Rogue party activists to discuss ‘collaboration, and cooperation.’

Can Alberta's centre-left parties "work together?"

Can Alberta’s centre-left parties “work together?”

The latest episode of Alberta’s ongoing “cooperation on the centre-left” saga will continue on January 23, when rogue activists from the Liberalberta Party, the New Democratic Party, and the Alberta Party will host a “Soapbox, Suds, and Wings” night in Edmonton.

The event, which is being organized by Edmonton-Mill Creek NDP president Stephen Anderson, Alberta Party president William Munsey, and 2011 Liberal candidate Mike Butler, promotes “citizen engagement, collaboration, and cooperation” as the way of the future for Alberta politics.

In a December guest post on this blogCalgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr restarted the latest debate about cross-party cooperation and was stunningly, and strangely, rebutted by Liberalberta Party president Todd Van Vliet in a media release. Liberal leader Raj Sherman remained suspiciously silent during the very public rebuke, leading political observers to believe he sanctioned Mr. Van Vliet’s ill-advised response.

Edit: On January 8, Mr. Van Vliet announced that merger ideas would be debated at his party’s annual convention, scheduled for June 2013.

NDP leader Brian Mason has also spoken out against any formal electoral cooperation or merger with the other non-conservative opposition parties.

The main centre-left opposition parties (the Liberals, NDP, and Alberta Party) earned a combined 21% of the popular vote in the 2012 provincial election, down from 34% in the 2008 election and 39% in the 2004 election. In 2012, the three parties were pushed aside by a reinvigorated moderate Progressive Conservative Party led by Alison Redford and an aggressive conservative Wildrose Party led by Danielle Smith.

Mr. Hehr and Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman have confirmed their attendance on the “Soapbox, Suds, and Wings” Facebook event page, as have 2012 Green Party Senate candidate Elizabeth Johannson and 2008 federal NDP candidate Dave Burkhart.

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