Joe Anglin, a Rimbey landowner rights advocate and leader of the now deregistered Alberta Green Party, has launched a lawsuit on behalf of himself and Constance (Connie) Jensen to force the previous leadership to turn over the party’s financial books.
Named as defendants in the case, which was filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Medicine Hat, were former party leader George Read, former party president Susan Stratton and former party chief financial officer David Crowe.
“We have worked tirelessly for more than 18 months trying to obtain the financial information and all our efforts have been ignored, dismissed, or denied. We have exhausted every avenue in our efforts to find a negotiated solution,” Anglin said. “After an individual stole into our web account and confiscated the website address, in effect crashing the Alberta Greens website, we saw no other alternative other than to seek a remedy through the courts.”
Anglin contends that in September of 2008, when the party’s membership had gathered at Morningside Hall for their annual general meeting and a leadership review, the former executive took it upon themselves to cancel the meeting and fled with the party’s financial records, which were critical to maintaining their registration with Elections Alberta.
“The impetus is responsibility,” Anglin said in explaining the reasoning behind the suit. “We’re responsible to the people who donated money to the party and who have a right to know what happened to their money and how it was spent. This is just basic maturity and responsibility to the 40,000 supporters in the province, and they have the right to know what’s going on with their money and their support.”
As for what he may find in the financial records if and when they are turned over, Anglin would not speculate, however he was quick to add that he already has proof of wrongdoing.
“We don’t know what we’ll find, but we can theorize. What we do know is that there have been false election returns filed in the past and we know false documents have been created, and we have evidence of that and some other ethical wrongdoing, and there’s no question,” Anglin said. “When they fled the AGM with the books, we did strike an agreement in December of 2008 and they were supposed to turn all this stuff over to us, but immediately the games began. We never got access to the party’s website either. The passwords to it didn’t work and the passwords to the bank accounts didn’t work.”
Additionally, Anglin will also seek damages for what he believes were defamatory and slanderous remarks posited on the Green party website by the former executive.
“Yes. I’ll be pursuing that, and it’s all part of the case,” he said. “I think what they’re doing is they’re trying to disguise or conceal the fact that the information has not been turned over and they’re trying to divert attention with defamatory or maligning attacks on the new executive, and we’ve refused to engage in that on the Internet.”
Anglin reiterated the point that the former party’s members are “innocent victims” and the objective of the lawsuit is to provide them with answers.
“That’s my ultimate responsibility, but it’s not my goal,” he said. “If I’m able to do it, I’ll be successful and will then turn it over to other people. Who? I have no idea, but my responsibility to the party and the people who supported the party is if I can get it re-registered, I will have done my job and that’s how I look at it.”
And while he said he would like to see the return of the Alberta Green Party, the odds of that happening are very remote and even if the party were to be welcomed back to the political arena, he won’t be the leader.
“I certainly would not stay on as leader and whether I stayed with the party or not would be another matter, but the possibility of actually re-registering the party is almost as remote as winning the lottery. It’s not unimaginable, but it would be extremely difficult,” he said. “A successful court action does not guarantee that the party can be reregistered before the next election, but it will be a positive step toward re-establishing a provincial Green party.”