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Paul Hinman calling it quits after long political career

Posted on October 5, 2023 by admin

By Delon Shurtz
Southern Alberta Newspapers

Paul Hinman has never been one to pull his punches. And as the sun sets on a long and storied political career, the leader of the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition continues to tell it as he sees it, but with little expectation people will listen, particularly the mainstream media. 

“We have been thoroughly scorned by the media,” Hinman says. “There’s almost a hit thing out; you know, don’t mention the Wildrose or Hinman. It’s been quite an attack from all general areas.” 

That opposition has always been there, but it reached new heights after the party returned in 2020 and managed to garner 20 per cent in the polls. 

“The real threat though are those who have the economic ties and the benefits of, what I want to call, an absolute broken, dysfunctional, corrupt system.”

Sitting comfortably in his southern Alberta home just west of Raymond, Hinman reflects on his decision to retire from full time politics, and his struggle to make a difference with a party that has always been a bridesmaid, but never a bride. Hinman always wanted to make a difference, a positive difference, in the lives of Albertans. 

That sentiment was nurtured by his grandfather, Ted Hinman, who was elected for the last time in 1972 as an MLA with the Social Credit Party and who had served as provincial treasurer in the 1960s under Ernest Charles Manning, Alberta’s eighth premier. 

Hinman says it was normal for the family to talk politics, and his grandfather taught him the importance of responsibility and good government. 

“My grandfather taught me from a very young age; ‘Paul, there’s three things you need to be involved in, number one is your family, number two is your church/community…and number three…is politics. If you want to make a difference it needs to be provincial, if you want to be a politician go federal.’ Well, I wanted to make a difference.” 

Hinman has tried to do that ever since 2004 when he began focusing his attention on politics as a candidate for the Alberta Alliance Party and was elected to his first term as an MLA for the Cardston-Taber-Warner constituency, defeating incumbent Broyce Jacobs by only 129 votes. After the 2004 provincial election, former Alberta Alliance leader Randy Thorsteinson stepped down as leader of the party. 

Hinman ran in the 2005 Alliance Party leadership election and won against Ed Klop, Marilyn Burns and David Crutcher on Nov. 19, 2005, in Red Deer. Under Hinman’s leadership, the Alberta Alliance and the Wildrose Party of Alberta merged at a convention held on Jan. 19, 2008 in Calgary, but Ed Stelmach called a snap election two weeks later and Hinman lost to his Progressive Conservative opponent, Broyce Jacobs by 49 votes. 

Hinman stepped down as leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party, triggering a leadership convention in October 2009 in Edmonton. 

“Danielle Smith asked me to run in the Calgary-Glenmore by-election, which all but me believed we could win,” Hinman says. 

His win and his endorsement of Danielle Smith pushed her to win the party leadership. On Oct. 17, however, Hinman stepped back from politics after Smith and company crossed the floor against his advice. In July 2020, Hinman was asked to become interim leader of the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta, and he was elected leader the following year. With no connection to the Wildrose Party, it focused on Alberta independence and responsible government through recall. 

After a “betrayal” by the provincial board which included some legal battles over his removal as party leader, Hinman formed the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition earlier this year. In the May provincial election he placed third in the Taber-Warner constituency behind second-place NDP candidate Jazminn Hintz and winner Grant Hunter of the UCP. 

Hinman has battled long and hard during his nearly 20-year political career, and during his even longer political affiliation that began when he was only 14 years old when he and his grandfather drove to a Social Credit annual general meeting in Red Deer in 1973. That battle, he says, has largely been against corrupt governments and politicians, who are more interested in their own welfare than in the welfare of the country and its people. 

“The World Economic Forum and United Nations and the World Health Organization, all of those, in my opinion, are out to destroy western civilization, and wanting to see us dependent on one-world government that calls the shots. Centralization has never worked anywhere in the world, especially on such an extent. Always have your government as close to the people as you can, and that starts with the municipal government.”

Although Hinman remains leader of Wildrose Loyalty Coalition, he believes his political career has reached an end. That doesn’t mean, however, he’s completely stepping away from a life he’s known since he was a teenager. 

“If you’re driving down the road, do you drive around looking for crashes to help people? I don’t think so. But if the person ahead of you crashes, do you drive by or do you stop to help? I grew up in the Scouting program; do a good turn every day, serve your country, do all these things. My grandfather told me I had to do that. You can’t look the other way, so I have a high propensity when there’s a problem, to stop and help, and to be involved.”

“When I say I have no intention to run again, I can’t see any circumstances coming up that I will run again, but I’m still involved in politics. I will keep working and helping the Wildrose Loyalty Coalition but I have no intentions of running again in four years.” 

As Hinman looks back over his career, he feels good about what he’s achieved, and perhaps more importantly, how he’s achieved it. 

“I feel I was a true trailblazer that was willing to make the sacrifices to do what was right. Because of my upbringing, the discussions and what I had, and being a good citizen and being a Scout, it’s your duty, my duty.” 

Although he isn’t stepping away from the party entirely, his retirement will allow him to spend more of his time with family and doing other things that are important to him.

“First of all, my family has paid a price with the number of times I was absent and missed family functions, or cancelled things. So that’s number one.” Number two, he says, will be getting back on his land and getting his hands dirty again. “I have this little acreage here that has been neglected. I’m a farmer at heart. I love the animals, I love to garden, I love the dirt.”

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