LETTER TO EDITOR: Disqualified UCP candidate speaks out

Says UCP had full access since mid-August to his social media but disqualified him in eleventh hour

Dear Editor:

RE: Disqualification, social media and context

With the recent disqualification of myself from the UCP nomination contest for Drumheller Stettler, it may have added to the news cycle a few stories on our nomination but not in the positive way we would have liked.

While I take ownership of anything I post on my private social media account, the representation from the UCP party as stated in the Stettler Independent’s Oct. 4 headline “UCP candidate disqualified for making jokes about transgender people, sexual/sexist comments and calling Premier Rachel Notley a ‘queen beyotch’” is far from the truth and within context… “let there be light.”

In being disqualified, the UCP party stated in their form letter that it wants to avoid “bozo eruptions” such as the 2012 “lake of fire” comment and hate speech. I have never engaged in either and never would as everyone who knows me knows that is not my character.

UCP’s executive director stepped up her character attack on myself to the media I think because we accused her of making “truthfully challenged” or inaccurate statements to the media, namely to a Hanna newspaper. She then made the incendiary statements to the Stettler Independent forming your headlines that again beg the truth a lot more. I am not able to sit back and let those go unchallenged.

Most people would read that headline and go “wow, what the heck did he do?” I’ve always been open and never shy about truth – the truth has no spin.

As claimed – there were no jokes about transgender people – I shared a meme of a Holstein bull as described in the article and referenced in my comments farm common sense vs NDP social policy. Not once did I mention any minority or transgender communities… that is neither myself nor my style. If you google “bull cow memes” you will see it and come to your own conclusion. I do realize that perhaps elsewhere in Alberta there could be .01 per cent of someones who may take issue with the meme, and therefore maybe myself, but didn’t see it that way in this rural agricultural riding.

The executive director and UCP (and perhaps an opposing candidate campaign) also took issue with a post back from 2013 about watching “The Bachelor” (my first mistake was in admitting that I watched it) and commenting about drama queens as I was giving “relationship advice” to my 17-year-old son in an entertaining fashion… and was simply a comment on the American reality TV culture and our society’s descent from moral relationships via TV dating shows. I believe the damage done to positive female role models in society by the characters on those type of shows is far more offensive than my joke post, which was not a slam against women. But in their efforts to ensure sterile candidates the UCP saw it different, so I both respect and disagree with their position.

As for the comment about Notley – what can I say? I frequently raise issues with all things NDP (and Liberal and Trudeau) and usually refer to her as the Queen Dipper… however, if I used the term Queen Dipper beyotch I will wear that, own it and apologize. Again, that would not have been a slam against femininity just Rachel’s own political and ideological misguidance. I may be misguided in thinking that our area voters may have felt the same, so apologies if an offence was taken. Bottom line is that I did not feel the same that UCP did in thinking these were DQ material but accept their decision with regret for the area residents who supported my candidacy. I really appreciated all the support!

I will also give kudos to UCP president Erika Barootes who was in Hanna recently at the wrap-up and afforded myself a solid 15-20 minutes conversation where I expressed two main points among many others:

1) In their actions – the UCP seemed to take the voice and choice away from our voters here in Drumheller – Stettler because the party is so “ultra careful” to not offend the 0.01 per cent of Alberta voters who won’t vote UCP anyways. In doing so they failed to see the alienation of our UCP supporters here by being so “top down” and no longer grassroots and the harm that causes, in my opinion – is more damaging to our party reputation; and

2) Focusing so much effort on what “disqualifies” a candidate they lose sight of what really “qualifies” a candidate to be considered. I don’t consider myself politically correct in every situation and am always open, honest and blunt, which some may like or dislike. Like many good community-minded people who want to get into public service, finding only the “sterile” ones will be a tough task for the UCP as we should all be vocal conservatives and being human we may have said things in the past that would not be considered perfectly sterile.

Some have posted about “conspiracy theories” as I have been the fifth candidate in four different nomination contests (not including the Medicine Hat individual as he was out of line with a true “bozo eruption”) to be disqualified over social media posts that our voters and UCP members most likely would not have issue with. And our own constituency nomination committee signed off on us all after questioning us on social media usage, as they know the candidates on a deeper level than that of head office. We do not use hate speech, and I had an exemplary five-month campaign. I cannot speculate if there is anything else at play here, however, I do find it odd that the UCP had full access since mid-August to my social media, as per our filed papers, and waited until the last day, the eleventh hour, to act on a complaint and not allow any due process for defending myself, or appealing.

For now, I am putting this to rest and moving on with life in the same manner I have lived it for decades, just being me.

Todd Pawsey,

Castor

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