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UCP members should have a say, ousted Sundre constituency candidate says

MVT Tim Hoven
Tim Hoven was vying for the nomination as the UCP candidate in the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre constituency. Facebook screenshot

SUNDRE - Tim Hoven says he’s been wrongly denied the chance to seek nomination as the UCP candidate in the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre constituency and he hopes his appeal of the party’s decision to bar him will be overturned before next week’s votes.

The riding is currently held by UCP MLA Jason Nixon, who is also minister of Alberta Environment and Parks, as well as House Leader in the legislature.

UCP members in the riding are scheduled to vote March 23-24 on who will be the riding's UCP candidate in the next provincial election. Nixon and Hoven were the only two candidates to file for nomination.

In an Albertan interview on Sunday, Hoven says the party informed him on March 10 that because he had followed a website platform linked to white nationalists in the United States he was being prohibited from seeking the nomination.

“I received an email from the party that said I was disqualified and that I would not be able to participate,” said Hoven, an Eckville-area farmer. “I was branded a white nationalist. I am not a white nationalist.”

In the letter from the party informing him of his prohibition, party officials said, in part, that, “While the vetting report contains numerous examples of concerning posts, indicating a pattern of activity that would bring disrepute to the party, two findings were particularly concerning.”

In a letter appealing the prohibition, Hoven said, in part, “I have forgotten I even had a ‘Gab’ account until I filled out my candidate questionnaire. Can you remember any and all social media platforms you’ve visited or tried out by starting an account on them? Do you believe you should be judged today on something you clicked on to read seven years ago?

“Even in your letter you use the qualifier ‘seemingly’ and then accuse me of sympathy to white nationalists. When I followed those accounts I had no idea any of these people were ‘white nationalists.’”

He said he “signed up for the Gab account one day and never went back to it.”

Hoven also disputes a claim in the party’s letter that he disparaged RCMP at the Coutts blockade earlier.

“A no time did I claim the RCMP engaged in a conspiracy to lie about violence at the Coutts border crossing,” he said. “I have never actually disparaged the institution of law enforcement or law enforcement officials.”

Hoven says he was shocked to be told he won’t be able to seek the UCP nomination in the riding.

“Let’s be clear and talk about what is really going on,” he said. “My nomination campaign against Jason Nixon is very competitive and we have strong momentum. The local constituency nomination committee was packed with the incumbent's supports, many of whom have openly disparaged me both privately and publicly. 

“Phases such as ‘We’ll never let this happen’ or ‘We’ll fix this’ are the types of comments have repeatedly been associated with members of the committee.

“I am also reluctant to believe that there is not already a pre-conceived bias against this appeal. I hope I’m wrong on the latter.”

Hoven says he does not know when his appeal might be heard.

“I have no idea if it is going to be in time,” he said. “We’ve asked for the rules of the game by which I am going to be judged."

The “vast majority” of UCP members in the riding “want change, both provincially and locally,” he said. “It’s important that people in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre actually have a choice on who represents them. I’m big on openness and transparency. Voters should be able to get what they want."

Hoven says he plans to attend next month’s UCP leadership review of Jason Kenney in Red Deer.

“We are focused on a getting a large member turnout at the April 9 meeting where people can have their say on Jason Kenney’s leadership,” he said.

Hoven says he “doesn’t have a favourite leader” and is concentrating on getting as many party members as possible to the Red Deer meeting.

MLA Jason Nixon did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the party’s Rimbey-Rocky Mountain riding association.


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