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Friday, July 24, 2009

Jeff Willerton enters Wildrose Alliance leadership race

Willerton-small I’ve been getting emails from friends in Wildrose Alliance circles that Jeff Willerton has met the $10,000 requirement to become a candidate in the party’s upcoming leadership race.

I spoke to Willerton today and he confirms that he has, in fact, met the requirements to become a candidate. He's in.

While Willerton has plenty to offer Alberta fiscal conservatives, his candidacy will no doubt energize social conservatives.

You can learn more about Willerton here.

(Picture: Jeff Willerton)

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on July 24, 2009 | Permalink


I don't think Jeff is in the same league as Danielle or Mark. The majority in the party are opposed to leaning too far right and don't agree with his views on seperation. I have spoken with Jeff numerous times, and he is very well spoken and means well. Unfortunately his attacks on Danielle's libertarian views may have lost his chances of being a viable candidate. He doesn't seem to see the difference between Libertarian and Liberal as he calls it. I did like his comment on Chandler radio that she is hot.

Posted by: Alberta Altruist | 2009-07-24 12:14:27 PM

While another candidate is a positive for the party, Willerton strikes me (from his website and those I've spoken with) as someone whose skills would be better utilized within the party, not as leader. He doesn't seem to encourage the 'big-tent' ideology the Wildrose Alliance is striving for and will ultimately need in order to upset the Stelmach P.C.s.

Posted by: Leigh Patrick Sullivan | 2009-07-24 12:24:14 PM

If this is the same Jeff Willerton then it sounds like he is following in the footsteps of Bill Whatcott.


Posted by: Ashley | 2009-07-24 2:11:46 PM

Is this the kind of strange thing that can be expected from the Wildrose Party if Jeff is elected leader?

Posted by: Ashley | 2009-07-24 2:16:21 PM

Jeff is likable enough and very bright, however, I suspect that he and Mark Dyrholm will end up vying for the same type of members so Danielle will handily win the leadership race. Given her team's current momentum, maybe even on the first ballot!

Posted by: libertybelle | 2009-07-24 2:25:46 PM

Willerton's views are certainly nowhere close to mainstream Alberta, so it will be interesting to see how his entry into this race will effect the dynamics of this contest.

The success of candidates like Danielle Smith will depend on the ability to moderate the extreme elements in the WRA. If she can broaden their tent without alienating the WRA base, she may be able to create a serious challenge to the PCs.

Posted by: daveberta | 2009-07-24 4:16:27 PM

This race is about selling memberships. It is not about appeasing the press, being attractive or any given issue. The most memberships win. Plain and simple. The fact that Danielle will surge the party forward and beat Stelmach is not yet important.

Posted by: Dennis Young | 2009-07-24 8:41:29 PM

Jeff Willerston is certainly off to a good start... a good start if he wants to alienate the female and libertarian wing of this party. First Craig Chandler started this nonsense of calling Danielle a liberal out of sheer nastiness. Now Willerston is pulling a 'me too'.

Willerston says he respects Danielle Smith, but then goes right ahead and calls her a liberal, based on items that have absolutely nothing to do with provincial powers. Mayber Willerston could run for MP?

All that aside, I do believe Willerston is a far preferable candidate than the guy Craig Chandler is running. I am leaning heavily toward Danielle Smith on the strength of Link Byfield's endorsement; that said, if she is not a clear winner on the first ballot, I will throw to Willerston, despite my objections to his style.

Posted by: Devon Evans | 2009-07-24 8:44:40 PM


You make it very clear that the threat is Dyrholm. First Smith supporters attack the candidate and then his campaign workers. The members can smell desperation. What actually has helped me decide my support for Mark os all the attacks on him and his team. I checked Mark out and his team and I was very impressed.

If Danielle does win, winning by alienating Chandler or others does not help our party at all.

We need to unite together NO MATTER WHO WINS and the nastiness from Smith supporters will not allow this to happen.

If we do not all remember the enemy is Stelmach, this was all for nothing.

Dyrholm has some experienced workers and campaigners. We should work with these people. The same can be said for Smith. I am very happy we have two great candidates.

My choice is Dyrholm # 1 and Smith # 2 and Willerton? Thanks Jeff for the $10,000 donation to the party.

Posted by: Kevin Egar | 2009-07-24 10:48:15 PM

I'm voting for Danielle Smith but if she doesn't win I'm quitting the party.

Posted by: John Madison | 2009-07-25 6:24:50 AM

A Challenge.

To all those who are Wildrose Alliance Members that post here or anywhere for that matter.

If you must post do not be-little the other candidates or their team members.

Debate on policy etc...

We need to unite behind whomever wins and the way I see things continuing this may be very difficult.

I plead with you for the sake of the party.

Just my two cents.

Posted by: Craig B. Chandler | 2009-07-25 11:09:20 AM

@ Craig B. Chandler: After you, Craig.

You still have not, to the best of my knowledge, retracted your objectionable smear of Danielle Smith, that she is a "Liberal/liberal". Nor have you, so far as I have seen, engaged Danielle on policy.

Until you take back and apologize for the damnable slur you have attempted to tag Danielle with, you pleas for principled campaigning are a bit hollow.

