Letter from UCP
November 19, 2018
I’m writing in regard to your application to seek a United Conservative Party (“UCP”) nomination. The background review of your social media accounts and other online statements has been completed and upon review of this research, the Nominations Committee has deemed you ineligible.
The UCP and our leader, Jason Kenney, have been clear that the stakes in this election are extremely high. Albertans simply cannot afford another term of NDP government. This is why Jason Kenney has committed to ensuring that so-
While I will not detail all of the objectionable content that was discovered during our review of your social media, there was a significant number of posts and statements that you have made or shared that would harm the reput-
As a prolific user of social media, you have made or republished a large number of Twitter posts that were then shared to your Facebook profile. Among these posts are statements referencing immigration and migrant refugees. While there is certainly room for debate and public discourse over immigration policy, the language used in your posts is inflammatory, to say the least.
Appendix A, enclosed in this letter, is a post you made that shares a request to “Save Europe, the West, the World from Islam.” It warns of the ‘danger and destruction of Islam.’ While there is certainly evidence that radical extremism rooted in any religion or ideology is a danger to society, your post labels Islam in general as something to be concerned about. As a big tent party, the UCP rejects this assertion and welcomes Albertans of all religious backgrounds to join our party. In fact, the UCP has nominated a number of candidates of Muslim belief along with dozens of others who come from a variety of religious backgrounds.
In another post (Appendix B, also enclosed) that originated on Twitter and was shared to your Facebook, you’ve retweeted a post from an account called “Red Pill” that states, “Tranny Rapes 10-
Your republishing of language to the contrary is extremely concerning. In a number of posts you’ve made on social media, you write about perceived issues of media censorship. The UCP believes that a free press is a fundamental pillar of democracy and will always defend the rights of media to report the facts free of interference from government, however, your arguments go far beyond reasonable discourse on the subject. On multiple occasions, you’ve referenced the Holocaust and the mass murder of European Jews as though they are somehow equivalent to what you perceive as media censorship.
Appendix C depicts two of your posts wherein you quote German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller’s poem that describes the horrific plans of the German Nazis to systemically murder Europe’s entire Jewish population. In both posts, you quote the phrase “first they came for the Jews” in reference to a judge-
sacrifice fighting the evils of Nazism in World War II. This kind of comparison would be viewed as entirely unacceptable by Albertans and is certainly not appropriate public discourse for anyone aspiring to be a United Conservative candidate.
On a number of occasions, you have taken to social media to republish statements and writings of the infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website, InfoWars (Appendix D). Mr. Jones is best known for perpetuating his disturbing narratives around school shootings in the United States, wherein he attempts to convince the public that these horrific acts of violence against children have been faked or staged by agents of the U.S. government. Mr. Jones has gone as far as attacking the families of the victims of violence to incite his followers. The UCP vehemently rejects the lies perpetuated by Mr. Jones and will not subject the party to the tremendous risk of reputational damage by allowing individuals who make statements of agreement with Mr. Jones or Infowars to stand as a candidate for the United Conservative Party.
While there are many other examples of concerning posts you’ve made on social media, I will conclude this communication by referencing another Facebook you’ve shared, referenced herein as Appendix E. The attached is a post you’ve shared that compares Planned Parenthood with German Nazism. While I acknowledge that many Albertans hold strong personal beliefs on the issue of abortion, the invocation of the swastika and Nazi imagery in your post is something the UCP will not tolerate from prospective candidates.
I recognize and acknowledge that this communication will be disappointing to you. The party also recognizes your constructive efforts over the years to contribute to and build the conservative movement in Alberta. However, your productive efforts for the party cannot allow us to overlook the multitude of inappropriate and offensive statements you’ve made over the years on social media. Should these statements be known to our opponents or the electorate and attributable to a nomination contestant or general election candidate, the damage to the reputation of the United Conservative Party would be immense.
For these reasons, the Nomination Committee has deemed you ineligible to seek a United Conservative nomination.
Executive Director -
Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to address the concerns that you raised in your letter of Nov 19. Before I specifically address your concerns, I would like to tell you that I am a firm believer that Justin Trudeau won the 2015 election partly because he engaged with millennials on social media. I have repeatedly been told that conservatives must do a better job of engaging on social media. I have tried to do that in a compassionate, polite and caring tone. As you know, I have engaged and of course the basis of your concern is whether that has been beneficial to our cause or not. I have many examples of where I believe it has been and I will give you just one before I address your specific concerns.
My example is a discussion with a lady by the name of Karen Brown. On twitter she is Leftist Karen Type @Albertagirl46.
At some point in the past she commented, not positively as I recall, on something that I was saying about trade. I am certain you can find the entire thread if you wish I just want you to consider our last few direct messages between each other.
Me: Thanks. Have a nice weekend. #family more precious than gold. Take care.
Karen: Thanks. You too. That is one thing we can definitely agree on.
