Alberta Liberals officially give up on trying to win provincial elections.

 Well it is official. Rather than trying to look within and change themselves to suit Albertans, the Alberta Liberal Party has resigned itself as a permanent opposition party.

 I guess Swann is being honest in all this but it is still astounding. To outright say that your party will not run candidates in every constituency in the province is to say that you have no hope nor intention of winning the election.

 This must be a quite the slap in the face to those loyal Liberal supporters who have worked their butts off in constituencies that Swann could consider unwinnable and abandon. What about the donors in those constituencies with limited Liberal support?

 Most of all, what about the Liberal voters in these constituencies? As per usual, the Alberta Liberal Party continues to ignore the most important Albertans of all; those that vote. To outright alienate and abandon those voters who supported their own party is nothing less than unconscionable.

 It certainly is quite an assumption to make that those former Liberal voters who will be set adrift electorally will vote for whatever “progressive” option Swann directs them to.

 A Wildrose Alliance government is looking more likely by the day. Clearly Alberta’s Liberals are not ready to change themselves in order to become Alberta’s government in waiting and Albertans are ready for a new government.

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A biased view of the Alberta Liberal convention.

  Yes, I am biased. I see some Liberal types have been whining at bloggers and tweeters for their daring to show a bias when posting/tweeting about Alberta’s hapless Liberal Party. Uhh, well yeah that happens guys. Blogs and tweets are pretty much editorial content and people are putting forth their personal views as they are entitled and expected to do. What you Liberals should be wondering is why 80% of the province demonstrates a bias against you rather than whining about the bias itself.

  Alas, it appears that the forlorn and dwindling Liberal supporters in Alberta have disregarded the sage advice I provided in the posting the other day and have accomplished little to nothing at their annual general meeting last weekend. This should not be that surprising I guess. Alberta’s Liberals have stubbornly clung to their losing formula in Alberta for nearly 100 years. With 2009/2010 being a year of exceptional disappointments for the Alberta Liberal party (plummeting in polls, by-election losses, MLAs quitting and/or seeking other positions)one would think that Alberta’s Liberals may consider doing something different for a change. One in thinking that would be wrong.

 If Albertans were polled and asked what annoyed them most about Liberals, I suspect that Liberal arrogance would top the list. Liberals arrogantly don’t really ask Albertans what they think so the vicious-circle continues and the Liberal Party of Alberta continues to dwell in electoral obscurity.

 I would imagine that those few remaining stalwart Alberta Liberals must be getting pretty dejected by now. One thing that a convention can provide is an opportunity to rally and inspire the troops. A popular means to  doing this is by bringing in a bright and inspiring keynote speaker. Alberta’s Liberals however decided to bring in somebody who typifies the Liberal arrogance that the Alberta electorate despises by inviting the uber-belligerent Warren Kinsella to speak to their gathered membership.

 Ahh yes guys. Nothing would amuse Albertans more and endear them to you than bringing in Chretien’s former attack dog. The Prime Minister who implied that Alberta needed “tough love” really won the hearts of Albertans. Establishing your continued and fawning relationship with the Liberal party of Canada was a brilliant move as well. How many federal Liberal seats are there in Alberta again?

 Now let’s see, Kinsella advised in his speech that the Liberals should “get nasty” and exploit rifts within conservatives in Alberta. Not only are Liberals in Alberta disconnected with the electorate but they would have to be disconnected with basic mathematics in order to consider that to be wise advice. The Liberal party of Alberta currently is sitting at 23% support and is dropping. The combined support of the two parties that are considered to be conservative is around 60%. No matter what way you divide up 60% the Alberta Liberal party still loses here.

 The journal reported on Kinsella’s idiotic advice and the comments from readers were rather telling.  Here are a couple gems from the few Liberal supporting folks who commented:

“The Liberals have been undercut and dismissed so long by the big money right wing that many Albertans are so brainwashed that they cannot see them as the decent alternative that they are, Plus, they are not left wing they are central”

 How can you not love that? Albertans who reject the Liberals are clearly brainwashed and the Liberals are not left wing. This after a baseless shot at an apparent “big money right wing”. Alberta’s Liberals should not only learn to listen to the electorate, they really should listen to themselves some time. The electorate is listening to the Liberals thus the rejection of the Liberals at election time.

 “60% of voters support right wing parties in Alberta? I can appreciate that all the displaced Americans in Calgary are trying to create Shrub’s Lil Texas in Alberta but I really thought real Albertans were too smart to cut their noses off to spite their faces. Unbelievable. Governments are here to serve the people not nameless faceless corporations and special interest groups. After almost 60 years in Alberta I will leave it gladly.”

 Sadly these are arrogant and idle threats. These folks don’t leave. They remain, they support Liberals while insulting Albertans while wondering why almost 80% of Albertans are rejecting them.

 Many have advised this to Liberals before but clearly Liberals and their supporters are not listening. I may as well say it again though it is likely pointless: Quit calling Albertans idiots for not supporting you!!  I assure you, it has not exactly helped you at the polls.

