Creating Winning Conditions for 2016
There are several things that need to be done for a Liberal government in 2016 in the province of Alberta. It’s a trifecta of issues and all, ultimately, comes back to building a connection with our different communities in Alberta. The main three issues are that there are material deficits in the party, firstly; secondly, there is a direct need to build campaign capacity; and thirdly, there is a need for a communications campaign that is united on all fronts pumping the same fundamental message.
Material Deficit: First of all, there is a fundamental disparity in the amount of people, money, and support that the Alberta Liberal has and the two leading parties — the Wildrose and the Conservatives. Particularly there is the money issue with the total spent by both the Wildrose and the Conservatives being some 65 times the amount that the Alberta Liberals spent in the 2012 provincial election.
This materiel deficiency needs to be overcome. There are four core ways to overcome it.
Firstly, consistent fundraising programs that are based on the data collected from the 2012 provincial election are a must.
Secondly, the ability to extend the teams formed during the election and extend them out into the non-writ period to build up (i) support in the community, (ii) loyalty to party brand, and (iii) legitimacy in the community in order to recruit a candidate for the next election (or continue building with a candidate).
Thirdly, a focused effort to build up memberships, a focus on inclusion in a divisive era of politics, and promoting the community aspect of a political association.
Fourthly, it’s to develop core roots into communities across the province that are already present but are not currently being utilized.
Building Campaign Capacity: It’s also about building capacity in campaigning. Particularly the ability to utilize people, funds, and ideas to push a plan of action to win an election. What is currently in existence are several silos of campaigners who talk to each other once in a couple of months, if that. There needs to be a regular and consistent effort made to connect campaigners to share ideas and build capacity through combined efforts in micro-campaigns (ex: membership renewal campaigns, fundraising campaigns with angel donors, and other focused, few weeks long efforts).
Not only does there need to be consistent campaign colleges there also needs to be outreach to other levels of elections to provide expertise, skills, and man power to grow our capacity.
Following with this general strategic and tactical growth there needs to be an effective method in the party to decide where resources should be spent on during an election. Specifically a way to place party funding, partisans across different regions, and focus the two onto select seats while keeping strong teams in other non-priority constituency while always having a focus on expanding the party base and seat count.
Pointing out the Obvious: The Liberals stand for things. A lot of people forget that. The Alberta Liberals stand for individual freedoms, a free but fair market economy, a government that taxes the least it needs while supporting those who can support themselves with a robust, predictable safety net, and that provides a common sense, stable, and predictable government for Albertans. It’s simple stuff. It’s about protecting the environment, supporting a robust industry, possessing a strong degree of fiscal discipline, and a strong social safety net. We just need to keep on telling people about these core values.
It’s also about pointing the obvious about the other parties in this province.
The PCs have shown themselves thoroughly corrupted by time, by lack of effort to root out their darker demons, and their inability to not pick clean Alberta’s coffers for personal or political gain.
The Heritage Fund is in tatters, and places like Norway (that copied Alberta!) have their version of the Heritage Fund holding some $400 billion. The Albertan experiment was started in the 70s (Norway copied us in 1996) and we are barely scratching above a billion dollars for our fund. It’s a stark comparison. Then came political scandal after political scandal: public institutions like town councils donating to Progressive Conservative coffers for basic access for support of their projects, defunding projects in areas that voted away from the governing Tories, Tory games with the media that shred documents and avoid public sunlight, and an endless charade that makes any interested partner gag.
The Progressive Conservatives is a party devoid of ability to plan for the future and has proven itself again and again incapable of competent governance. It’s on standby and holding onto government by the fact that it is still in government. It is a party of government and has shed both its credibility, ability to govern, and the passion to have new ideas.
And the Wildrose, with terribly racist candidates and anti-LGBT rhetoric, is a no better alternative.
It’s an effort in consistency and teamwork, while building up real connections with the communities we all live in. That’s it.
Vincent St. Pierre is a fifth generation Albertan and Calgarian blogger. (Read more.)