Me: I enjoy the discussion. Call if you care to visit on the trade issue or
any other. 1-
Karen: Thanks Danny. I enjoy the discussion too. You make me think about different perspectives. Would enjoy a conversation. Take care.
Me: I will await your call. Thanks.
I don’t claim that everything that I do on social media is perfect but generating civil discussion across ideological differences is my goal with each and every tweet. And very often I do succeed. Karen’s response is confirmation that a positive, polite, respectful engagement with our opponents, in their own words, encourages them to ‘think about different perspectives’
Now your concerns which involved seven of approximately 45,000 tweets. I have been assured by party representatives, Mark and Nick, and I have confirmed with Janice Harrington that the sole basis for the party’s objection to my candidacy is the seven tweets presented to our team by Mark and Nick on Monday Nov. 19, 2018. Consequently, we will address our comments entirely to these seven tweets.
I agree that we want to be a big tent party welcoming to all. And I also agree that there is a distinct difference between moderate Muslims and radical Islam. And I believe that as you say Elsa’s post was referring to radical Islam and asking folks to pray that Europe be kept safe from radical Islam.
However, I strongly disagree that what I said labels Islam in general as a concern. To repeat: What I said was: Time to pray for Europe and the refugees. Pray for the refugees: As most of the refugees are of course Muslims (like many of my friends including my family doctor of 40 years) I was asking people to pray for Muslims and to keep their new homeland and them safe from radicalism. My request to pray for everyone was not condemnation of anyone. It was a plea to everyone involved in the prayer chain to ask God’s assistance in helping the world to recognize both the plight of the refugees and the concerns of Europeans. It was urging compassion and God’s blessing on everyone rather than judgement on anyone.
Surely, praying for compassion and understanding for all sides of any issue is something that our UCP would be proud to espouse? Is it OK to pray in the UCP?
Appendix B: Tranny rapes ten-
Your allegations miss the key point of the RETWEET. Being upset by the rape of a child by anyone is the issue and my transgendered friend has thanked me for speaking out.
Is there a place in our party for women who don’t want to be raped and the men who try to defend them? Is it OK to be opposed to rape in the UCP?
The committee seems to be inferring that I am comparing the media ban to the Holocaust. Nothing could be further from the truth. Martin Niemoller was a German Lutheran pastor whose original quote was reminding German intellectuals in particular and people in general of the evils that can befall society when good people fail to rise up and speak up against injustice.
The entire quote is here:
First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
The point of the Niemoller quote is to point out as he was trying to do the evil that can befall society when ordinary folks do not speak up in all instances when they see infringement on fundamental rights. In this case I was affirming my support for both freedom of speech and for freedom of the press.
My point was and continues to be that freedom of speech and freedom of the press must be defended for all speech not just for speech with which we agree. Is it OK to defend freedom of speech/freedom of the press in the UCP?
I am not a supporter of Alex Jones. However, I do respect the truth wherever I see it. Over the course of several months I retweeted him twice on issues that I felt would interest our conservative base. I believe that it is a completely unreasonable leap of logic to conclude that I support Alex Jones. As you know, I retweeted him in 2017 and as his tweets have become increasingly bizarre I have stopped retweeting him. Surely, we are not at a point in our society or our party that we cannot forward the truth if we do not like the messenger? Is it OK to speak / tweet the truth in the UCP?
Planned Parenthood. I appreciate your concern about the politics of this tweet. I also agree that calling someone a Nazis in the context of not being able to win the argument is a shabby and counterproductive debating technique and I would not want to be in a party that casually or carelessly invoked the imagery of the swastika. But Planned Parenthood has been supportive of the aborting (and in some cases the sale of their body parts) of some 60 million babies over roughly half a century. To those of us who believe in the sanctity of life, including the unborn, this is a slaughter of genocidal proportions. A historical fact.
The tweet is clearly about guns and abortion. The point of the post was to convince folks that abortion has killed far more people than guns and that abortion is a lot bigger threat to life than guns. Particularly for the unborn. Period.
However, I do regret having RETWEETED the post and as a candidate, I would apologize for having done so. Is it OK to remember history in the UCP? Is it OK to speak in defense of the unborn in the UCP?
We are a Conservative party that supports and promotes freedom of speech, limited government and individual rights. It is a strategic error to allow our political opponents to dictate our use of language or ideas including failing to engage on social media. Sometimes in consequence there are rough edges to communications and when that happens it’s appropriate to apologize. But other politicians have shown that folks are longing for a factual, respectful discussion and that honest discussion is not only possible, but that it is powerful.
I believe that I have worked as tirelessly as anyone in Alberta for the benefit of our party, our province and our future, including trying to engage with both supporters and thoughtful adversaries online. I believe that I make our party stronger, and I hope that upon reflection you will too.
Is there a place for me as a candidate in the UCP? Our team looks forward to a positive response to our appeal.
If your response is indeed Yes, our answer is a grateful THANK YOU.
However, after having considered our written presentation you feel inclined to say No, I would request a tele-
Thank you, Danny.