“We were appalled … We were completely blindsided. There was no discussion or consultation from the Party with our Board on any level.” - EDA Board
In August, David Yurdiga stepped down as Fort McMurray-Cold Lake’s Tory candidate - one day before Trudeau announced a snap fall election. It was announced that the long-time representative would not be running in re-election for the riding, with officials citing private medical issues. In his place, Laila Goodridge, who resigned as UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, was set to run as the party’s candidate.
The Fort McMurray-Cold Lake Electoral Disctrict Association (EDA) has released a statement today clarifying they do not “support or recognize the undemocratic appointment of the current candidate”. The Conservative Party, in their opinion, has ““grossly failed its conservative values and principles.”
The appointment of Goodridge, the EDA states, severely undermines the fundamental values of Conservative Party supporters and the institution of democracy. They also write that constituents of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas were “cheated of the opportunity to democratically select their candidate”.
Conservative constituents of the areas were, indeed, forced and not given a choice of candidate. The MLA’s appointment form notice to the board cited Section 13 Abridgement of the Rules per the Rules and Procedures for Candidate Nominations, which is not subject to appeal or challenge. The actions of the party also mean that other qualified candidates were robbed of the opportunity to represent their community.
The Fort-McMurray-Cold Lake Board EDA stated that there’s no reason for this appointment to take place. The Board is in good financial standing and fully capable of vetting candidates and running a nomination - even on short notice.
An appointment would also make sense if there were no interested candidates. However, the board assured that within hours of Mr. Yurdiga’s resignation, several requests were received for nomination packages from “outstanding and credible candidates”.
Yurdiga is known for working against the grain of mainstream politics and was ripe to shake things up in Ottawa. Yurdiga has also been an ally to Indigenous people, prior to, and amid recent discoveries of unmarked graves across the country. As TBT’s Director recently stated: “[Yurdiga] believes in handling things together and collectively, pushing for results in all matters. He's not one for theatrics, but honest solutions.”
Goodridge, on the other hand, has faced criticism from the community within her three years of appointment in Lac La Biche. The former Alberta legislature MLA failed to make a concrete statement or take action against the recent unjust expulsion of homeless people .
The EDA also had this to say:
“Conservatives support grassroots democracy, and this EDA always has. We have an elected Board and a paid membership that demands the right to choose their representative and expects our conservative policies and principles be upheld at all times. It has been made abundantly clear that YOUR voice does not matter despite the Party continually promoting itself as a grassroots organization, including most recently in the press release on this very matter. Far too many men and women died defending our Canadian constitution, and no one has the singular right to ignore or customize those rights afforded to all Canadians…
Per Section 15 of the EDA Constitution: ‘We have not abandoned the party; however, the party has abandoned us. It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors to uphold and enforce the provisions of the EDA Constitution.’ Let it be known, our local grassroots EDA Board of Fort McMurray Cold Lake stood for our membership, our constitution, and democracy till the end and will always stand for what is right and ethical.”
The full EDA report can be read below: