Apparently I was not the only one to write to party HQ expressing a concern about potential floor crossings back in September/October. According to Graham Thomson:
On Oct. 27... the party's office manager, Heather McMullen, wrote an e-mail to a well-wisher spelling out what the party would do in the event an MLA wanted to jump to the Wildrose: "As for floor crosses, we have a policy in place that any MLA wishing to cross the floor will have to first sit as an independent, then gain the support of the Executive of the party and Constituency Association, and prove that their decision is also supported by the residents in that riding. They can't just cross and assume we will take them on. I hope that helps alleviate your fears."
Wildrose party officials say McMullen spoke out of turn...
Perhaps she forgot to take a number? What I didn't mention in my post of last night is that I actually got a response from one of the party executives in regard to my concerns, and it was consistent with Heather's email with respect to 1) the support of the party leadership 2) the support of the constituency association and, last but not least, 3) evidence that the decision is supported by voters of the riding, to wit, "voters in that riding are entitled to a byelection if they want one (a competent opinion poll would suffice for evidence)."
Are "Wildrose party officials" going to say that this party executive "spoke out of turn" (or alternatively commission a poll)?
There was, to be sure, a qualification, namely, "None of this is really capable of being sorted out... before [a party leader is chosen on] October 17th..." But according to Liza Yuzda's report of January 5th: "...party policy had been to require a by-election for 'floor-crossers' but when it came to reality..." So there WAS a policy... right up until it came time to actually implement it! The "reality" was that if by-elections were held, Alberta taxpayers might be saved from having to pay the salaries of the defecting MLAs for months! No doubt the Pay & Perks Task Force weighed in on this one given that politician pay is "so important to Alberta taxpayers."
I'm being snide, of course, but really the lesson from all of this in my mind is that the party should continue to run under the new brand of government-in-waiting that can appreciate nuance as opposed to the old brand of populist protest party keen to lecture all and sundry about "grassroots democracy" from a lofty perch safely removed from any complexity or real decision making.