Alliance was circulating its registration petition. He even provides an example conversation with a potential signatory in order to demonstrate his involvement.

On January 23, 2008, Randy Thorsteinson writes a post on a discussion board indicating that Paul Hinman had no involvement in gathering signatures, and only got involved in the Alberta Alliance "after the hard work of registering the party was over".

These statements are irreconcilable. Somebody is being less than truthful here.

Either Randy Thorsteinson is discrediting the hard work of Paul Hinman for reasons we can only speculate about, or Paul Hinman is a lazy freeloader who decided to sit back and let others do the grunt work in terms of registering the Alberta Alliance, and has now decided to revise history and take partial credit for the effort.

In either case, the ease with which the Wildrosers make false statements of fact is a bit disconcerting. They are totally unfit for office.

By the way, the thread on Project Alberta that contains the Thorsteinson post quoted herein is now in a members only area of the site. If you are a Project Alberta member, or choose to join the site, you can find a bookmark to the post in my Furl archive (it is currently the second bookmark from the top).

If you would rather not join the site, I can advise that I will be posting a screencap of the damning Thorsteinson post in the next couple of hours.

Update (Feb 08, 2008): I have now obtained a screen capture of the Thorsteinson post:

Randy Thorsteinson's post

Paul Hinman: Wildrose Party founders were "underhanded" and "deceptive"

"Underhanded", "deceptive", and "weird". These are the adjectives employed by Wildrose Alliance leader Paul Hinman in describing the registration drive strategies used by the Wildrose Party's founding members. Hinman's verbal assault can be found in a story that appeared in the November 8, 2007 edition of the Fast Forward Weekly:

In a video on the party’s website, staff advise party members against talking about or even mentioning the party when collecting signatures. “It’s extremely weird,” says Paul Hinman, leader of the rival Alberta Alliance party. “I’m just flabbergasted at the way they’re doing it.” ...

... The Wildrose approach is “underhanded” and “deceptive,” [Hinman] says. “I don’t think you should be able to gather signatures if people don’t know.”
The video mentioned in the article featured two prominent founders of the Wildrose Party: (i) the first Executive Director, Link Byfield (currently running for the Wildrose Alliance in the riding of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne), and (ii) the first VP Membership, Sharon Maclise (currently running for the Wildrose Alliance in Leduc-Beaumont-Devon). The video is no longer available, but the article describes it thus:
On the Wildrose video, vice-president of membership Sharon Maclise instructs members on how to collect signatures using a method with “an 80 to 90 per cent effective rate.” To demonstrate, she does a mock cold-call at the door of party vice-president of communications Link Byfield. She begins by telling Byfield that she’s “registering a new political party here in Alberta.” When Byfield asks Maclise what the party stands for, she replies: “I can stand here at the door and tell you all about what the party stands for, and it really doesn’t do us — you and I — any good at this point. We’re just still trying to get the party registered.”

The video reminds members they’re not selling memberships — “you certainly won’t be able to do that,” says Byfield — and instructs members to focus on apartment buildings instead of residential streets, because apartments generally have younger residents. “Younger people are more open to things,” says Maclise on the video. “They’re more inviting. Sometimes as we get older we get a little more crotchety and difficult.” She then gives suggestions on how to get access to locked apartment buildings.
So, while it is likely true that Paul Hinman's description of the video applies to all those involved in the formation of the Wildrose Party, it is also clear that he was singling out the two Wildrosers who had starring roles in the video - Link Byfield, and Sharon Maclise.

Now, those of you who have been following my blogging may recall that I wrote about the Wildrose Party's bizarre registration tactics in The Wildrose Report. I confess that I likened the registration drive to "a sleazy, door to door, vacuum cleaner sales pitch", described it as "a comedy of errors", chastised the techniques used as "manipulative", and accused the Wildrose leaders of "duping the membership".

What you readers are not aware of is that after I wrote these posts, I second-guessed myself. I pondered whether I had been a little too harsh in my choice of words. While I make no bones about that fact that I am oppositional to the right wing federalists, angry braying and personal attacks are certainly not part of my repertoire.

However, now that I see the bitterness and vindictiveness in Paul Hinman's rhetorical onslaught, I must say that any concerns I had about my own writing seem trivial.

The best I could manage in impugning the registration drive was a metaphor about vacuum cleaner sales pitches. Paul Hinman blows his stack and levels a ripping attack aimed directly at the personal integrity of people who are close enough to him politically that they are now running for the party he leads.

Wow! Hinman is harder on his political friends, than I am on my political enemies. I feel like a wuss.

If I'm going to run with this crowd, I'd better learn to crank things up a notch.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Link Byfield begins campaign ...

... and Wildrose Alliance Watch was there to witness his arrival in the riding of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne.
Link Byfield arrives in Whitecourt-Ste. Anne
Given Link's mode of transportation, it behooves me to raise the question of why he chose this riding to be the launching pad for his bid for a seat under the Dome. What connection does he actually have with the riding of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne?

Well, Link's official announcement states that "Byfield has lived near Onoway for 25 years, and raised a family there". What does this mean? Did Link raise his family in Onoway, due to Onoway's proximity to his actual residence? Does he then consider Onoway to be his home town? How far is his residence from Onoway, and is the residence located within the boundaries of the riding of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne?

Onoway is located in the eastern end of Whitecourt-Ste. Anne, right up against the border with the neighboring riding of Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert. Byfield's use of the phrase "near Onoway" creates the impression that he resides in a rural setting, near the Town of Onoway. But on the "About Me" page at, Link describes himself as residing "near Edmonton at Riviere Qui Barre". Riviere Qui Barre is located about 35km northeast of Onoway, in the riding of Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert. It is not in Whitecourt-Ste. Anne.

The original "Executive" page on the Wildrose Party site describes Link as being a resident "of Morinville". Morinville is located even further to the east, in the riding of Barrhead-Westlock-Morinville. It is about 50km from Onoway, and an entire riding lies between it and Whitecourt-Ste. Anne.

There's more.

After the October 27, 2007 founding conference of the Wildrose Party, Link assumed new duties as the VP Communications. The Wildrose Party website was updated, and Link was then described as being resident in both Riviere Qui Barre, and Morinville:
Link Byfield
No mention of Onoway.

Where exactly does Link live, and, if he does live in either Riviere Qui Barre or Morinville, why not simply admit that he is a parachute candidate rather than using weasel words like "near Onoway"?

I note that is no longer up and running, so I have no email address for his campaign. I'm sure he'll have an email posted there soon, at which time I will seek clarification from his campaign as to what connection he has with Whitecourt-Ste. Anne.

Update (Feb 07, 2008): I notice that Link's campaign website just went up at The "About Link Byfield" page from his 2004 Senate campaign website can now be viewed here.