2013 is the Alberta Liberal’s year to shine
The Alberta Liberals are under attack. The Liberals are being assailed from every party from every corner of this province. The march to the middle has been of pronounced presence by almost every political faction in Alberta.
The NDP have made open moves toward Liberal voters, campaigning hard in long held Liberal seats like Edmonton-Gold Bar and other constituencies, and Ms. Redford campaigned viciously in long time Liberal MLA Dr. David Swann‘s riding of Calgary-Mountainview. Allison Redford made five stops in the riding and her party made every effort to bump Swann from the electoral map. The Wildrose under Danielle Smith has pushed hard from her right-ward base towards the voters that normally swung PC and Liberal, eating into PC and Liberal voters at the same time. It doesn’t help that the Alberta Party, started by Liberal staffers and many frustrated by the political process, sprouted up to aim for the same voters the Liberals form their base from.
For myself I have been asked to join the Wildrose — even at the election party of Harvey Locke after he came up a thousand votes short of the Conservatives in the Calgary-Centre byelection — some six times over the last two months. And the Progressive Conservatives? I’ve written the tally at fourteen separate individuals. And these are all recent emails / texts / facebook messages and don’t include the ones in this blog post from 2010. If the NDP had any organization in Calgary they probably would have asked, too.
So the irony should be pretty obvious. Every party seems to want to be Liberal just without the name.
There are three great things that can come from this and will be at play in 2013.
(1) Being at the centre of this march to the middle means that the Liberals can define the debate.
Raj Sherman, Laurie Blakeman, Kent Hehr, Darshan Kang, David Swann, and the entirety of the party, can define the policy, the ideas, and the way that the public should go in the next two decades. That’s a lot of power. And a giant opportunity.
The Progressive Conservatives wouldn’t exist without the Liberal party. Staffers, federal Liberals, and the recent election that called upon tens of thousands of traditional Liberal voters to go blue to keep out the Wildrose threat all point to this key fact. We pull one way, set forward positive policies that challenge the status quo, and the party ultimately alters Alberta in a way that no other party can.
Properly leveraged the party can expand its influence, gather candidates for the election three years from now, and begin to empower a stronger voice for Albertans in the legislature.
(2) Remember we’re a party.
That’s a fairly weird sentence. But seriously, it’s a very important point. Many Liberal supporters haven’t been asked for money, for their involvement, their expertise, or much of anything else for about ten years. There is this untapped group of people who are willing to do things and simply need a structure to do it.
Many have forgotten the purpose of a political party inside the Liberals. It’s about time that the efforts between elections are dialed up, that effort to go to the electorate constantly be done, and the engagement of those frustrated with the process can be done.
The Alberta Liberals have a leader that’s interested in building the party and creating deeper roots for the party. It’s going to take hard work.
(3) If you want to have an influence you have to be involved.
The people in the province are frustrated. We have a premier that has a mandate just to be not the Wildrose and little else. The Albertans in the Liberal party are angry that we haven’t been as successful as we’d like to.
This is a recipe for change in the province of Alberta. And the values of liberalism here are important and are at the forefront of the public debate.
In 2013 it’s the Liberal’s year to shine.