Monday, April 7, 2014

Alberta PCs adopt ‘negative option candidacy’ for leadership race

AUPE President Guy Smith with a familiar-looking woman, thought to be a government official.
All members of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Legislative caucus will be considered applicants for the party leadership unless they sign a declaration stating they do not intend to run, the party executive has decreed.

“The Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta has adopted ‘negative option leadership candidacy,’” the party said in a statement this afternoon. “Unless you say you’re not running, you’re a candidate.”

Under the “presumed consent” rule adopted by the party, the statement said, every caucus member is automatically considered to be a candidate unless they have specifically opted out in writing or have actually died.

“I have to tell you, including death as a reason for opting out was pretty controversial,” a spokesperson said. “There were those who thought we should try to find a way to bring back Ralph Klein, who we’re pretty sure could still beat the Wildrose Party!”

“Of course, we also welcome candidates who are not members of caucus, like Guy Smith,” said the spokesperson, who couldn’t be identified because no one wants to be identified with the Alberta Tories right now.

Smith, president of the 80,000-member Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said in a statement on the union’s website on April 1 that he planned to join this summer’s PC leadership race. The story was clearly marked “April Fools.”

However, the PC spokesperson said: “April Fools or not, we consider Mr. Smith a candidate, and since he has access to union funds, we figure he can make the $50,000 payment.”

“This is a good thing because we need it pretty bad,” the spokesman said. “I don’t even know if we’d be prepared to let him back out with a notarized statement or something like that at this point!”

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