Expelled Alberta PC organizer seeks reinstatement, says he was denied due process

A campaign organizer banished from the Alberta PC party for a year for offensive posts on social media said Wednesday he was filing paperwork asking to be reinstated.

Latest fracas shows deep rifts in PC party during bid to pick a new leader

Alan Hallman, who was recently suspended from the PC Party, plans to file paperwork to be reinstated, saying he was denied due process. (CBC)

A campaign organizer banished from the Alberta PC party for a year for offensive posts on social media said Wednesday he was filing paperwork asking to be reinstated.

Alan Hallman said he was denied due process to tell his side of the story.

"I've never once been asked to defend myself on this. I wasn't even aware this was going on," Hallman said in an interview.

"Where is the due process through this? They are smearing my reputation through the media with no opportunity for me to defend myself."

Troy Wason, the party's executive director, declined to say what will happen when Hallman's paperwork is delivered or whether Hallman will get a hearing.

"I can't speak for the board," said Wason.

Party president Katherine O'Neill could not be reached for comment.

Alan Hallman was working on Jason Kenney's leadership campaign when the party's board of directors voted to pull his membership. (Travis McEwan/ CBC)

Hallman's case has become the latest controversy to expose deep divisions within the party during its contest to pick a new leader.

One of the four candidates, former Conservative MP Jason Kenney, has promised that if he wins the delegate vote on March 18, he will ask for a grassroots mandate to dissolve the party and seek a merger with the Wildrose party. He has said a unified right is the only sure way to defeat Premier Rachel Notley's NDP in the 2019 election.

Hallman apologized

Party members voted overwhelmingly last spring not to merge, and the other three leadership candidates have labelled Kenney's plan a cynical and unworkable power grab for a party they deem a poor fit given its social conservative values.

Hallman, a party strategist for decades, was working on Kenney's campaign until the party's board of directors voted last weekend to pull his membership and ban him from party events for a year. That, after he called someone on Twitter a "dickeydick" and swore in a post to another.

Hallman has apologized for the messages but says he is not even aware who, if anyone, filed a complaint against him to bring about the board's decision.

On the weekend, O'Neill said the party is enforcing a "zero tolerance" line on abuse after a report found that leadership candidates Sandra Jansen and Kenney were verbally abused at a policy conference in November.

Jansen has since left the party and joined Notley's NDP. She said personal and online abuse from Kenney supporters for her progressive views had alienated her from the party she supported for three decades.

Kenney's team, and Hallman, have clashed before with party brass during the campaign. In November, Kenney's group was fined $5,000 for breaking rules by setting up a hospitality suite, with Kenney in attendance, beside a delegate selection meeting in south Edmonton.

Anger, recriminations, finger-pointing

A report into the suite cited Hallman waving away warnings from O'Neill, saying the Kenney team could handle any fines and adding that the party was "amateur" for not allowing candidates at selection meetings.

The Hallman issue has brought out anger, recriminations and finger-pointing.

Interim party leader Ric McIver posted a picture on social media Sunday of him and Hallman watching the Edmonton leadership debate together.

PC interim leader Ric McIver was at the meeting to expel Hallman, and says he abstained from the vote. (Michelle Bellefontaine/CBC)

McIver, who was at the meeting to expel Hallman, said the decision was supposed to have been kept private and Hallman's reputation has suffered.

"Because the board's commitment to keep this out of the public realm has not been honoured, then the board needs to reconsider the decision," said McIver.

He said he abstained from the vote to expel Hallman, but Wason said McIver did put up his hand to support the decision.

The division has spread to the party's youth wing. President Sonia Kont and others are supporting Hallman to the point of naming him an honorary chair. Other members of the youth executive have said they were not consulted.

The youth wing was to hold a meeting Wednesday night about the matter.