Take Back Alberta Executive Director David Parker in May (Photo: Facebook/Take Back Alberta).

According to Take Back Alberta Executive Director David Parker, he has been informed by the Canadian Ditchley Foundation he’s being ditched as a director of the organization. 

In a bitter sounding tweet on the social media site known as X, Parker complained that “the woke mob has succeeded in intimidating the Ditchley board to have me removed. So, I guess you guys are good at something!”

The tweet includes a screenshot of what appears to be part of an email or series of emails from Pierre Lortie, president of the Canadian arm of the U.K.-based Ditchley Foundation and a senior business advisor at the Dentons LLP law firm.

“I am writing to inform you that the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Canadian Ditchley Foundation (CDF) has taken the decision not to recommend your reappointment as a Director of the Foundation for the coming year,” the screenshot indicates Lortie told Parker. 

It is not clear from the material posted by Parker when the decision was made or communicated by the organization, or whether reasons for the decision were given. 

Certainly the brouhaha caused by some of Parker’s recent social media posts, which can fairly be described as unhinged, cannot have sat well with what appears to have be a staid and respectable, if very conservative, organization that likely doesn’t encourage a lot of public scrutiny. 

It can be said, however, that few people would call the Ditchley Foundation “woke” or easy to intimidate. 

Parker’s tweet was followed by a number of not-very-sympathetic responses on the social media site. “I like that you think I’m sad about it,” he said in a riposte to one. 

Parker’s habit of firing off volleys of angry, offensive and insulting tweets is also starting to cause political embarrassment for Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

We know this because Smith used her Your Province, Your Premier radio show Saturday morning to do damage control, responding in particular to a statement Friday by NDP Health Critic David Shepherd. 

“I am deeply concerned by the threats made by David Parker of Take Back Alberta towards the Albertans who work to keep our hospitals open and our ambulances on the road,” Shepherd said in the statement emailed to media early Friday afternoon.

“Parker is a hateful extremist and a close friend and ally of Danielle Smith,” Shepherd’s statement continued. “He claims the credit for Smith’s premiership. His organization claims to hold half the seats on the United Conservative Party’s board and that they aim to take the other half.

“As elected officials, we must speak out against this kind of hateful language. Danielle Smith must immediately denounce David Parker’s threats and attempts at intimidation of healthcare workers. She must tell Albertans if the hateful extremism of Take Back Alberta has set up shop in the Premier’s Office,” the statement concluded.

In what was presumably a question vetted in advance, or perhaps even requested by the premier, host Wayne Nelson read both Mr. Parker’s now notorious shot at Alberta Health Services and Shepherd’s statement.  

“Your response, Premier,” Nelson concluded. 

Smith began: “You know I’m my own person. I think people know that. I think people know that I consult widely and broadly. I listen to Albertans. I listen to stakeholders. I am not controlled by any one person. I am not controlled by an advocacy group. …”

Nelson interjected: “What about your response to Parker’s post on X?”

Smith continued: “You know what? There’s lots of posts on X from lots of people. I think that they should go and respond and ask David Parker what he means himself. I’m too busy.” … 

She paused momentarily, then resumed … “to monitor every single post from every single person, um, on Twitter. It’s, it’s … I listen to Albertans. I take my advice from my caucus, from my cabinet, and we’re moving forward with governing Alberta. I think that this little game that everybody is playing, it sounds like junior high school. I’m not interested. So let’s elevate the conversation. Let’s talk about real issues. …”

This was a typical but not very satisfactory answer from Premier Smith. 

At the very least, the kinds of things Parker has been uttering on X would not be allowed in any junior high school. (Not to mention that this response comes from a politician who, in a previous elected position, was once caught fishing other school trustees’ notes out of a trashcan to send to media.)

The premier, of course, has people who are paid to monitor social media and bring to her attention things she needs to be aware of – as clearly happened in this case.

So “I’m not interested” is a dog that won’t hunt!

The unhinged discourse emanating from Parker’s Twitter account is obviously an appropriate topic for comments like Shepherd’s, who deserves (but will not likely get) a serious response from Smith. 

The Ditchley Foundation governance and nominating committee found a simple and effective way to prevent Parker from embarrassing their organization. 

Unfortunately for Smith, whether or not she is controlled by anyone, the path forward for the United Conservative Party is not as simple when Parker’s TBA cadres already control half of the party’s board of directors and are poised to win more board seats.

David J. Climenhaga

David J. Climenhaga

David Climenhaga is a journalist and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with the Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. He left journalism after the strike...