The Alberta Liberal Party is rebranding its image with plans to relaunch its website, adopt a new logo, change its official colours, and, according to Liberal sources, rename itself Liberalberta.
Last forming government following the 1917 election, Liberals are the constant underdogs of Alberta politics and being severely hampered by connections to unpopular Liberal governments in Ottawa.
After three years of internal turmoil following left-leaning leader Kevin Taft‘s resignation in 2008, the Liberals selected former Tory MLA Raj Sherman as their leader in 2011. During those intervening years, the Liberals lost their position as the default opposition to the Tories and were replaced by a reinvigorated Wildrose Party led by lobbyist and former newspaper columnist Danielle Smith.
The Liberals dropped to 9% province-wide support in the 2012 election, electing only 5 MLA’s and losing Official Opposition status for the first time since the party’s high-watermark in the 1993 election.
In August 2012, the Liberals hired a new executive director, Gerald McEachern, a New Brunswick-based writer and consultant. The major rebranding, an idea that in the past has been rejected by the more orthodox Liberal crowd, is likely an attempt for the party to gain back the ground it lost – which just may require a drastic move (and perhaps they drew some inspiration from the name of a popular political blog).
As well as rebranding, the Liberal Party’s board of directors is said to have rescinded its offer to cooperate with other “progressive” political parties – namely the New Democratic Party and the Alberta Party - to prevent vote splitting.
Unfortunately for all three of these parties, the shifted political narrative in the 2012 election led many progressive and moderate Albertans to support Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservatives in order to block Ms. Smith’s Wildrose Party from forming government.
Update (October 19, 2012): I posted a question on Twitter to Liberal Party strategist Alex Macdonald asking whether the new “Liberalberta” wordmark logo had been focus group tested. Mr. Macdonald’s response was that the “Liberalberta” wordmark had been approved by the Liberal Party executive and executive board, and not a impartial focus group.
— Alex Macdonald (@amacdona) October 18, 2012
Meanwhile, Calgary Liberal Party activist Gwyneth Midgley raised concerns on Twitter that Liberal Party members were not consulted in the rebrand.
— Gwyneth Midgley (@GwynethMidgley) October 19, 2012