Caucus members of the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan say the decision by its board of directors to oust Wade Sira as interim party leader is "mystifying" and "of great concern."
Nine caucus members signed a letter Friday calling the move nepotistic, and saying the board ignored conflicts of interest and ethics.
Earlier this week the Buffalo Party announced that its board had voted unanimously at a scheduled meeting on Monday to remove Sira from the leadership position.
A news release said the decision was made in the best interest of the young party, citing "several internal factors" as well as the upcoming party leadership selection.
Sira was not informed that he had been removed until media contacted him for comment on Wednesday.
In a letter addressed to Sira and emailed to CBC on Friday morning, the party said that the following actions were undertaken by Sira without approval of the board of directors:
"Financial obligations made on behalf of the party without party approval; clear attempts to undermine sister organizations without board approval; misrepresenting himself as the sole decision maker for the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan in the interim leader role."
The party said these were the reasons for Sira's ousting as interim leader.
The Buffalo Party later said the letter to Sira was emailed to CBC inadvertently and declined to comment.
In the letter, the party also stated that Sira had said on multiple occasions that he planned to run for official leader of the Buffalo Party in November.
Sira vehemently denies the letter's claims.
"These are just fallacious accusations. Never once have I ever had access to any party money, let alone signing authority over it. So it almost seems like this is just a lynch mob," said Sira.
The Elections Saskatchewan website was updated on Tuesday to list Shirley Huber as interim leader of the Buffalo Party. Shirley Huber is married to board member Tim Huber.
CBC reached out to Shirley Huber for comment on Friday, but did not receive a response.
Sudden switch-up in board of directors
On Friday, Sira told the CBC that the board of directors suddenly added two new board members on Monday, and then voted along with the two new members to remove caucus member Richard Nelson from the board. Furthermore, two other board members were not able to attend the meeting.
Two voting delegates from the board quit upon Nelson's removal, including one who was not present at the meeting but was aware of the voting. Then the board voted to oust Sira. Ultimately, four board members did not vote, according to the Buffalo Party caucus.
"So it seems like too many people are wanting a power grab and they decided the best thing they can do, because some people were trying to hold them accountable, was to remove one of the individuals off the board who was holding them accountable," said Sira.
"This is desperate junkyard-style politics."
Sira said he questions the legitimacy of the board's decisions, given that multiple members were not in attendance Monday.
"In the end I'm not so concerned about myself, even though I do see this as a slanderous and fallacious attack against me," Sira said.
"But I also see the biggest problem is that the supporters and the members that we have, the people who care and are willing to put money toward buying membership and donations to our party, are the ones who are taking the biggest amount of hit."
Sira says he has heard from multiple party members who are upset about the board's decision to remove him.
"They can't believe this is going on. They don't understand what's going on. And they're wondering how this board, who is unelected, can make such grave decisions that will pretty much bury this party."
In Friday's letter to the board by the Buffalo Party caucus, the members echo Sira's accusations.
"We insist that neither the membership nor the caucus have lost confidence in Wade Sira as leader," said the letter.
Jason Cooper, spokesperson for the Buffalo Party caucus, was one of two board members who resigned following the board's decision to remove Nelson and Sira.
"I question the power that they had to remove them to start. Our general reaction is one of upset and disdain. I mean, none of us are happy about his removal, especially so close to convention."
The party's annual general meeting is scheduled for Nov. 5 to 7 in Swift Current. There the party will formally launch its party leadership selection process so members can select the first official leader of the Buffalo Party.
In the 2020 Saskatchewan election the Buffalo Party, formerly Wexit Saskatchewan, ran a slate of candidates garnering 2.5 per cent of the vote. It finished second in four ridings in Saskatchewan's southwest and southeast.
Cooper said he is concerned about what the board's decisions have done to the reputation of the Buffalo Party. He said the board should not have removed the interim leader without the approval of the party's members, since the board is unelected.
"It's not a good situation, but I believe the membership is stronger than the few people that did this damage to the party, and I'd encourage them to come to come [to the AGM] Nov. 5 and have their voices heard," said Cooper.
"I know a lot of them have been saying that they're mad and they're not going to come in. It's politics as normal. But in the same breath, we can cut the head off the snake and send the message that it's not going to be acceptable in the Buffalo Party anymore."