Sunday, June 11, 2006

Alberta Grits

I had the pleasure of attending the Alberta Liberal Party's (the provincial Liberals) policy convention in Edmonton this weekend. Friday night, all eyes were on Dalton McGuinty who spoke about his experiences bringing the Ontario Liberals from opposition to government. It was good of him to take the time to speak to Alberta Liberals and he was really well received. Friday also featured a hospitality suite hosted by Rick Miller and the MLAs.

Saturday and Sunday, the focus was on policy, as around 50 resolutions were voted on. Most of the resolutions were vague enough to leave the platform committee some leeway (ie. more money for post-sec and infrastructure) and proposals for things like increased Auditor General powers and a Citizen's Assembly are long overdue. At the same time, the perils of grass roots democracy were on display when a resolution calling for all resource revenues to be put in a trust fund passed; the end result would be 7 billion dollars in new taxes or cut services. For a recap of the Saturday, you can also check out Daveberta who I believe was the proud winner of an engraved flask as Young Liberal of the Year.

The general mood was certainly one of optimism, with everyone expecting a spring election (presumably Paul Martin Jim Dinning will be the next Tory leader, although a lot of people feel someone like Ed Stelmach might surprise). The financial books seem to be finally in order, most ridings are finding candidates, and the party has it's first competent leader in a long time. And when it comes to communications and organization, the provincial Liberals are still miles ahead of the federal Liberals in Alberta. What the party does need to do is stop trying to find the perfect policies that will make Alberta a better place and go with some populist policies that will get votes. That's how Harper waltzed to 24 Sussex and there's certainly the potential to pick up a few seats if they roll out some clever vote grabbing ideas.


  • So that's where McGuinty was, instead of taking care of problems at home. There's gonna be murder in Caledonia soon if he doesn't do his job here at home.

    By Blogger Rositta, at 9:45 p.m.  

  • I'm trying to think of a comment that isn't insulting regarding the chances of Liberals running Alberta and am finding it difficult, so will leave it with


    PS what are you smoking, and will you share?

    By Blogger Candace, at 2:32 a.m.  

  • For a party that supposedly is nothing to worry about, the haters sure seem to be coming out to mock it in full force. At least it's a positive for all the cats going unkicked at the moment.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 9:37 a.m.  

  • When I was the campaign manager for one of the Alberta Liberals in 2004, and having been to a number of ALP functions including the Leader's Dinner in Calgary, I saw that one of the main problems of the ALP was communication and message.

    The policies were sound, and the ideas were there - and I think that Kevin Taft is a great person to lead the ALP... but when the radio ads have Taft saying, "The Alberta Liberals, we can do better" (There was supposed to be a pause, but a 15-second radio ad doesn't carry that pause well... kind of like 'Eats, Shoots and Leaves')... or a phrase like '100 Years of Grit' (which makes me wonder if Tilex will get rid of 100 years of grit...), or some fun webpage problems (during the election there was *almost* a major problem), it seems to me that the ALP needs to really focus (forward) on getting a better communication team...

    By Blogger Kirk Schmidt, at 9:49 a.m.  

  • It's not that anyone hates the Alberta Liberals; they're simply funny and ridiculous. Kevin Taft is a decent sort of guy, but also a bit on the weird side.

    The provincial Liberals will never form the government of Alberta again, because they have already had a shot at it, and in Alberta we don't elect a "dynasty" a second time. When time comes to kick out one dynasty, we create a new one and let that one rule for 10, 20 years. Opposition parties are not elevated into the government either; it's always a new party that forms the next dynasty.

    So, the Alberta Liberals have two crucial factors going against them (a. former ruling dynasty; b. current opposition).

    By Blogger George, at 11:24 a.m.  

  • I forgot to mention: the Alberta Liberals did have a chance to regroup and renew a few years ago, when they were talking with the Alberta NDP discussing a possible merger between the two parties. Only problem is that the NDP is even less popular than Liberals in Alberta, so in this case, two negatives would not have made a positive.

    I agree, though, what another commenter said here: that the party needs to change its name and rework its policies. In fact, when Adscam first broke, Taft was the first one to suggest that his party should drop the word "Liberal" from its name. As you can see, he didn't get anywhere with this.

    I also agree with the comment about ads and slogans - they are like children who have yet to learn how to communicate effectively.

    The other problem they have is that they only say what they're against, rather than what they actually stand for.

    That was also the federal Tories' problem for a long time: they'd always oppose, but never reveal what they stood for.

    As for the grassroots base: well, in my riding, the ALP has, perhaps, $30-40 in the kitty (the Tory association has a five-digit balance in its account and about 100 times the membership of the ALP association in that district). So, that doesn't exactly bode well, does it?

    By Blogger George, at 11:33 a.m.  

  • At the same time, we had a drinking game going where you had to take a swig every time Taft said, "The Government's on AUTO-PILOT"


    By Blogger Kirk Schmidt, at 12:32 a.m.  

  • Let me get this straight, the prize for being the Young Liberal of the Year is a flask! Was it filled with Kool-Aid?

    By the way you can keep McGunity, things are no better or worse without him.

    By Blogger Brent Colbert, at 12:48 p.m.  

  • I found a great deal of effective info here!

    By Anonymous, at 11:41 a.m.  

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