Alberta Greens slowly wilting

By Daniel Pagan

The Alberta Green Party is on life support after several executives stepped down due to internal struggles last year. The party may lose its official party status because they failed to disclose financial statements to Elections Alberta.

An internal power struggle has plagued the party since Joe Anglin took over as leader when George Read resigned in December 2008. Accusations of hostile takeovers and coups were exchanged and new executives accused the previous chief financial officer of refusing to turn over key financial information and access to bank accounts, which made it impossible to fill out an accurate statement for Elections Alberta.

Elections Alberta communications director Drew Westwater explained that parties can lose their official party status if they fail to submit their statements before March 31. Westwater explained any action would be taken under the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act which requires parties to submit statements with the party’s assets, liabilities, income and expenses from the previous year.

“We have not cancelled the registration of any registered political party as the review process is currently underway,” said Westwater. “The review process can take up to six months or more.”

In an April 6 press release, Alberta Green leader Anglin explained that they retained the service of an accounting firm and were working with Elections Alberta to resolve the issue. Anglin said executives are not appointing a new chief financial officer until legal liabilities from last year are resolved.

“The values, vision and principles of the Green Party are stronger and more popular today than ever before,” he wrote. “We will emerge from this minor crisis stronger and better organized.”

Former Green deputy leader Edwin Erickson disagreed, saying it’s too late to save the party. His frustration led him to form a new party, the Alberta Progress Party, which is in the process of registering with Elections Alberta and will hold its first annual general meeting in November 2009.

He chose this route because he found the Green Party unwilling to change their platform to appeal to rural and former Progressive Conservative voters. He added that former chief financial officer David Crowe would not turn over the books to the new executives.

“Upon looking over the disarray of scattered records in various cardboard boxes, I refused to take on the position and told the executives that I wouldn’t sign documentation based on the available information with a 10-foot pole,” said Erickson.

Grant Neufeld, a former Green member, linked the financial mess to the struggles. Last September, an annual-general meeting was suspended when Green members suspected Anglin and his associates were attempting to takeover the party while provincial Green candidates were campaigning in the federal election. Neufeld said Crowe gave all the necessary files and offered assistance to the new