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Alberta Politics

new kids of the block get the attention.

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.

14 replies on “new kids of the block get the attention.”

I thought that Tina’s article was the most apt assessment of the Alberta Party to date. I don’t like disagreeing with you in particular, but your disdain for the Liberals has driven you to support this sad excuse of a party. Even you used to make fun of their legally registered name: ‘Alberta Party of Alberta’. That party has enough baggage to fill a 747. Why would anyone jump on board?

“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.”

Okay, this applies to you, but are you sure the other two agree?

Joe Albertan, we know that you are not the Joe Albertan that has his own blog. When I see your name on this blog I do not pay any attention to what you are saying and I hope others do not as well.

I have no idea what you motivation is but if you want credibility I suggest you use a different name.

I am the real Joe Albertan. Some hacker got into my blog and the blog at joealbertan.blogspot.com is an impostor.

Daveberta tries very hard to convince us the Alberta Party is a lot bigger than it really is. That doesn’t surprise me ’cause it’s the same group he was part of after the 2008 election. Remember Judy Wilson and Bruce Miller’s group? Only Bruce abandoned them and went back to the Liberals. Other Liberals too toyed with the idea then dropped it. Dave didn’t.

Let’s see how Chima N. does if Kent Hehr wins the mayoralty in Calgary and resigns his provinical seat. If the Alberta Party wins (and i don’t see that happening), only then will they gain legitimacy.

Joe Albertan, I know you are not the real Joe Albertan as your posts are not what the real Joe Albertan espouses.

Nuff said.

Quite probably the stupidest line I’ve ever heard in politics was when one of my opponents chucked out the old cliche “When you stand for nothing, you’ll probably fall for anything”. And as annoying and childish as that statement might be, I can think of nothing more appropo of the Alberta Party than that. They have no real policy as yet. They have a core group of activists from across too wide of a political spectrum. And they have absolutely no sense of urgency to do the basic work that any political party needs to do to be competitive.

I don’t think that they will nominate a full slate of candidates for the next election, and I am convinced they will not elect an MLA. As such they are a total non-issue for those of us interested in real change in Alberta. I wish it was different, but it just isn’t. So let’s get back to discussing the real players, as marginalized as the NDP and the Liberals might be. At least they’re in the game.

I think the criticism of “not enough urgency” is a fair one. The problem for most people involved in the new Alberta Party is that they are not full-time politicians… analysts… bloggers… but people with jobs (where we are fired for not working) and family commitments (in which not every member can tolerate mom or dad being absent all the time). The urgency is there, the practical tools (and money) to get out and do the “business” is not (yet) available to the AP.

The criticism that this is a party with no platform is less valid (though I admit not entirely misplaced). Most of the folks involved classify themselves as progressives (as vague as that is) and share those loose values often attributed to small ‘l’ liberal thinking… or progressivism. If most Albertans are moderate than the party’s policies will coalesce around the center… after listening to as many Albertans as possible

That was the goal of jettisoning old policy and going with the Big Listen. It was a risk to base the future of a new idea around something so tenuous… but a calculated risk based on how those involved perceive our neighbours’ and co-workers’ values and goals.

The criticism that this party is still the old right-wing party that toyed with extreme right policy is totally off the mark. While it is true that the party started as a provincial response to the Reform movement of the 80s, most of the original members have left. When the party started working with ex-greens and the Renew movement, even more abandoned their membership. The few who remained are more concerned with government accountability than any other issue, and that fits in with the progressive thinking of the new members.

Policies from the old party were, indeed, based on a past Alberta reality and many were outdated and in need of a revamp. They were suspended in earnest and policy will develop around the Five Pillars (on the website). Sure, they’re “motherhood and apple pie” but the details will flesh out based on the folks involved and most of them are progressives… dissatisfied with the options now currently available.

There are enough very right of center choices in this province. Offense not intended, but there are a great many of us who are not too far left and who cannot ever see the Liberal brand as being successful in this province. Rather than sit and whinge about that, I’m putting my eggs in the basket… with the hope others will as well. If it doesn’t work out, well, I’m okay with that too. I’d rather fail at something I feel is important than stand around and complain at what the other people do… o don’t do.

We might not yet really be in the game. We might never actually get into the game. But we dissatisfied progressives had to start somewhere. I don’t really understand the criticism for that.

I have a “gravator” now and should be able to paste a photo by my name. I want to see if it works and write for no other reason than that.

Yeah! Technology. Now, if they could just figure a way to keep ducks off settling ponds of poison, we’d be all set.

Bang on. The Alberta Party must be doing something right if the NDP attacks them for being to far right and the Wildrose attacks them for being left wing. We are for real, just wait and see!

Hi Dave,
Thanks for posting about my Edmonton Journal piece. Curious why you think it’s a “partisan jab?” I don’t belong to any political party, nor speak for any of them.

I was an NDP caucus employee four years ago, but that doesn’t make me an “insider” or a partisan mouthpiece. You’ve suffered the same kind of misplaced labeling as a former Liberal party employee, haven’t you?

Great blog, by the way. Keep it up!

Hi Tina – thanks for the comment.

I mainly disagreed with your statement that the Alberta Party will just become another conservative party because it was in the past. As far as I am aware, nearly all of the more extreme Reform Party members of the Alberta Party from the 1980s and 1990s have moved on and joined the Wildrose Alliance.

You raised some valid points about the party, but I believe you may have to easily dismissed what they are trying to accomplished.

I will gladly offer a mea culpa about the partisanship comment, if you will accept. I do get labeled like that from time to time.

Keep on writing!

Cheers,

Dave

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