Brian Jean Cries Voter Suppression in Leadership Battle

Computerized voter suppression games in the United Conservative Party leadership race? Say it ain’t so!

Don’t take my word for it. This is what Brian Jean, former leader of the Opposition Wildrose Party and now a contender to lead the UCP, says : “Our party committee has chosen a leadership election system where, if things don’t change, over 40,000 party members may not be able to vote.”

Now, can you guess whose supporters most of those UCPers will likely turn out to have been?

And why do you think the party’s top insiders might have done something like that? I mean, other than to ensure they get their way and have Jason Kenney as their leader after the party’s leadership election on Oct. 28?

Mr. Jean is presumably concerned that the system – which he called “complicated” and “cumbersome” – will ensure that it’s much easier for Mr. Kenney’s supporters to register than those of other candidates. With the registration timelines barely publicized and the final deadline to register to vote at 5 p.m. this afternoon, that’s a reasonable assumption.

What’s more, last night at a leadership debate in Mr. Jean’s Fort McMurray hometown, the former Conservative MP accused Mr. Kenney, also a former MP and cabinet member in the Harper Government, of spreading lies about him.

Albertans are sick and tired of lying politicians, Mr. Jean told the forum, the CBC reported . “Right now there is a politician on this stage that his team is lying about me, lying about my Christian values, lying about my position on Bill 6 … even lying about other things.”

The statements complained of by Mr. Jean include claims in a social conservative publication he supports LGBTQ Pride too enthusiastically and elsewhere that he has failed to support the right of Canadians to own assault rifles enthusiastically enough. The anti-abortion publication in question also accused Mr. Jean, who has divorced and remarried, of being a “ libertine .”

Mr. Jean, by the sound of it, denies it all. He is self-described “churchgoing, God-fearing Baptist,” the CBC reported, and presumably properly gunned up as well. Mr. Kenney, naturally, denied knowing anything about it at all.

One has to feel a certain sympathy with Mr. Jean. Confronting Mr. Kenney has been a bit like standing in front of the proverbial juggernaut. So far, the only way conservative politicians have been able to survive has been by getting the heck out of the way, one way or another.

For his part, Mr. Kenney appears determined to combine the worst features of the old Progressive Conservative Party with those of the Wildrose. That is to say, under the former Ottawa insider’s leadership – which is all but a certainty now – the UCP will inherit the entitlement and arrogance of the old PCs and the social conservative extremism of the once-somewhat-grassrooty Wildrose.

Alberta PoliticsWildrose leader complains UCP voting system may be rigged, and not in his favour - Alberta Politics
Wildrose leader Brian Jean must rue the day he ever agreed to take part in a leadership “contest” with Jason Kenney, late of both Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s federal cabinet and the dying embers of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party.

The same, apparently, can be said of Doug Schweitzer, the third candidate in the race to lead the so-called United Conservative Party, although “race” isn’t exactly the right word either.

Both Mr. Jean and Mr. Schweitzer made an astonishing and unprecedented plea to party election officials just before midnight Thursday for electronic voting to be halted immediately because of ongoing misuse of voters’ personal identification numbers.

Postmedia reported that a submission from Mr. Schweitzer’s campaign alleged “secret use of software to falsify the sender’s IP address, expressly designed for the purpose of evading detection,” which the submission described as “suspicious behaviour.”

Yesterday, however, UCP officials blithely ignored the two unhappy candidates and declared that voting could proceed.

Robyn Henwood, chair of the UCP’s leadership election committee, was quoted by Global News as stating, “I am absolutely confident in the system of distributing PINs.”

“It’s an airtight system, we’ve had absolutely no complaints,” she said – bizarrely under the circumstances. “We do an ongoing investigation throughout the entire process and no red flags have come up at all.”

In other words, there’s nothing to see here, folks! Just move along, please.

The two candidates quickly knuckled under and voting proceeded.

So what exactly is going on?

According to the allegations, an official in the office of former PC interim leader Ric McIver, who backs Mr. Kenney, advised Kenney supporters to rig their computers to get around the voting system’s limit of five votes per computer by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) application.

“You will need to download this VPN software to your personal computer if you are going to use your personal computer as a voting station,” a text from the official to a supporter read. “Otherwise you will only be able to have 5 people vote off your computer.”
In other words, a supporter of one campaign can get PIN numbers from hundreds of members who have purchased – or had purchased for them – UPC memberships, then vote for all of them from a single home computer. This is known to frequently happen with elderly voters and in some cultural communities in leadership campaigns.

Naturally, if Mr. Kenney is declared the winner today as expected after suspect voting, UCP officials will solemnly vow to look into the concerns and then later declare all to be well. The accounting firm that would do the investigation is reported to be associated with another of Mr. Kenney’s key supporters.

Mr. Kenney played a central role in Mr. Harper’s election strategy in 2015, which turned out to be a remarkable year for Canadian democracy.

Naturally, if Mr. Kenney is declared the winner today as expected after suspect voting, UCP officials will solemnly vow to look into the concerns and then later declare all to be well. The accounting firm that would do the investigation is reported to be associated with another of Mr. Kenney’s key supporters.


Alberta PoliticsTrailing UCP candidates knuckle under after brief rebellion over evasion of voting limits on home computers - Alberta Politics
it all should be SECURE countable paper
every single time