Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'It Wants to Grow:' Alberta Party Wants in the Game after Right-Wing Merger

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'It Wants to Grow:' Alberta Party Wants in the Game after Right-Wing Merger

Article excerpt

Alberta Party gets infusion of new blood

--

EDMONTON - Mark Taylor is a busy man -- tasked with delivering a leader, 87 candidates and a campaign war chest for a party that talks big, dreams bigger, but so far has been unable to roll up its sleeves and get much done.

"I've seen the ebbs and flows of parties through my history and I'm just really excited about the trajectory this party is on," said the new executive director of the Alberta Party.

"It's not just we want to have 87 candidates. I want to have 87 nomination races. I'm really looking for in the neighbourhood of 200 candidates."

It's an auspicious target for a party that bills itself as the natural home of the centrist voter -- socially progressive and fiscally conservative -- and sees an opportunity to come up the middle in the blood feud between Premier Rachel Notley's NDP and Jason Kenney's United Conservatives.

But in the bottom-line business of politics, the Alberta Party has lagged in every metric since it rebooted its mandate on a centrist axis in 2010.

In the 2012 election, it ran 38 candidates but polled just 1.3 per cent of the vote and got shut out. In 2015, it ran three fewer candidates and polled 2.2 per cent, but did manage to elect then-leader Greg Clark in Calgary Elbow.

The party doesn't release membership numbers, but fundraising over the first nine months of this year has been poor -- just over $77,000.

The party didn't contest a 2016 byelection in Calgary and isn't fielding a candidate in the upcoming byelection in Calgary Lougheed.

There are signs of progress.

Clark's one-person caucus recently became two when NDP Calgary backbencher Karen McPherson crossed the floor. More than 400 people came to the party's annual general meeting Nov. 18. There were 59 last year.

A new board of directors has representatives from across the province. Taylor said they have been rebuilding their constituency associations and now have more than 60.

New blood has come on board including former conservative strategists Stephen Carter and Susan Elliott, as well as former PC president Katherine O'Neill.

Clark, say sources in the party, acceded to suggestions earlier this month that a fresh face was needed to galvanize the party, so he stepped down to allow for a leadership vote set for Feb. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.