A movement calling itself Albertans First Plebiscite Warriors has a plan to overthrow the provincial NDP. And, according to an announcement made by the group today, that revolution will come from the inside.
At 1:00 p.m., Albertans First held a press conference, consisting of about eight supporters rallied around a fifth-wheel trailer in a Walmart parking lot, just outside Westbrook Mall in southwest Calgary. The brief event was livestreamed on Periscope.
Group leader George Clark told gathered reporters that his new plan was to convince 500,000 Albertans who want to remove Alberta Premier Rachel Notley from power to join the NDP. Yes, you read that correctly.
The coup d'état, which one supporter previously referred to as a "kudatah" — a term the group seems to have claimed for its own, was to happen by plebiscite. The plebiscite, Clark insisted on Facebook, would be triggered once enough Albertans signed a petition to signal their dissatisfaction with the Alberta government's handling of a controversial bill.
"I will make the announcement at 12:15, we will be back in control of the government by 12:30," Clark said in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, as reported by Vice.
The group was set to hold an event on March 8, but Clark abruptly changed his mind early Friday morning, posting "KUDATAH right now? Today?" on Facebook.
At Walmart, Clark read a statement and answered questions from press. He also provided an opportunity for attendees to sign his petition in the parking lot.
Clark provided more context for his actions in a Facebook post following the rally.
The Albertans First group has been making headlines ever since Clark claimed that he had a plan to take control of the Alberta government in January.
Clark gained followers for his cause by posting diatribes on Facebook about the NDP. His concerns include fears that immigrants or temporary foreign workers will take jobs from other Albertans, the province's increased use of wind power and farmers' rights.
One supporter, Trevor Marr, told gathered reporters on Friday the event had to be moved up due to "loss of life" in Alberta. He did not elaborate.
"Alberta is being ignored by the government and the only way in, according to our own premier, is to be a member of her party," Clark said, shortly before being interrupted by the rattle of shopping carts going through the parking lot.
Livestream viewers weighed in with their thoughts.
The plan has upset some of the groups members, with one posting on Facebook "No thanks. Dancing with the devil is not my style", and another adding "I cannot join due to making my skin crawl never a communist."
The move also has members of the NDP feeling a bit perplexed.
Wait, I already have an NDP membership. Does that mean I'm now a participant in the #kudatah?— Sally Poulsen (@SallyPoulsen) February 19, 2016
Clark said his group will present their petitions to the premier and lieutenant governor as members of the Alberta NDP on March 8. And, if the premier and lieutenant governor don't respond by hosting a plebiscite, he'll bypass them and contact the Queen.
Unfortunately for the group, there's no legislation set up to allow politicians to be recalled in Alberta by plebiscite.
If you're still confused, here are some handy recaps from Twitter.
It's unclear exactly how many supporters Albertans First has — Clark has yet to release how many have signed the petitions, and the organization takes place through scattered Facebook groups and pages — but as of Friday morning Clark's GoFundMe has over $25,000 in donations.
I'm still sitting in my office, so I'll guess that it's harder to overthrow a government from a Walmart parking lot than it seems. #Kudatah— Michael Connolly (@NDPMikeC) February 19, 2016
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