I am in the City of Red Deer this weekend attending the first policy conference of the new Alberta Party. About 150 people are participating at the conference, which is pretty good for a party that barely existed just a year ago. Energized by some of the results in the recent municipal elections, there is a sense of optimism in the air about this conference and the growth potential for this party.
The policy debate sessions today have focused on the four most common themes identified in the Big Listen process: Environment, Democratic Renewal and Meaningful Citizen Engagement, Education, and Health Care. Some sessions have been more heated than others, but there has generally been a focus on collaboration and respect in the discussions.
At the sessions I have attended, I sensed a mixed sense of caution and boldness among the participants, who understand that the decisions they make today will shape how this party will be perceived by Albertans.
Some portions of the weekend conference will be live-streamed online, including a panel discussion this evening with Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given and organizers from the campaign teams of Naheed Nenshi, Stephen Mandel, and Don Iveson. The panelists will be sharing some experiences and stories from the recent municipal election campaigns.
I will be delivering the closing remarks for the conference tomorrow morning at 12:30pm, which you can watch online via live-stream (I will post the remarks on this blog afterwards). You can also follow the conference participants on Twitter at #abparty.