Categories
Alberta Politics

alberta’s ndp prepares for high tide. will an orange wave come?

 

The NDP fleet waits for the next Orange wave.
The NDP fleet waits for the next Orange wave.

A recent poll released by Citizen Society Research Lab at Lethbridge College shows Alberta’s governing Progressive Conservatives with a huge lead over the three main opposition parties. The same poll showed the New Democratic Party and Wildrose Party tied at 16%, which reinforces the results of a controversial Evironics survey released over the summer months. At the time, an online poll released by the new company ThinkHQ showing the Wildrose neck-to-neck with the PCs in support. Wildrosers rallied behind the ThinkHQ online poll results, while everyone else supported the Environics survey results.

Alberta NDP Breakthrough Conference
NDP waiting for high tide.

As the right-wingers continue to argue about the methodological strengths and weaknesses of online polls versus phone polls, the untold story appears to be the rise in support of Alberta’s NDP. The provincial NDP, which have been stuck in the 10% range since it lost Official Opposition status in 1993, appears to be benefiting from the Alberta ripple of the Orange Wave that hit Quebec in May 2011.

The good ship NDP is holding a “Breakthrough Conference” this weekend in Edmonton in hopes of capitalizing on their federal cousin’s recent successes. Keynote speakers incude Calgary Alderman Brian Pincott and recently elected Scarborough-Southwest MP Dan Harris. Expected to be in attendance are Federal NDP interim leader Nycole Turmell and leadership candidates Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Romeo Saganash, and Martin Singh.

The NDP have attracted a surprising group of seaworthy candidates including former MLA David Eggen in Edmonton-Calder, Catholic School Trustee Cindy Olsen in Edmonton-ManningAUPE Vice-President Sandra Azocar in Edmonton-Mill Woods, former five-term City Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer in Red Deer-South, and Shannon Phillips in Lethbridge-West. The NDP have a crew of 30 nominated candidates in 87 constituencies across the province, and will have over 40 nominated by the end of next week. On the surface, the NDP looks ready to tap into the 17% of Albertans who supported their party in the last federal election.

The occupants of the two most thankless jobs in Alberta politics: NDP leader Brian Mason and Liberal leader Raj Sherman.
The occupants of the two most thankless jobs in Alberta politics: NDP leader Brian Mason and Liberal leader Raj Sherman.

As a centre-left leaning urban progressive-type that has voted NDP as many times as I have voted Liberal, I have a hard time getting excited about the provincial NDP and an even harder time imagining that some New Democrats are not thinking that it may be past time for their provincial-wing to get a fresh face sitting in the admiral’s chair.

Current leader Brian Mason has served his party faithfully through two stormy elections and holds the second most thankless job in the province (the first currently being held by Liberal leader Raj Sherman). Mr. Mason has years of experience in the Assembly, but after more than two decades as a municipal and provincial politician he is hardly the fresh face that NDP may need to make an Orange splash in the next provincial election.

5 replies on “alberta’s ndp prepares for high tide. will an orange wave come?”

Clearly 16% of Albertans disagree with you Dave. I think that as long as the party is attracting a higher quality of candidate than before, and is showing upward progress in the various polls, it’s clear that Brian Mason is doing a good job as leader.

And that comes from someone who has called for Mr. Mason’s removal at points in the past. I think what we’re seeing with Brian is that same building of experience that imparts real leadership qualities, like Jack Layton achieved over his 4 elections as leader. Mr Mason now has those political intangibles that can only be picked up with time and experience in a leadership role.

You may have left the Liberal party, but clearly you still have that Liberal trait of wanting a different leader at every turn. 😉 Things have gotten so bad for your once-beloved Liberals that they now oust leaders before they ever even get to contest a single election. But as this latest poll confirms, that strategy isn’t really working out so well for the Liberals.

For the NDP I think it’s a matter less of what the leader of the party is doing, more about individual candidates.
I wager you’ll see more candidates being more active and running full campaigns.
The federal election injected a bunch of energy and success into the NDP base here in Alberta, energy which will carry through to engaging other Albertans.
I don’t think there are any illusions that NDP would form government, but sitting on opposition benches is essential and requires that energy that I expect to see in the coming months from new NDP candidates.

“The NDP have a crew of 30 nominated candidates in 87 constituencies across the province, and will have over 40 nominated by the end of next week.”

By my count it’s closer to 50 by the end of next week.

Also note, NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp will be in attendance at the Breakthrough Conference this weekend, as well as MPs Niki Ashton (Churchill) and Elaine Michaud (Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier), in addition to the guests you mentioned. Looking forward to it!

Leave a Reply to Christopher Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.