Federal Liberals Guest Post

guest post: ‘i’ve never felt more inspired to start a political movement in alberta.’

This past weekend, I had the privilege in taking part in the Liberal Party of Canada’s Convention in Vancouver. It was a fantastic new experience for me, one which I will never forget, and it was my first foray into real politics. And I wasn’t disappointed.

There were the highs and lows expected from politics. Surprisingly, most of the lows I witnessed were within the Young Liberals of Canada. There’s nothing like extremely ambitious young Canadians vying for coveted positions to put politics in perspective. Everyone is striving to make themselves a name strong enough to grab the attention of party insiders and political superstars like Bob Rae, Alfred Apps, and Michael Ignatieff. Of the three contested races, I followed the race for VP Policy the closest. Timothy Smith and Pierre-Luc Lacoste both ran admirable campaigns, but Lacoste’s French connection won out in the end.

Besides some shameful and money wasting efforts on behalf of youth candidates to get elected, it was the lack of young women involved that caught my attention. Of the 10 positions filled, only two are held by women, and neither of them ran in contested races. The party is trying to focus on re-growth and renewal with an emphasis on gender parity and with youth often being the most progressive members of a party, parity should be high on the list of things to-do for the Young Liberals of Canada.

After this weekend thought, I’m feeling more positive about being a Liberal in Alberta. I’ve often felt ostracized and many have attempted to make me feel ashamed of my membership, but I’ve never backed down, and now, I have a reason not to. The Liberal Party is starting to focus on Alberta instead of ignoring it and chalking it up as a lost cause. The new election strategy is shaping up to be a “308 riding strategy” in which each riding, no matter how hopeless, should receive help from the central party to win an election. It will be an uphill battle in rural Alberta, regardless of how much money and how many “big name Liberals” the party throws at it. Even Alberta Liberals know this. I didn’t meet one Albertan who felt that their rural riding could be won easily, let alone at all.

However, I’ve never felt more inspired to start a political movement in Alberta. If the convention did nothing else, it certainly inspired some questioning Liberals to believe in the party again. Ignatieff seems to be the inspiration and the kick-start the party needs regain power. Earlier today I heard that the Liberals are up in the polls, ahead of the Conservatives, but that does not mean we are ready for an election. Major fundraising needs to be done before the party is ready to run a successful campaign. For the “308 riding strategy” to be effective, the party needs some disposable income, which it does not have.

All in all, it was an exciting weekend, and regardless of your party, everyone should get involved. The convention inspired me to get actively involved, and hopefully others will follow suit.


Caitlin Schulz was the only youth delegate from the Wetaskiwin riding south of Edmonton for the 2009 Liberal Convention in Vancouver. She is in her fourth year of studies at the University of Alberta, majoring in Political Science.

Blogs Federal Liberals leaving

Just a quick note to let readers know that I’ve officially requested to be removed from As I no longer associate myself or this blog with the Liberal Party of Canada, it seemed like the honest thing to do (as opposed to the dishonest thing to do). As previously mentioned, I haven’t held a membership or been active with the Liberal Party of Canada for a couple of years and the recent quality of federal-level leadership from all parties have convinced me to keep my federal partisanship at an equal null (also, if someone figures out what the Liberal Party of Canada is standing for today, please let me know).

Like many politically active and aware Canadians, I’ve had a difficult time getting excited about politics with the current lack of political leadership in this country. This has led to a pretty strong disenchantment with the current pack of political leaders. Though I continue to support individual MPs and candidates on the federal scene (such as Elizabeth May, Irwin Cotler, Jim Wachowich, Olivia Chow, and Nathan Cullen), I can’t help but wonder what the days of Canada’s exciting leaders felt like – Lester B. Pearson, Robert Stanfield, Pierre Trudeau, etc and etc. I’m sure that I’m not the only Canadian look forward to the day when we will again witness some real debate on the federal political scene in Canada.

One would have hoped that three well-educated leaders like Stephen Harper (M.A. in Economics from the University of Calgary), Stéphane Dion (Ph.D. from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris), and Jack Layton (M.A. from York University) would be able to raise the level of debate in the House of Commons, but it seems to have degenerated into something that would be more appropriate to a group of political bloggers…

Even imagining what the days of notable provincial leaders – Peter Lougheed, Allan Blakeney, Bill Davis, and René Lévesque – felt like leaves this politico wondering how Canadians ended up with their current (and for a large part uninteresting) group of provincial premiers. Is being boring an electoral strategy? Premiers Ed Stelmach and Dalton McGuinty would certainly lend credence to this theory.

