Alberta Politics

Reform Party of Alberta now officially registered as a political party

In the midst the latest round of unite-the-right chatter, conservative voters in Alberta now have another party to cast their ballots for.

Randy Thorsteinson
Randy Thorsteinson

The Reform Party of Alberta is now officially registered as a political party with Elections Alberta. The party describes itself as “Alberta’s principled, compassionate, socially and fiscally conservative political party.

The drive to register the party was launched in mid-2014 by conservative activist Randy Thorsteinson, who pledged in March 2015 to run a full-slate of candidates in the upcoming election. Unfortunately for Mr. Thorsteinson and his followers, Jim Prentice called the provincial election one year earlier than expected and his party was unable to register with Elections Alberta before the vote.

The party again tried to gain registered status with Elections Alberta in advance of the March 22, 2016 by-election in Calgary-Greenway but they were unable to meet the deadline required to have a candidate listed on the ballot.

I am told the party definitely plans on running a full-slate of candidates in the next provincial election, expected to be held in early 2019.

A party with the same name previously existed from 1989 until 2004 as a place-holder vehicle for the Reform Party of Canada to contest Alberta’s Senator-in-Waiting elections in 1989 and 1998. Although federal party leader Preston Manning is said to have pondered expanding the provincial-wing to challenge the Progressive Conservatives, Reform partisans alternatively found willing supporters in the conservative-wings of the PC and Liberal parties in advance of the 1993 election.

That party should also not be confused with the Alberta Reform Movement, which was founded in 1981 by former PC MLA Tom Sindlinger.

Party leader Mr. Thorsteinson led the Social Credit Party from 1992 to 1999 and the Alberta Alliance Party from 2003 until 2005. He stood as a candidate in the 1993, 1997 elections in Red Deer-South and in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake in 2004.

He participated in the televised leaders debate in 1997 and led the Socreds to earn 6.8 percent of the province-wide vote, the strongest showing by that party since 1979. The Alberta Alliance, which later became the Wildrose Party, earned 8.7 percent of the vote in 2004 while campaigning on the slogan “Blame Ralph,” in reference to then-premier Ralph Klein (his legacy is now lauded by conservatives, but many Albertans forget how unpopular Mr. Klein was starting to become during his final years in office).

In February 2016, Mr. Thorsteinson explained his reasons for forming a new party and not joining the Wildrose Party:

“The challenge I have with the Wildrose is that I am also a Social Conservative. I believe in the traditional Albertan family values, the Wildrose does not. Brian Jean, leader of the Wildrose, just after his victory as Wildrose leader called Social Conservatives “wingnuts” and “nutbars” in newspapers. I obviously can’t support him.

Additionally, the Wildrose Caucus MLAs also joined with all other parties in the Alberta legislature on Dec. 7, 2015 to unanimously vote in favour of Bill 7 the “Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act, 2015”. This is the law that allowed the NDP government to have the legal authority to pronounce the outrageous “Guidelines of Best Practices” that mandates that boys and men have the right to use women’s public washrooms and showers if they “self identify” as a girl or woman. My wife and I have six daughters, we are very concerned there will be a lot of teenage boys who “self identify” as a girl to go into the girls showers. It recently happened at the University of Toronto where male students were videoing female students taking showers in “gender neutral showers” on campus. Progressive/Liberals will call it fear mongering, parents call it outrageous. The guidelines also undermine parents and wants schools to stop using the words mother and father; him and her for something “gender neutral”. For the record for progressive/liberals I am a husband and father, Kathleen is my wife and mother of our children. We are not gender neutral.

All of the Wildrose MLAs unanimously voted for it. As a Social Conservative I can’t support them. It’s not the party I founded, it’s Progressive Conservative lite.”

So there you have it. If you are a conservative who does not believe the other five conservative parties in Alberta are conservative enough, then the Reform Party of Alberta could be a good fit for you.

Note: As noted in the photo caption above, the Reform Party of Alberta logo, shown above, is remarkably similar to the logo used by the American Democratic Party.

14 replies on “Reform Party of Alberta now officially registered as a political party”

You mention that there are “five conservative parties in Alberta”, but lists only 4: PC, Wildrose, Reform and Social Credit. It should be noted that the fifth would be Alberta First (unless I am mistaken).

This is appealing to the same LDS demographic, right? More like a Lebanese sectarian militia (minus the guns and worse dress sense) though…..

I really think people like this should not be legitimized by calling them conservative and publicizing them. That’s how Donald Trump became the elected Republican nominee, by saying outrageous things and the media just lapping it up, realizing it sold advertising.

There will always be some people who enjoy this sort of perverse droolings about bathrooms, but it doesn’t have to be part of the political discourse. Surely we can rise above this.

Instead of trying to keep his girls protected from the ‘bad’ boys, Thorstienson should be focusing on the behavior of the males he talks about as having no respect for females or rules. Somehow I can’t imagine a gaggle of teenage (or younger) boys pretending to be Trans in order to see and/or video female identifying kids using the facilities. If Thorstienson really feels that this is a danger, then deal with the abusers, not the kidd who just want to pee!

Comedy. Seems to be the modus operandi of the white wing. Let’s throw around a few more bibles here in Alberta. Fail

Good for you, Randy! Make Jason Kenney’s job of “uniting the right” as difficult as possible. Keep the right fractured!

I don’t think 5 is enough. Alberta needs more right-wing parties, 10 at least. Then, if they don’t work out, some more.

This party is ridiculous. Why does this group even bother to try to get into politics? The time for such junk has passed in Alberta except that these folks don’t realize it.

I am so tired of these dumb excuses against LGBTQ folks. My younger son at Strathcona High School had no interest in this issue of bathroom use and it’s a wonder to me that there are parents who are more interested in this matter than the education that is being received by their kids.

If Jason Kenney or the Wildrose Party associates with folks who are dinosaur error they will not receive the votes of ordinary families. End of story.

Mr. Thorsteinson was also a driving force behind the defunct original Alberta First party, although I do not believe he, personally, ran under that banner. I wouldn’t anticipate any more success for him with this new Reform party than with any of the others he has started and ultimately either abandoned or watched evolve into something beyond his goal. Fortunately, most Albertans have a greater degree of acceptance of others than does Mr. Thorsteinson and the various right-wing parties he has attempted to resurrect or launch.

we need real people doing a good job , less riding more tax cuts for small business if oil done we need better ways to save money ndp is going to sinks all a Kenny not the answer we need a gov that and turn a dollar into 2 bucks and 11 billion debt

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