Day one of our coverage at the United Conservative Party annual general meeting (AGM) at Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary, Alberta is in the bag. We already mentioned that AGMs very often lack the excitement of a leadership debate or an election, but our first evening was actually rather action-packed.
The evening started off rather quietly. We spoke with a few organization leaders and attendees before the event began. Indigenous performers provided vibrant entertainment and humour before the night settled into rather dry governance debates. Party members began to debate a policy change that would increase the threshold of ridings required to agree to a leadership review from one-quarter to one-third — a move that would increase Kenney’s stranglehold on the leadership of the UCP. This is likely to be one of the more significant items as far as the future of UCP being discussed at the AGM, at least from day one.
As the leadership motion was being discussed, a group of about fifty protesters, including Pastor Artur Pawlowski, approached the event venue calling for Jason Kenney to resign. We have some footage of their arrival and our Chief Videographer Mocha Bezirgan caught up to Artur for his perspective on what happened.
You will likely recall that Pastor Artur Pawlowski, who you can learn more about at SaveArtur.com, was arrested and spent three days in jail on contempt of court allegations, and more recently was given an unprecedented soviet-style compelled speech mandate by an Alberta Judge. He joined protesters outside the event and gave a speech which Mocha will bring to you in full in a separate video.
Ultimately, the crowd dissipated quickly and without incident. One UCP member took to the microphone to express concerns that members were still attempting to gain entry to the building, as entry had been delayed by the protesters. We heard several others expressing their concerns that not everyone would have a chance to vote on the important leadership review motion. Despite some members missing the vote and rumours that Kenney had stacked the room to vote in favour of the motion, it failed to meet the 75% required to be approved and was not passed. Ultimately, this means that Jason Kenney’s attempt to increase his stranglehold on the UCP leadership failed, and that a review in the not-too-distant future is more likely.
The remainder of the night was largely filled with more less-than-interesting governance debates, and came to a close shortly thereafter.
We will be back at it all day on Saturday, bringing you the other side of the story from the UCP AGM. If you want to support our journalistic efforts you can make a donation at RealReporters.ca.