Federal Liberals


…don’t tell anybody that I’m running.

UPDATE: Here’s the list…

Canadian Politics Federal Liberals

i’m not doing anything for the liberal party of canada.

James Bowie has challenged six bloggers (yours truly included) to declare what they are doing to help the Liberal Party of Canada. The challenge originated from a post by Jason Cherniak that caused a bit of a stir over the past week or so in the Canadian liberalish blogosphere (you can check out how Jim Curran, Quito Maggi, and A BCer in Toronto responded to Bowie’s challenge).

As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, I’m not doing anything for the Liberal Party of Canada. Indeed, I haven’t had much involvement with the Federal Liberals since I spent the 2004 federal election volunteering with Anne McLellan‘s successful re-election campaign in Edmonton-Centre.

How come, Dave?

I woke up and came to the realization that I have some pretty big beefs with how the Liberal Party of Canada had governed Canada (whether it be on the environment, post-secondary education, international affairs, trade, and of course, Adscam, among others). So, I let my membership lapse in 2006, and since then Stephane Dion’s hand sitting maneuvers haven’t done much to entice me to re-join his party (not that I’m impressed with Stephen Harper, either).

Since then, I’ve been content to spend my energies over the past couple years working with the Alberta Liberals and the Council of Alberta University Students on the provincial level, and on improving public transit in Edmonton.

In 2006, I lent Jack Layton my vote and voted for NDP candidate Linda Duncan in Edmonton-Strathcona, but in 2008 I’m not sure who I’d vote for. Even though none of the federal parties are really doing it for me, I’m happy to take the Joe Clark approach and support individual candidates on the federal scene by wishing Elizabeth May, Jim Wachowich, Irwin Cotler, Nathan Cullen, and Oliva Chow good luck in their election campaigns.

Alberta Legislature Alberta Tories Federal Liberals Federal Tories Nominations

in the land of.

Things are moving fast in the land of daveberta and I will have more time for some more quality substancial commentary after the end of this week.

A couple of things…

1. Alberta’s Speech from the Throne is on Wednesday. I’ll be there and will be providing my post-game thoughts following the first Speech from the Throne of the first Ed Stelmach PC government.

2. Ken Chapman and Larry Johnsrude have provided some good commentary on the recent semi-release of PC leadership campaign contributor lists from Ed Stelmach and Dave Hancock. I am in the process of writing a more detailed post about this, so look for it in the near future.

3. Just as the Federal Conservatives have finished nominating their Alberta candidates, the Federal Liberals are now beginning. The Edmonton Centre nomination date has been set for March 24. One of the candidates for nomination happens to be Nicole Martel.

4. Art Spiegelman will be speaking at the University of Alberta on Wednesday night as part of the University of Alberta Students’ Union’s Revolutionary Speakers Series.

5. Finally, on two completely non-political related points, I saw finally saw Borat this weekend and I have tickets to see The Police at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton on June 2nd!

David Swann Federal Liberals Federal NDP Jack Layton Stephane Dion University of Alberta


I’d like to draw some quick attention to some new additions to the amazing blogroll to your right, they include the Enlightened Savage, The Prairie Wrangler, and thoughts interrupted, as well as Calgary Mountain View MLA David Swann’s new blog.

Also, I’m working on some exciting template changes that are going to blow your mind!

As well, last week I attended a luncheon for Federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion at the University of Alberta‘s Campus St. Jean. The room was packed to the brims, Dion’s speech was good, and I was impressed with his self-deprecating humour. It’s always nice to see politicians who don’t take themselves too seriously.

I’ll be looking to see how serious Federal NDP leader Jack Layton takes himself when he jets through Edmonton later this week.

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Alberta Tories Ed Stelmach Federal Liberals Jim Dinning Stephane Dion

premier-designate ed stelmach.

Saturday December 2, 2006 was a very bad day for political frontrunners.

We saw Stephane Dion ride from fourth place on the first ballot to defeat frontrunners Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae at the Federal Liberal leadership convention in Montreal.

