The 2011/2012 election cycle in Alberta has begun and it does not only include cabinet roadshows, policy announcements, and party conventions by the traditional parties.
Since their merger with Renew Alberta early this year, the new Alberta Party has become a target of significant attention from traditional party insiders and supporters. Since the National Post wrote an article about the party’s Big Listen strategy, that attention appears to be intensifying.
Frequent rabble.ca contributor and St. Albert blogger David Climenhaga was early out of the start-gate and has continuously criticized the new Alberta Party’s Big Listen for the worst of political crimes, having extended conversations with Albertans on policy issues (read an account of this horrid crime from a Big Listen accomplice).
In yesterday’s Edmonton Journal, communications consultant and former NDP staffer Tina Faiz penned some fair comments, coated with partisan jabs, at the Alberta Party:
If you are a centre-left progressive in Alberta who is unhappy with the existing political options of the Liberals and the NDP, and you don’t know where to put your efforts until the 2012 election, you might be excited about the Alberta Party — a “new” party billing itself as “a viable, moderate political option.”
Sadly, I will have to crush that glimmer of hope you may have for a progressive challenger, because the party is not new and certainly not progressive, and it is as calculating as the other parties.
One of the most common criticisms I have heard is that the new Alberta Party is really just another conservative party.
First, for most Albertans, conservative is not a dirty word. As a young “progressive,” I have no problem with a new party for Albertans of all political stripes, including conservatives. For myself, politics is less about the traditional left or right ideologies or institutions, and more about the tone of politics and vibrancy of democracy.
Second, the people involved in the new Alberta Party come from many political backgrounds – conservatives, liberals, greens, social democrats – and they are working together (which sounds pretty progressive to me). It is my experience that while their beliefs are diverse, the people involved with the new Alberta Party share a unifying progressive idea, a passion to find a better path toward creating a better Alberta that transcends their past political affiliations.