The brutal lessons of 2013.
2013 has been a rather tough year for this blogger.
I ran for the Vice Presidency of the Alberta Liberal Party and was unsuccessful. Quite quickly I found I had little support in Edmonton and that I had to work harder to earn the trust of people. It was truly a humbling experience.
When the Alberta Liberals ditched the supporter system I felt that same sense of loss again. I advocated strongly for that new tool set of inviting people into the party (not only for the Alberta Liberals, but for its federal cousin, the Liberal Party of Canada, too), to get engaged and to help Albertan get back on track, but in the end several issues punished the effort before it even began going forward.
I ran for the presidency of the Calgary Centre-North Liberals and, hoping that I’d learn my lesson from my run for the provincial party’s executive, I still lost. This time by just one vote.
If the Alberta Liberals found themselves shining this year, like I forecasted in 2012 they would, I haven’t been part of it. While marshaling several successes this year — challenging the government on healthcare, education cuts, and more — the Alberta Liberals can rightfully lay claim to changing what the province does and how it does it in a very meaningful way. It’s emblematic of the name and shame doctrine of the political process: name the ones responsible for bad policies, shame them, and then keep on doing that until there’s a change.
Some pundits are predicting a minority government in 2016 with the Liberals holding the deciding vote on who forms government. If the current trend keeps moving forward it wouldn’t be that surprising if such a thing came to pass. Raj Sherman as leader has done well by doubling the Liberal’s support since the 2012 election.
The outlook for 2014 for the federal Liberals is even more positive. I had the pleasure of setting up Justin Trudeau for his trip through the University of Calgary and then coordinating a bunch of folks for his rally later that day. The genuine outpouring of energy by students at the university and then the 820+ folks at the rally all point to a positive trajectory for a better vision being implemented in Canada for 2015. By the way, when there are people outside in -10 weather at 9 o’clock at night and smiling while listening to a politician is giving a speech I’m rather optimistic for the federal Liberals and the future of liberalism across Canada.
And with 45% of Albertans saying they’re small ‘l’ liberals, a well-coordinated, well-oiled, and focused campaign can’t help but be successful here in Wildrose country. We have the pieces here in front of us to build a modern movement and just have to glue them together.
For that well-coordinated, well-oiled, and focused campaign to exist there needs to be better campaigners, better tactics, and more gifted listeners in Alberta. I’ve begun to work toward that goal in 2015 and 2016. I have gone out of my way to listen to the real experts on campaigning. I’ve managed a campaign for a candidate this last municipal election where she won by 10,000 votes. And I have my sights on a few more campaigns that are coming up to truly tap into who Albertans want representing them.
On another front, the gentleman I endorsed and ran the campaign of for the presidency of the Alberta Young Liberals is well on his way rebuilding the youth wing of the Liberals here in Alberta. Also, while pitching in with the Alberta Young Liberals as the president of the University of Calgary Liberals — pushing the membership above 120 and nearly quadrupling the association’s facebook page likes in three short months — I’ve been putting a lot of new ideas into play. Those new ideas have caused better outreach, more memberships, more media mentions     , and a growth for the cause on campuses around Alberta.
The outlook for liberalism in Alberta is positive. This blogger may have been beaten down but for every loss I’ve picked myself back up and I am heading into 2014 intent on changing Albertan politics. Here’s to a new year.