I look forward to you doing the above so as to place the Wildrose Alliance leadership campaign on the high road we all agree it ought to take!

BTW -- on policy -- do you and Mr. Dyrholm believe, per his policy proposal to pull out of CPP (a good idea), that pension plans must be mandatory, or could a free citizen of Alberta opt out of an "APP" an chart his/her own retirement finances?

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-07-25 11:32:49 AM


We have done nothing wrong and have merely presented the truth. The truth is a tough pill for you to swallow.

I will not respond to you any further in this campaign. You are not a member and do not live in Alberta.

You are entitled to your own opinions, you are just intolerant to mine.

Posted by: Craig B. Chandler | 2009-07-25 11:56:38 AM

@ Craig B. Chandler: Attaboy, Craig.

Begin by attempting to marginalize and exclude interested people with flat out falsehoods and insipid spin. But don't worry Craig, I won't sue ;-)

Are you stating, on behalf of the Dyrholm campaign, that any person yet to purchase a membership in the Wildrose Alliance, may not take or voice an opinion, nor challenge you and your man on tactics and policy? Clearly you have formulated the perfect means for remaining irrelevant.

You are either ignorant, or wilfully ignorant of textbook political philosophy: you smear Danielle as a "liberal/Liberal" and, when called on this cowardly tactic, you resort to some boogie woogie about it being the "truth". Danielle Smith has expressed libertarian beliefs, or classical liberal views, but can not in any rational way be identified as socialist, Liberal, or libertine, which is the tawdry tag you have attempted to place upon her in your inimitable style.

Fascinating, too, how you comically call for decorum and substance in the WRA race, yet have never exhibited same. Not once have you responded to policy questions. Typically, in an election campaign, Craig, a candidate, or team leader JUMPS at the opportunity to talk about himself or his candidate and their positions. Not you. Wonder why?

Interesting, too, that you keep promising not to respond to me. Yet you continue to react, just not in a substantive or mature fashion. This kind of behaviour, Craig, puts the party at risk. Refusing to engage interested parties is no virtue. Rather, your evasiveness is more a vice.

Finally, your victim posture is getting ooooold, Craig. I know your whole bag these days is in playing the put-upon "socon" or "Christian". Its weak. And unfair to all those open minded WRA members and future members who espouse a faith, and yet somehow also manage to understand separation of Church and State, the difference between federal and provincial issues, and, the difference between libertarian and socialist.

I suppose I ought to cut you some slack. Clearly you are sweating Jeff Willerton's entry into the race. I don't blame you ;-)

I ask again, Craig: will you man up for once and retract your sleazy slam of Danielle Smith as a "Liberal/liberal/libertine", and will you please respond as to whether the Dyrholm campaign intends to take Albertans out of one compulsory state pension boondoggle and force them into another, only one that politicians in Edmonton get to play with.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-07-25 12:46:48 PM

BTW, Craig, aren't you an Ontarian?

Aren't you the same Ontarian that told other Canadians they are not welcome in Alberta?

Speaking as an Albertan, Craig, and a 4th generation Prairie boy, those intolerant values are not what made Alberta and the Prairies great. Please let us know what your policy toward "outsiders" is vis a vis the party and the Dyrholm campaign.

Posted by: John Collison | 2009-07-25 12:51:31 PM

Jeff has the worst looking website I've ever seen.

It's even worse than Dyrholm's. If you can run a proper online campaign, how can you run a party?

Nobody wants to look at a site full of long, run-on sentences and huge paragraphs. Adding non-sensicle bolding and random capitals and underlines do not help either.

This kind of bush league thinking needs to be expunged from the party. We need to think mainstream and appeal to the average Albertan.

Posted by: Craig D | 2009-07-25 6:58:30 PM

What about that guy that Chandler beat, then beat Chandler for MLA? I heard he's crossing over to the Wildrose Alliance.

Posted by: Drew Marsten | 2009-07-26 9:28:43 AM

Jonathan Denis (Calgary-Egmont) is NOT crossing the floor! He is currently overseeing Calgary-Glenmore constituency until the new MLA wins the by-election. There is also some suggestion that he may become a Parliamentary Assistant. Neither of these things would be going on if Ed, Ron or caucus thought Jonathan was a risk to cross the floor!

Posted by: libertybelle | 2009-07-26 11:16:29 AM

I too have heard Denis is crossing the floor and endorsing Danielle Smith.

Posted by: Mack Cory | 2009-07-27 10:10:02 AM

I heard Denis was going to finally return to his roots and join the Liberals.

Posted by: Ashley | 2009-07-27 3:44:44 PM

I heard Jason Kenney was joining the provincial Liberals to be their leader and Jonathan Denis was going to be the deputy leader.

Posted by: @ABCONSERVATIVE | 2009-07-27 8:52:32 PM

I heard Jeff Willerton was going to win the leadership of the WRA after the first two candidates split the vote ... I heard Craig Chandler was going to run for the leadership of the Conservatives .. I heard El Stelmach was quitting as premier ... ROFL ! Glad to see you guys are still hard at work "politicking"!

Posted by: Myheadhurts | 2009-07-27 9:51:58 PM

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