An update appears mid-post in Italics.
It has been a very interesting week.
At the end of the work day on Friday, Alberta Party President Pat Cochrane sent out a message to people who subscribe to emails from the party (although the subject line indicates it was intended for members).
To all the members who received this message yesterday and were unaware of my departure, this message is exactly what needed to be said. They would feel reassured that their party stands for something, and abhors sex crimes committed on youth. They would even feel the party wants to stand up for victims of such crimes. This is a very good thing, and is exactly what those members should feel.
However, to all those who were aware of my post yesterday, this message rings a little hollow. They would be aware of the fact that I departed from the party because the party did not take a stand as their first reaction. They would be aware of many of the messages of support I received on social media. They might not be aware of the nearly dozen phone calls and dozen more private messages I received yesterday providing support for my departure and even considering it themselves, but they might suspect I would have had those conversations yesterday. And unless they live in Highwood, they would likely not be aware that the radio picked up the story yesterday, too.
They would see this new email as exactly the right message, issued far too late, to the wrong people. It should have been the first response, to stand up for victims, to take a stand as a party, and to reassure members and Albertans that the Alberta Party is a truly principled party who fights for those who need a hand. It should have been sent to the media, so that they could have helped spread the word that the Alberta Party is strong. By being one more voice to stand up for victims, perhaps the silent victims would feel a bit more confident in reporting crimes perpetrated on them, as it seems such crimes are one area of weakness for our justice system.
But it wasn't.
It was a response sent almost 45 hours after the original response which was, despite my recommendations and advisement, woefully inadequate. It was a response sent 20 hours after the phone call conversation I had with the same Pat Cochrane who wrote the response; a conversation in which I was told to "trust the people in the party making the decision, because they know more than you do" (obviously oblivious to the implications it had on me and other members professionally). It was a response sent 8 hours after my public departure, with a litany of people expressing their support and concern over the party's actions. It was reactive once more.
There are many people who have seen this whole exchange, and it has shaken their faith in the party. I know, because I've had conversations with many of them in the past 24 hours. I'm sorry your faith is shaken, but I understand. There may still be hope for the party, but many of you are absolutely right, they must get back to their grassroots in order for that hope to be realized. I encourage you to keep on fighting for prosperity, fiscal and social responsibility, sustainability, democracy and quality of life, and if you think the Alberta Party can make that happen, stick with it.
What I've seen this week has shown me the party hasn't the capacity in its current form to do it. But I'll still be fighting for those principles. So for those who live in Highwood, I have a message for you.
I'm not going anywhere. I'm here for you. And I'll be stronger than ever.