The only two women vying for the leadership of Alberta’s PC Party have both dropped out of the race. Sandra Jansen and Donna Kennedy-Glans — socially progressive voices within the party — both gave notice on Tuesday that they were withdrawing.
Jansen cited intimidation and harassment for her decision.
“This past weekend in Red Deer has left me quite shaken. As you know, I have been a member of the PCAA [Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta] since 1985. I have volunteered for several leadership campaigns, constituency races, party president contests and more than a few general elections,” she said in a news release.
“In all of that time, I have never before experienced harassment like that which occurred up to and including this past weekend in Red Deer.”
‘Filled with filth’
In the release she said she has been harassed online and her social media feeds have been “filled with filth.” The final straw in Red Deer was when “insults were scrawled on my nomination forms.”
“Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”
She also cited Jason Kenney’s tactic of busing in youth delegates to the convention in Red Deer and said longtime youth members were “pushed aside from executive positions so one candidate could garner a few extra delegates.”
Stephen Carter, a well-known political operative in Alberta who was a “volunteer strategist” for the Jansen campaign, said he was shocked by what happened over the weekend.
“I’ve been involved in politics a long time, and some people might even say that I’m a practitioner of some of the more challenging parts of politics, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Ever,” he said, laying the blame on the Kenney campaign.
He said volunteers with Kenney were harassing Jansen over her support of LGBT rights and a “woman’s right to choose.”
“We had everything but the desire to continue to fight that type of race,” Carter said when asked if the campaign had acquired the necessary 500 signatures.