Alberta Politics

Alberta Liberals set to rebrand as Liberalberta, sources say.

Liberalberta Alberta Liberal Party
A screenshot of the Liberal Party website.

The Alberta Liberal Party is rebranding its image with plans to relaunch its website, adopt a new logo, change its official colours, and, according to Liberal sources, rename itself Liberalberta.

Last forming government following the 1917 election, Liberals are the constant underdogs of Alberta politics and being severely hampered by connections to unpopular Liberal governments in Ottawa.

Raj Sherman Liberal Party leader Election 2012
Raj Sherman

After three years of internal turmoil following left-leaning leader Kevin Taft‘s resignation in 2008, the Liberals selected former Tory MLA Raj Sherman as their leader in 2011. During those intervening years, the Liberals lost their position as the default opposition to the Tories and were replaced by a reinvigorated Wildrose Party led by lobbyist and former newspaper columnist Danielle Smith.

The Liberals dropped to 9% province-wide support in the 2012 election, electing only 5 MLA’s and losing Official Opposition status for the first time since the party’s high-watermark in the 1993 election.

In August 2012, the Liberals hired a new executive directorGerald McEachern, a New Brunswick-based writer and consultant. The major rebranding, an idea that in the past has been rejected by the more orthodox Liberal crowd, is likely an attempt for the party to gain back the ground it lost – which just may require a drastic move (and perhaps they drew some inspiration from the name of a popular political blog).

As well as rebranding, the Liberal Party’s board of directors is said to have rescinded its offer to cooperate with other “progressive” political parties – namely the New Democratic Party and the Alberta Party – to prevent vote splitting.

Unfortunately for all three of these parties, the shifted political narrative in the 2012 election led many progressive and moderate Albertans to support Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservatives in order to block Ms. Smith’s Wildrose Party from forming government.

Update (October 19, 2012): I posted a question on Twitter to Liberal Party strategist Alex Macdonald asking whether the new “Liberalberta” wordmark logo had been focus group tested. Mr. Macdonald’s response was that the “Liberalberta” wordmark had been approved by the Liberal Party executive and executive board, and not a impartial focus group.

Meanwhile, Calgary Liberal Party activist Gwyneth Midgley raised concerns on Twitter that Liberal Party members were not consulted in the rebrand.

Alberta Politics

alberta liberals hire new brunswick resident as new executive director.

The Alberta Liberals quietly announced on their website this week that New Brunswick-based writer and consultant Gerald McEachern would take over as the party’s executive director on September 4. Following the Liberal Party’s disastrous showing in the May April 2012 election, the position had been filled on a temporary basis by strategist and former candidate Alex Macdonald. Before to the election, the executive director role was filled by Corey Hogan.

Here is an exert from the Liberal Party website:

After an extensive national search that saw more than 20 people apply for the position, Van Vliet said he’s confident that Gerald has the experience, the skills and the enthusiasm to lead the Party organization forward as we all support Raj Sherman’s four-year plan to win the hearts and minds of Albertans.

Gerald comes to us via Northern Ontario and lately from New Brunswick. His career is both rich and varied: he has been a strategic consultant, a business developer for towns, businesses and NGOs and the owner of a marketing and communications firm.

He has been an active Liberal for many years, both in New Brunswick and in Ontario. Gerald has also been a dedicated volunteer board member for several social, historical and arts organizations.

Mr. McEachern is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post Canada and also maintains his own blog. His online biography lists him as living in St. Andrews by-the-Sea in New Brunswick.

Led by Raj Sherman, the Liberal Party elected only 5 MLAs in the 2012 election and lost official opposition status for the first time since the 1993 election.