The Progressive Conservative Party plans to investigate allegations of harassment and intolerance that caused a leadership candidate to drop out of the race.
Calgary MLA Sandra Jansen has come forward, talking about the insults thrown at her on social media, and on nomination forms at the recent PC party convention in Red Deer.
Jansen said her experience at the convention has left her “shaken.”
“Insults were scrawled on my nomination forms,” reads the email. “Volunteers from another campaign chased me up and down the hall, attacking me for protecting women’s reproductive rights, and my team was jeered for supporting children’s rights to a safe school environment.”
Former PC MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans is also dropping out of the race. She says Alberta politics are polarizing and there is no room right now for a centrist like her.
PC Party President Katherine O’Neill tells Global News she’s disturbed by Jansen’s allegations.
I am deeply concerned and I’m going to be referring this matter to the committee to review her allegations because we expect our party members and all candidates vying for this position to be conducting themselves in a respectful manner.
Jensen says she felt she had to withdraw from the race.
“My presence in this race has so enraged a socially regressive element, that I fear it will take away from our ability to fight what is turning out to be a very hostile takeover attempt on the party that I am so proud of.”
Jansen, who was unavailable for further comment Tuesday, alleged a PC candidate was using “bullying tactics” and left her supporters with this advice:
“Work for a candidate who opposes the Trump-style politics imported to Alberta from Ottawa.”
“If his goal is to collapse the PC party, then it would appear that he doesn’t fit the criteria for running for leader,” Jansen said in August, adding she’d leave it to the PC party executive to discuss Oct. 1.
An email attributed to Kenney said he was “disappointed” the two women were withdrawing and extended his “best wishes” Tuesday night. Kenney was not available for an interview with Global News, but released a statement quoting late Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed emphasizing the need for an “open democratic party.”
Jansen and Kennedy-Glans were the only women in the leadership race.