 Now, rather than examining themselves and asking what Albertans may want, our provincial Liberals decided to continue down that road of mathematical impossibility and came out with a useless yet divisive, fluffy resolution to cooperate with other “progressive” parties in the next provincial election. Clearly these folks are not aware that parties considered not to be “progressive” make up more than 60% of the voting electorate. Some claim that the non-voting population will rescue the Liberal party. That idiotic notion is fodder for a future posting.

  The NDP holds a small but solid following within Alberta. Even if 100% of the current NDP supporters suddenly voted Liberal, the Liberal party still could not form government. Rest assured that the NDP voters are not looking to go Liberal anyway so this cooperative notion really is foolish to say the least.

 The Calgary Glenmore by-election of last summer gave a perfect example of the futility of this concept of uniting the “progressive” parties. I was there for every day of that by-election and while I was quite busy with the WAP campaign, I was able to peripherally watch the campaigns of the other parties. Here is the one conclusion that so many Liberals can’t seem to get from that campaign: the “progressive” parties were united in Calgary Glenmore under Avalon Roberts, they gained nothing!!

 The Green Party was gone and the NDP ran a candidate who did no campaigning and as far as I can tell never even set foot in the city during the campaign. The “progressive” field was wide open for the Liberals. The Liberals threw everything they had at the campaign. Volunteers came from around the province while their MLAs dedicated time to things such as hypocritically campaigning outside of polling stations while decrying others doing the same thing (as Kent Hehr did). The turnout was very similar to that of the provincial election and the Liberals did not gain a point! The only thing the Alberta Liberals could have gotten out of that election was a lesson and in light of last weekend’s convention they clearly did not get that.

 Calgary Glenmore was a PC stronghold. The voters of Calgary Glenmore were prepared to reject the PC party and they did. It appears that none of those voters went to the Liberal party however. They went to the Wildrose Party en-masse as did the few Green voters who were there. The Liberals gained nothing despite their best efforts.

Please think about the above paragraph dear Liberal reader. Why were you rejected yet again? It was because you have not changed. What part of Albertans don’t vote Liberal do you not understand? How many decades of rejection will it take for this to get through to you? Even if won’t change the name, quit associating with the federal Liberals for crying out loud.  You guys remind me of that handful of stubborn Social Credit members seeking a time machine that will suddenly bring us back to supporting a theocracy based on flawed monetary theories. It won’t happen folks and the heady days when Decore took you to the right are gone too.

  Albertans are not going to change for the political ideals of Liberal stalwarts thus the Liberal stalwarts had best re-examine themselves.

 Some folks have broken away from the provincial Liberals and they have something of a clue anyway. They are actually trying to listen to Albertans or at least are pretending to. They appear to have put “progressive” filters over their own ears and are likely never going to go beyond being a social-club holding small meetings of like-minded people.  Those Alberta Party supporters still at least realize the futility of the Alberta Liberal approach. These people realize that Albertans want to be listened to. I suspect that these self-styled “progressives” won’t like the answers they would get if they broadened their meetings to Albertans at large as opposed to people within their own small circle.

 The staunch “big listeners” are already eying the Liberal idea with a jaundiced eye as are Alberta’s NDP.

 Albertans have had enough of the PC party and are seeking an alternative. With the clear lack of understanding demonstrated by Alberta’s Liberal party at last weekend’s convention, it is clear that the alternative party for Alberta remains to be the Wildrose Alliance Party.  

 The WAP remains a true grassroots party and was formed based on the needs and wants of Albertans as opposed to misguided ideals. Despite repeated efforts by Liberals and PCs to label the WAP as extreme, the Wildrose continues to establish itself as the alternative government within Alberta. Alberta voters are not as stupid as Liberals continue to assume and that has been reflected in the polls. While PCs and Liberals continue to spit outward, the WAP is looking inward and creating the party that Albertans want.  The Liberals really could have filled that role had they embraced populism but clearly they had no such interest in such a concept.

 The Reform Party swept Alberta and many of our federal seats are still held by Reformers. The PCs and Liberals kept telling Albertans (wrongly) that the Reformers were extremists. That strategy failed utterly as the PCs and Liberals got themselves essentially shut out from federal politics within Alberta. Despite this clear and stark lesson, Alberta’s provincial PCs and Liberals seem insistent upon repeating history on a provincial scale. I guess as a WAP supporter I should be happy about this but it does pain me to see folks who think they are so bright continue down a road so foolish. The day after election dejection must be unreal for Alberta’s handful of Liberal supporters.

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A 12 Step Program for the Liberal Party of Alberta to attain electoral viability.

 Yes, the Alberta Liberal Party has hit a whole new level in demonstrating their disassociation with political reality and their utter lack of viability as a governing party with their release of a 12 step program for Alberta. While their 12 step release contains a great deal of the usual fluffy statements of limited substance, there are gems in there that really help illustrate what the Alberta Liberals are all about.

