Monday, June 29, 2009

Letter from Jeff Willerton to Attendants of the Wildrose Alliance AGM

I came across this from The Alberta Altruist blog at commenting on leadership hopeful Jeff Willerton. I was disappointed the blog mentioned two letters Willerton wrote to attendants at the AGM without divulging anything contained either of these letters. So I have taken the liberty of posting one of the letters in its entirety below.

"Jeff Willerton when googled has his website
, previous elections, and gay pride bashing. I have to admit he is not the conventional type to run. At the AGM I had received copies of his book as well as the two letters he left for the audience. I won't go into detail what was in them outside of a strong opinion of Danielle Smith and her beliefs. His website offers nothing to his running for leader and I could find no social networking at all."

2 June 2009

Ladies and gentlemen,

The AGM is over and if I was successful we have become the 'anti-Liberal, anti-government' alternative in Alberta. Or not, but either way I will seek the leadership of the party. A short history:

Fourteen years ago I quit a lucrative job in the insurance industry to work for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. (I'm confident you're familiar with the organization). You will not have heard of me because I was not their public spokesperson. I was the guy running around the province knowing on doors raising money to keep the organization afloat. I was also their top rep in the country.

I quit that in '99 to get more involved in partisan politics and raise money for the Socreds. (Don't hold that against me - it's where people like us went in those days). That was a disaster! Broke, I stumbled onto another sales opportunity in which I made considerable $ in a short period of time and published my first book.

You see, while working for the Taxpayers I was living in Barrhead and writing a weekly column for the local paper ('98 and '99). In 2000 I republished them in book format and have been updating, revising and republishing it ever since, selling them door to door, largely in the business and farming communities. I might have made more money doing just about anything else, but there's an upside to everything and this rather odd form of self-employment has given me a wealth of contacts in the province. You have been provided with a copy of what is now the seventh edition. I trust you'll enjoy it.

I bring all this to your attention to let you know that, like you, I have made many sacrifices along the way in the promotion of better government. A promising career in insurance was sacrificed to work directly for the CTF and help that organization influence government policy. I left the CTF in '99 to get more involved in partisan politics and work specifically to bring down what are and always have been the very liberal Tories in this province.

I ran for the Socreds in '97 and '01, finishing third and second with 800 and 1200 votes respectively. (The '97 results being the second highest in Calgary that year; the latter being the second highest vote count in the province and the only riding in which the party's vote count actually went up from the previous election). I finished third for the Alberta Party in '04, (1,000 votes) dead last running as an independent in Ralph's old riding in '07 (125) and second representing the Wildrose Alliance in '08, finishing with the third highest vote count in the province (2300) among WAP candidates.

If you've lost count that's five election losses - as it turns out the same number John Diefenbaker lost before winning one and becoming the prime minister of Canada. So I've been beat upside the head a few times, yes, but it builds character.

Why, though, have I done relatively well compared to other candidates running under the same banner? It's called door knocking and fund raising. I've done lots of both...and that brings me to the point of this letter.

The entry fee to the leadership race is $10,000.00 and yours truly is about as poor as a church mouse is sober. Why would you want to contribute to my candidacy?

Because I'm grass roots; a man of the people, literally clawing and scratching my way up from the bottom. Unlike my most notable opponent I'm not Ivy League or even university educated. I graduated from the school of hard knocks, and with your help I will be a colourful - and I think remarkably successful - leader of this organization. And the media will be in an absolute tither.

You see, in 2006 a friend and I protested the Calgary gay pride parade. He was tackled to the ground and punched in the head. I came to his defence. That's what was caught on film. They will claim I'm homophobic. They couldn't be more wrong.

People need to be free to live their lives the way they choose and be respected regardless of how they choose to define themselves, (I mean that sincerely) but that does not require me to support gay marriage which is probably the most destructive social development in Canadian history.

Gay marriage is not an election issue. Neither is abortion, but they both might well be issues at some point in a world of Citizen Initiated Referenda - and I haven't fought this political battle, this long, to elect a leader who defends what is now the status quo on these, the most important social issues in our nation's history.

Danielle Smith might not recall but I debated her in a hotel in Whistler, BC eleven years ago on the subject of abortion; she defending a woman's right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy; I arguing on behalf of the foetus. It doesn't matter who won the debate. She was wrong and still is, and it's her right to continue to be so.

I've learned from other conversations that she supports gay marriage, 'in some circumstances'. Sorry, but you either do or you don't and in my view gay marriage means no more or less than the erosion of the institution of marriage itself. (The first four chapters of my book deal with that issue). Danielle is intelligent, articulate and well connected in the business community, but so was Randy Thorsteinson, and for the reasons noted above I can not possibly support her candidacy.

The same friend and I 'attended' George W. Bush's Calgary visit. Actually we saw that there would be hundreds of anti-Bush protestors out that day, so we waded into the crowd with signs reading 'The world is safer because of George W. Bush' (it is, but that's a long story). The media looks for controversy and we gave it to them.

I tell you these things to let you know that I'm basically fearless. I'll take on hundreds of left-wing protestors AND a raging 300 lb homosexual (though I'm acquainted with and get along well with others in that community)... and Danielle Smith ... I just need your help to do it. A self-addressed envelope is enclosed for any contribution you can make to the "Willerton Campaign Fund." All contributions are greatly appreciated. Big ones just a little bit more so.

Diefenbaker lost five elections before winning one and becoming the prime minister of Canada. Churchill financed his early election campaigns through the sale of his books. Our own esteemed colleague Ed Goodliffe brought that little tidbit to my attention when I knocked on his door in 2001 campaigning toward an election - selling my book - and I've of course been doing it ever since.

I am, of course, neither of the above men. I'm just Jeff, a guy scratching and clawing his way up from the bottom who, with your help now, will change the way things are done in this province.

Yours in the cause of defeating liberal governments everywhere,

Jeff Willerton