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Central Alberta People’s Party of Canada candidate leaves party

Kelly Lorencz over time became increasingly dismayed by party apparatus that he said wasn’t adequately responsive to membership’s concerns
MVT Kelly Lorencz thumb
Kelly Lorencz, the former PPC candidate in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding, officially announced that he has left the party. File photo

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Citing a party apparatus that was insufficiently responsive to its membership’s questions and concerns, the former People’s Party of Canada candidate for the Red Deer-Mountain View riding has officially announced that he is stepping away.

“As the People’s Party of Canada continues to fall in the polling, it is apparent that there are significant issues both internally and externally that must be addressed,” reads part of a prepared statement issued by Kelly Lorencz on April 26.

“Having tried on several occasions over the past five years to address the internal issues related to the PPC, I believe that things have run their full course and it is time to reconsider my association with the PPC,” the statement reads, later adding, “When this party lost sight of the fact that this was about the people of Canada – especially those who are sacrificing the time to help grow this party – it was time to leave.”  

The prepared statement also expressed an increasingly disaffected base that felt ignored.  

“Our membership and teams must feel like they are part of this organization and not simply viewed as excess baggage or irrelevant,” wrote Lorencz.

“I have heard from and worked with too many great people across Western Canada who have been made to feel that their voice does not matter.”

During a follow-up phone interview, Lorencz told the Albertan on Tuesday, April 30, “One of the struggles that you have as a party is keeping communication with your membership. And membership is important.”

When the membership reached out either to himself or directly to the constituency association with questions, the inability to receive answers in a timely fashion “becomes a struggle,” he said.

But inadequate communication with the membership was only one factor that ultimately compelled Lorencz to step down.

Although he “firmly believes that the PPC had some really good ideas and policy platforms,” the reality simply has not lived up to expectations.

“The other reason that I walked away was the fact that over the last couple of years, we’ve been telling our membership and supporters that we will be coming out with a constitution and something that is very clear for our membership, what their rights and freedoms are with regards to the party. And that hasn’t come out yet,” he said.

“I expressed my concern to my team and said, ‘You know what, I can’t keep doing this because I’m putting my name to it.'”

Harking back to the last federal election, Lorencz recalled a rally where he was joined by the party’s leader as well as a former PC member of Parliament and Stephen Harper-era cabinet minister Maxime Bernier to speak to a crowd of more than 200 people.

“I said right then and there that I would hold Max accountable for the things that he’s saying and the things that he’s doing,” Lorencz told the Albertan.

“And if I’m repeating those things for him, then you know, I expect follow through. And we’re not doing that,” he said.

Asked what more specifically might have been some of the concerns the membership sought to have addressed, Lorencz said, “I don’t want to get into the finer details of that because I believe that that’s confidential for both the members and for the headquarters team.”

That being said, he cited as one example struggling to get accurate receipts and also reiterated the issue of questions that would linger unaddressed.

“Even our associations are having difficulties getting answers from our headquarters team,” he said, adding he personally experienced unreasonable delays.

“I would send emails to our headquarters team, and sometimes it would be weeks or longer before I got a response. Well, that’s unacceptable.”

At the end of the day, membership is the most crucial aspect of any political party, he said.

“And if a person doesn’t know what they’re allowed to do under the party rules or how they bring forward issues or how they address concerns that they have, then it just adds to the confusion,” he said.

“Within the party, there was a big concern that the only reason people wanted a constitution was to get rid of the party leader. And for me, that’s the farthest thing from my mind. It was just more about what rights and privileges our memberships have.”

So what’s next?

“I’m keeping my options open,” he said.

“For now, I’m going to take a break. I’ve been doing this full-time now for three years as a volunteer. And for me right now, I’m going to take the summer off to have a break and just see what comes my way.”

Offering parting thoughts to the PPC, Lorencz said, “I wish them all the best of luck.”

As for the membership, he said, “I hope that they get the constitution that they deserve and they get the answers that they deserve and we’ll see how it sort of unfolds.”

For the time being, however, he decided the time had come to step away and recalibrate.

“I’m looking forward to a little bit of a breather.”

Simon Ducatel

About the Author: Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel joined Mountain View Publishing in 2015 after working for the Vulcan Advocate since 2007, and graduated among the top of his class from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's journalism program in 2006.
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