Take Back Alberta founder, chief ideologist and chief executive David Parker.
Take Back Alberta founder, chief ideologist and chief executive David Parker. Credit: David Parker / Facebook Credit: David Parker / Facebook

Well, it looks as if the United Conservative Party’s (UCP) extremist Take Back Alberta (TBA) faction now controls all the seats on the party’s board.

Some guy named Rob Smith who you’ve likely never heard of if you don’t happen to live in Olds or Didsbury is now the party president.

Rick Orman, who was rumoured to be Premier Danielle Smith’s choice for the job and who had a long history in Alberta Conservative politics, is not.

Last night, David Parker, TBA’s founder, chief ideologist and chief executive, tweeted from the party’s AGM in Calgary, “Veni, vedi, vici.”

That takes a lot of Gaul, if readers will forgive me. 

Actually, when Julius Caesar famously made that observation, he was talking about some place in Turkey. But seriously, who cares? If he did say it as he claimed, in 67 BCE,* it would have sounded like this: “Weenie, Weedy, Weakie.” 

Somehow, this seems appropriate. 

It suggests that what isn’t really a very significant victory has gone to Parker’s head. 

Well, it’s a long time till the Ides of March, but at least Parker has moved on from his Napoleon complex. I wonder if he whistles Hail to the Chief whenever he walks into a room?

I’m here to tell you this isn’t as big an accomplishment as I am sure Parker would like us to think.

Not because the party board doesn’t really control the UCP caucus in the Legislature, although that’s true too. If the TBA cadres who now run the board try to push elected MLAs around, there is sure to be friction, and some of it may set off some entertaining sparks. 

“This weekend begins a new age in Alberta,” Parker blustered on social media Thursday. “After this AGM, the grassroots of the UCP will be in charge. Those who do not listen to the grassroots or attempt to thwart their involvement in the decision making process, will be removed from power.”

I frankly doubt there’s anyone in the UCP caucus who has the intestinal fortitude to stand up against such thuggery. So some really nightmarish policies may indeed become law, hurting many Albertans as intended, but also weakening the political strength of the UCP-TBA.

Still, sitting MLAs may prove harder for Parker to purge than some of his former friends and allies in TBA. 

UCP MLAs are sure to be saying the same thing I am – the caucus knows its own hive-mind, party policy resolutions are just suggestions, yadda-yadda. Just like they told voters in Calgary, when it looked like the NDP’s attacks on Ms. Smith’s screwball pronouncements had given the Opposition party a fighting chance to win last May’s election, not to worry, that as soon as the election was over Ms. Smith would be gone.

No, I mean that it’s not much of an accomplishment because the UCP is already so debased from the days of the Progressive Conservative Party in Alberta that it wasn’t a very steep hill for the conservative movement’s MAGA fringe to climb. 

Parker had made it clear his choice for party president was Smith, although TBA cautiously didn’t officially endorse any candidates – just in case, I guess. 

But face it, while it may be taking a while to sink in with rural voters, the UCP had already gone pretty well full MAGA by the time Jason Kenney was done with it. 

Kenney couldn’t control the demons he let out of the bottle and they devoured him as well. (There’s plenty of historical precedent for that phenomenon, isn’t there? I give you Maximilien Robespierre! Thump.) 

But by the time Parker and his big ego came along and Smith was chosen to replace Kenney, the UCP had already gone down the rabbit hole. Old style conservatives had mostly been run out of the party. The few that remained were having their doubts. 

So election of nine party executive officers was low-hanging fruit for a group like TBA. 

Poor Orman – well, he’s anything but poor, but you know what I mean – called his slate the “Unite the Right Movement.” 

What he forgot was that Parker and his ilk don’t want to unite the right, they want to purge it – of people like him. Too PC, as it were. 

There were a couple of other candidates for the presidency, as well, but they’re already forgotten too. 

A full list of the board’s members is found here. Trust me, you’ll never hear from most of them again. 

Naturally, we look forward to Parker’s reply churlish, in which he will explain why thes TBA victory, and he, are very significant indeed. *Someone’s bound to say BCE is the woke version of BC. Maybe so, but that’s just tough, innit? Learn to live with it. Also, if you’ve ever read Julius Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, you’ll know that the man was a self-publicist on a scale that makes Donald Trump look like a piker. And with no social media! Say what you will, though, bone spurs wouldn’t have kept him out of the army.

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...