Airdrie-East United Conservative Party (UCP) MLA Angela Pitt has found herself in the midst of a partly battle about a Twitter post of clowns that was posted on Friday (April 22) by the Chief of Staff of a UCP Cabinet Minister and prompted more thoughts of party infighting.
The tweet, which has since been deleted, came from Bryan Rogers, Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda's Chief of Staff. It was in response to a newspaper opinion column on April 22nd by the Calgary Sun's Rick Bell that quoted some UCP caucus members, including Pitt, Airdrie-Cochrane's Peter Guthrie and Leela Sharon Aheer, the MLA for Chestermere-Strathmore as well as other UCP members in criticizing Premier Jason Kenney, saying they would vote against him in his current leadership review.
The column quoted Pitt as saying, “This is a guy (Kenney) who promised to listen to Albertans but went out of his way to do the exact opposite. We’ve been living inside the government in a culture of fear and intimidation.”
Rogers' tweet came just two days after Kenney said Albertans were growing increasingly unimpressed by the ongoing soap opera. In it, he dismissed the criticism saing it came from the "same old crew." The short video clip was from the TV show "The Simpsons" and showed a group of gyrating clowns.
Pitt took to the social media platform herself, shooting back, "This is exactly the kind of bullying and intimidation that happens every day from the Premiers staff. MLAs provide dissenting opinions and they are ridiculed like clowns or called insane."
Below Pitt's Tweet, Twitter posed, "This Tweet was deleted by the Tweet author."
Aheer retweeted Pitt's and said "The corruption comes from those in leadership roles who believe that they are the smartest people in the room. Time to find a different room. Our party and our vision has an opportunity to revitalize and renew through a leadership race."
Party members are currently voting on whether or not Kenney will remain UCP leader with 60,000 eligible to cast ballots. The votes must be in by May 11th with the results coming on May 18th.
Earlier this week Kenney said if 50 percent of the voters don't vote in favour of him he'll step aside but also said that if he does win he expects all caucus members to fall in line and present a united front to defeat the NDP in the next provincial election in 2023. The vote was originally to be held in person on April 9th in Red Deer but was changed to a mail-in ballot only weeks before. Some of Kenney's opponents don't trust that the results of the vote will be fair.
Kenney also said this week that he has been too easy on party dissenters.
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