It is nice to see David Swann and the Liberals taking a public stance on this issue. I was among a group of delegates who raised this idea at the 2008 party convention and were given a cold shoulder by party loyalists for suggesting that the party needed to start something new. Most members of that group of delegates have since left the Liberal Party and some are now members of the Alberta Party.
They might hold Official Opposition status in the Assembly, but it is a little late for the Liberals to try to position themselves as the leadership figures among progressives in this discussion. It really is too bad that the Liberal Party took so long to join the conversation because they could have had a big impact if they would have been more open-minded to the possibilities two years ago.
UPDATE: I have to say that I am disappointed with the NDP and Alberta Party for their unwillingness to be open to discussions with the Liberal Party. Dr. Swann has taken a big political risk by offering to talk and in the low-stakes of opposition politics in Alberta it would cause negligible political harm to kindly accept the offer.
Alberta Party-supporter David King has written some thoughtful commentary on how the letter was framed. I do agree that it was unnecessarily adversarial towards the governing Progressive Conservatives. As a friend of mine pointed out after reading the Liberal Party ad, if you remove the anti-Conservative section of the letter, there is very little that most Albertans would disagree with. Perhaps Dr. Swann should have opened the same invitation to the PCs, and even the Wildrose Alliance.
It was not a shock that NDP leader Brian Mason is not interested in cooperating with the Liberal Party, but his political cheap-shot response was rude and not helpful. While many Albertans would probably agree with Mr. Mason that the Liberal Party is a “train-wreck,” the Alberta NDP, sitting at ~10% in the polls, is hardly an example of a relevant modern political machine.