I have to admit the comments by last week’s guest columnist, Doug Firby, regarding the Alberta Party have merit. The Alberta Party is new and we don t have much history behind us, yet. The building of policy takes time, and we just didn’t have that luxury prior to the last election. However, we continue to believe policy must be based on evidence, be founded on a ‘ triple bottom line’ of what is good for the economy, the environment and for our communities. We also believe strongly that policy doesn’t come from behind closed doors in the legislative assembly, but from kitchen tables and coffee shops and government decisions must be transparent.
Firby was certainly correct the April 23 election result has us re-appraising our role in Alberta politics. If anything, we have become more committed to the creation of a second viable centrist party that Albertans aren’t afraid to elect to throw out MLAs they no longer trust. It became clear last election that while the majority of Albertans yearn for a fiscally responsible government, we are a socially progressive province and care about public health and education.
The last election was simply weird. Premier Alison Redford and her PCs dove to the centre with the rhetoric of fear of the Wildrose boogeyman. Sure, Danielle Smith and the Wildrose party represented change, but in the end it was clear that most Albertans are not comfortable with their social rigidness. Both the Wildrose party and the PCs seem to believe the dialogue in Alberta is still about confrontation and bullying.
And that’s precisely why the Alberta Party believes there is room for us. We believe Albertans will eventually demand more than that sort of schoolyard fighting in government. We did see just how tired Albertans are of PCs and it was wonderful to watch an election that appeared to be a real contest (at least for the first three weeks), but aside from a few electable MLAs (Joe Anglin being one), the current Wildrose party does not seem to represent the change Albertans want — transparent, fiscally responsible yet socially progressive government.
At our AGM in Calgary on Sept. 22, Alberta Party members will decide on the future of our party. What you wrote is true. We did fail on to elect an MLA, but we got 17,060 more votes than we got the previous election. That’s the beginning of our history. One criticism Firby missed was that we need to engage rural Alberta better and we intend to do that at every opportunity before 2016.
With Liberals and NDs giving up on rural Alberta, the PCs continuing to show contempt for transparency and the voices of everyday Albertans, we believe there is a place for a progressive voice that isn’t scared of open discussion and is prepared to be respectful of every Albertan, whether they vote for us or not.
vice-president of policy