A dispute that broke out during the Alberta Green Party’s annual general meeting on Sept. 27 at Morningside was resolved last week just prior to the opening of legal actions leaving Rimbey’s Joe Anglin pondering the prospects of abandoning the party altogether with an eye on forming a new political party in the province.
During the September meeting Anglin said the executive of the party, unbeknownst to the membership, met in the parking lot and arbitrarily decided to cancel the meeting, which was called to address the issue of a leadership review.
According to Anglin, over the next number of weeks the executive launched several attacks against himself via the party’s web site compelling him to seek legal advice which included obtaining an injunction that effectively forced the cancellation of another leadership meeting, called by the executive, which was supposed to have been held on Saturday, Nov. 29.
“The people who met in the parking lot refused to recognize the legitimacy of the meeting inside the hall that took place all day, and they would not give up the bank account, control of the website or access to the membership,” Anglin said. “They were contriving to do the whole thing all over again and not only that, they were going to introduce two motions that the membership wasn’t going to be able to debate or even amend.”
Those motions included refuting the leadership meeting of Sept. 27 that resulted in Anglin being elected as the party’s interim leader, that future elections would be held through mail-in votes and a stipulation that no other motions would be considered.
Just prior to the opening of legal actions, the two parties came to an agreement with Anglin and his supporters agreeing to drop charges against the executive, while the executive agreed to cancel the Nov. 29 meeting.
As for the attacks leveled against him personally, Anglin said the comments posted on the party’s web site, which he described as, “horrific” were extremely inflammatory and bordered on being slanderous and gave a clear indication of the lack of leadership in the party.
“I thought it was ridiculous. It was insulting. I think it probably bothered more people who supported me than anything else. Some people are quite angry. For me, it was just so childish and immature that it had no place there,” he said. “Regardless of the people who wrote it, the fact that the people who manage the website allowed it to be posted really shows the problem with the leadership of the party.”
Anglin said he was accused of committing perjury during hearings held in Rimbey in the summer of 2007 however he contends he couldn’t have as he only cross-examined testimony put forth by Alta Link; and that he was fired from a police department in New York for assaulting a prisoner. Anglin, however said he was a police officer in Massachusetts and has never worked in New York in any capacity. Further, Anglin claims the party executive tried to extort him by suggesting they were going to distribute more inflammatory information to provincial newspapers if he did not drop his case against them within 24 hours.
“They didn’t have the courage to call me directly, but the person they did call was shaken up considerably. That person was very upset. But I laughed because they are picking on the wrong person,” Anglin said adding all the skeletons in his closet were turned over to the government by spies hired to investigate himself and members of the Lavesta Group who at the time, were in serious opposition to two power lines that were to be constructed in the immediate area.
“We know this government spent in access of $100,000 on private investigators to follow our group,” he said. “I know they did employment checks on me, they checked my credit history; I even wrote the government on the submission asking them why they needed to know my qualifications. I told them you hired people and spent all that money to background check me, what is it your private investigators didn’t dig up that they needed to know?”
He said had there been anything similar to the accusations made by the Green Party executive against himself, they surely would have surfaced months ago, however that simply has not happened.
“Everything was false. Everything was a threat. But what they didn’t realize was the potential for a crime being committed was very high,” he said. “This was not only extortion, this was a legitimate court case and could easily be construed as obstruction of justice, which is a pretty serious offense.”
Regardless of the legal actions and even a new leadership review, Anglin said in light of the split in the party, he has spent a considerable amount of time talking to his supporters and is seriously considering leaving the party altogether to form a new one.
“I’m not so sure we don’t need a new party. I was engaged in talks all summer long about starting a new party. I know the Liberals are talking about a name change and we talked about it too for the Green Party. We didn’t bring forth a motion but we talked about the possibility of doing it, but in the end it was decided it would be best not to,” he said.
“I’m going to meet with my supporters soon. They’re the ones who supported me and they have a say. I was very disappointed with the whole party and the way this whole thing came out. I’m smart to realize that I live in Alberta and I want to make political change in this province and advance democracy. That’s really my focus,” he added.
Anglin said he believes many members of the Green Party may have their wires crossed a bit and cannot differentiate between a political party and an activist movement.
“There’s a lot of people in the Green Party who don’t want to be a political party and don’t care about getting anybody elected, they just want to be environmental activists, and that’s admirable,” he said. “But I joined the political party to advance a political agenda and it was a tug-of-war within the party. There were many people who said they don’t care if anyone gets elected, they just wanted to effect change.”
For those in the party who are sitting on the fence, Anglin suggests joining a society or club to further their cause and added that a political party is a “different animal altogether” and that the only way to bring about change is to get people elected.
“The reason why I’m thinking of a different party is if in your own party you have people who don’t care or don’t want to get people elected, then you’re constantly going to be fighting amongst yourselves,” he said. “It’s a dilemma and a problem and I really don’t know. We have a few things that need to take place, but from there, I’m hoping to have some direction from the people who supported me and to have some direction from myself because I have to feel comfortable. I don’t want to lead an organization that is split on its most fundamental agenda.”
Anglin said while most of the membership of the Alberta Green Party have the best interests of the environment in mind, they do not realize that Greenpeace for example, is a vastly different organization than the Green Party, and that has created a lot of confusion.
“In political arenas, the public gets confused and what has occurred to me is that inside the political party itself, people are still confused,” he said. “They don’t know the difference between a political party and an activist party. Until we make that decision, we’re going nowhere.”