New Democrats from across Alberta have gathered in Edmonton this weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their party’s founding. Attendees at this weekend’s annual convention will hear from NDP leader Brian Mason, MLAs Rachel Notley, Deron Bilous, and David Eggen, Member of Parliament Linda Duncan, and federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
With only 4 elected MLAs in the 87 seat Assembly, the NDP Opposition is a small force in Alberta but their MLAs are known for punching above their weight, taking full advantage of every opportunity to get their message into the media. They are good at it. When I worked for the Liberal official opposition in my previous life, I remember how frustrating it was to see the tiny NDP caucus regularly overshadow the Liberal official opposition. They were a tough scrappy insurgency and could easily outmanoeuvre the more official Liberal establishment at the Legislature.
Looking back at the past 50 years, the conference will include a retrospective panel, which will include former MLA Alex McEachern, former NDP president Reg Basken, and former leaders Raj Pannu and Ray Martin. A ‘Planning our future’ panel, complementing the historical retrospective panel, will include Brian Topp, Ryan Meili, and Manitoba Member of Parliament Niki Ashton.
Here is a look at how the Alberta NDP have performed in provincial elections since 1963: