This Week in Alberta - The BIG Merger
But that was then, and just two years later they've already begun carving Danielle Smith's face into the rocky mountains to commemorate her 30 year reign as Premier. So I guess we shouldn't be too dismissive of the merger between Renew Alberta and the Alberta Party - but it's sure hard not to be.
On one side, you have the Alberta Party, which has been around in various fringe separatist forms since the mid-80s, and who collected a whopping 0.46% of the vote last election...in the one riding they ran in. So they've got a base of 51 votes to work off of. But, hey, if they can double that every election, they'll be poised for power in 2068.
And their merger partner? Renew Alberta. Which isn't a party.
So it hardly seems like this is worth talking about, but there are a few reasons to not dismiss this outright:
1. I have a lot of time for the people involved in the Renew movement. They're bright and they're committed.
2. The "Alberta Party" name is a good one to have. Yes, yes, I know it's simplistic, but often politics is simplistic.
3. Alberta politics are all topsy turvy now. There's a mood for change - Danielle Smith has been the benefit of that so far, but that could change.
So I'm intrigued. I'm still on the fence over whether or not I wish them well. On the one hand, I've always felt a new party might be the best way for progressives to gain power in Alberta. After the last election, my dream scenario was an "Alberta Party" fusing together from the ALP, Green Party, disgruntled PCs, and left-wing reformists. Get someone like Dave Bronconnier to lead it, and it could have been them rather than the Wildrosers bearing down on the PCs right now.
But the problem is, the new Alberta Party is going to be fishing from the same pool as the ALP. So even if they do somehow manage to become competitive by 2012 (and that's certainly a long shot), they'd be draining votes from the Liberals - the end result of that would be a PC or Wildrose government.