We also saw Ed Stelmach ride from third place on the first ballot of the Alberta PC leadership race to overwhelm both frontrunners Jim Dinning and Ted Morton on the third ballot.

I did make it out to the Alberta PC leadership party at the aviation centre and I can say it was quite an entertaining peice of political theatre. As with the Federal Liberal race, I did enjoy seeing the frontrunners go down in a blaze of glory. (and I’ll give a shout out to Duncan, Allie, and Blake who were all there).

So, what does an Ed Stelmach led-PC Party mean for Alberta’s political scene?

– Ed Stelmach is the first Alberta Premier from rural Alberta since Social Credit Premier Harry Strom from 1968-1971. Will Ed Stelmach take the Tories the root of Social Credit…
– This race very much manifested itself into a Northern Alberta/Edmonton (Stelmach) v. Calgary (Dinning) & Southern Alberta (Morton).What affect does this have on Tory support in urban Alberta? In southern Alberta? Calgary?
– Can Ed Stelmach appeal to Edmonton and Calgary voters? Does Stelmach’s victory bode well for Kevin Taft’s Alberta Liberals?
– What happens to Ted Morton? It was Ted Morton’s supporters who pushed Ed Stelmach over the top on the third ballot (to the effect of 28000 for Ed Stelmach to 4000 for Jim Dinning).
– What happens to Jim Dinning and the Calgary crew? Jim Dinning was Calgary’s candidate…
– What does Ed Stelmach stand for? This isn’t a personal attack, just a legitimate question. Ed Stelmach’s policy positions on this campaign were not exactly the most well developed. We shall wait and see…

I will have more thoughts on “What now?” later this afternoon…

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Federal Liberals Stephane Dion

…is a vulnerable position.

Being presumptive nominee that is. Random.

Stephane Dion has been selected as Federal Liberal leader over Michael Ignatieff.

Disaster averted?

Canada Liberals choose Stephane Dion as leader

MONTREAL, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Canada’s official opposition Liberals on Saturday unexpectedly chose former Environment Minister Stephane Dion as their new leader despite political shortcomings that could hinder his chances in an election expected next year.

Dion, in fourth place after the first round of voting, beat former Harvard academic Michael Ignatieff on the fourth and final ballot at a Montreal leadership convention. Dion won by 2,521 votes to 2,084.

Will we see another presumtive nominee defeated tonight?

2006 Federal Liberal Leadership Race Federal Liberals Gerard Kennedy Michael Ignatieff Stephane Dion

that other leadership race.

The Federal Liberals are chosing their leader this weekend. Though I was mysteriously left off the Edmonton Strathcona ballot during the delegate selection meetings, I had decided months ago that I would sit out this Liberal leadership convention.

Though I support Gerard Kennedy for the Federal Liberal leadership, finances and interest level had a lot to do with my lack of Montreal presence this December weekend. I think Kennedy would do well as leader. When I met Kennedy this summer I wasn’t overly impressed by the speech he delivered, but when I was able to talk with him one-on-one I was very impressed at the types of ideas we talked about. He is a fresh face for the Federal Liberals with actual elected political experience in government and in opposition. Something that will benefit the Liberals greatly in the next election.

Of the other candidates, I don’t mind Stephane Dion.

Michael Ignatieff is interesting, but hasn’t impressed me during this campaign (or when I met him), and continues to rub me the wrong way.

I find the Bob Rae phenomenon to be the most interesting though. He has a train car worth of political luggage, but continued to surprise me with high level quality supporters such as Ralph Goodale. So, I’m puzzled. He’s intellegent and articulate, but what would happen if he won? Would the Liberals implode and lose all their seats in Ontario? Probably not. The unpopularity of Mike Harris‘ Government is fresher in the mind of Ontarians and former Harris-era Ministers Jim Flaherty and John Baird cruised to Federal victory in January 2006. Could Rae do the same?

This said, I think there is potential for it to be a while before I again become actively involved with the Federal Liberals.

Hopefully whoever is chosen as Leader will do their best to bring the Liberal Party of Canada back to Canadians. Hopefully they can pose a compeditive challenge to the Conservative minority in what will most likely be a Spring 2007 election.

As I do have many friends at this convention, I will direct you to their blogs for their on-site commentary: Gauntlet, CalgaryGrit, and Nic.