 One great idea is the banning of all corporate and union donations. Now on one hand, our Alberta Liberals have been patting themselves on the back for having retired their party debt through laying off their staff and putting on the lackluster performance these last two years that one would expect from a party with no money. There was of course some revenue brought in and dedicated to the party debt. Why, in 2009 alone the Liberal Party of Alberta solicited for and received $115,845 in corporate donations.

 Will the Liberal Party of Alberta lead through example and turn down corporate donations from here on in? Taft certainly is working to eliminate corporate donations to the party with his selective number crunching and attacks on Alberta corporations (employers) but that is not the same as the party itself turning down that money now is it? Alberta’s Liberals feel that the corporations who employ the majority of people in the province should not be able to donate to political parties. OK, fair enough. Show the other political parties how to run without corporate donations then Swann.

 The Liberal Party of Alberta knows that they will never form government Alberta and it shows in their unrealistic platforms.

 One would think that with nearly 100 years in opposition in Alberta that the Liberals would learn something by now. Stelmach has created the worst provincial government in living memory and brought the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta to record lows in provincial support. Have the Alberta Liberals been able to capitalize on this opportunity? Nope. With their best chance to form government in nearly a century in front of them, Alberta’s Liberal party has found itself in a distant third place in the polls.

 What solution was found to this voter rejection of Alberta’s dwindling Liberals? What profound initiative was going to bring the Liberal Party of Alberta into contention? Which of the Liberal’s 12 step program steps would solve this conundrum?

 In step 8 the Liberals want to financially castrate themselves. In step 10 the Liberals feel that they have found the route to all those hidden Alberta Liberal voters. The Liberal step 10 calls for us to pay people to go out and vote. That’s right, Alberta’s Liberals feel that we should offer $50 tax credits to everybody who goes out and casts a ballot. Of course, the provincial Liberals seem to be ignoring the reality that even if people suddenly felt inspired to cast a ballot due to this initiative; they still probably would not vote for the Alberta Liberals. Tax credits are really only beneficial to the employed. People who support the Alberta Liberal brand of socialism usually don’t suffer from excess income tax as they usually are not bothered by such annoyances as employment. The chronically self-entitled are the domain of the NDP anyway who are not going to be amused by the Liberal concept of banning union donations to political parties.

 With dozens of electoral defeats in Alberta, the best the Liberal Party of Alberta can do is create a lame 12 step program that demands that we pay people to vote.

12 step programs exist and have been used to help correct people who practice compulsive and self-destructive behaviors (primarily addictions) for decades.  Let’s have a look at how the classic 12 step program could be applied to Alberta’s Liberal party.

Step 1We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.

 Well, the Liberals have indeed been powerless in Alberta for a long time and Liberals in general have demonstrated that they are addicted to the fruits of the labors of others through taxation. It will be a tough step for Liberals to actually admit this though.

 Hey guys, you have to work the program. Let reality be your guide and admit for a change. Voters appreciate humility and they certainly have no appreciated the Alberta Liberal Party. Give it a crack. You have very little to lose.

 Step 2Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

 OK, classic 12 step programs get pretty spiritual and that can be a hindrance to participants. In order to deal with this, programs have allowed their participants to define their own “higher power” into one of their own understanding in case the addict may be an agnostic or practice something outside of mainstream faiths.

OK Liberals, listen up! I am going to define the power greater than yourselves to be that of the electorate. You know, those folks who shun you at every election who you then label as fools for their not having voted for you who then loathe you and your Liberal ways even more thus causing you to go deeper into your ivory-tower world thus separating you further from real Albertans thus dropping you in the polls thus…………….. How’s that for a run-on sentence? I think it helps make the point of the self-destructive cycle Alberta’s Liberals are in though.

 For the remainder of the 12 steps I will substitute the word “God” with “the electorate”. In electoral politics voting (the ones who stay home on election day mean nothing) are God as far as political parties are concerned (at least to parties who want to actually get elected one day).

 Come to believe that the electorate can restore you to sanity Liberals!

Step 3Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the electorate as we understood the electorate.

 OK folks, not all of this should be taken literally.

 You Liberals most certainly should be turning your lives and will over to that of the electorate. This is the key misunderstanding that Alberta Liberals have of the electorate. Albertan voters want to be listened to, not dictated to. The snotty and condescending attitude that Alberta’s Liberal party sends out to the electorate is not exactly endearing. The  academic champagne socialism of the Alberta Liberal party does not sell. Get used to it and get over it.  You either respect democracy or you  don’t. The majority of Albertans do not embrace the Alberta Liberal brand of leftism. Learn this or forever resign yourselves to the opposition benches like the NDP whom you are not very far from at all lately.

 Now back to that “understood the electorate”. Alberta’s Liberals do not understand the electorate at all as they constantly refuse to listen to them. A group of some disaffected Liberals realized part of this and have broken away from the Liberal Party of Alberta to take part in the Alberta Party with their “big listen”. While the listening has been realized, the undemocratic takeover of an existing party has not exactly gotten that bunch off to a good beginning. I am getting the impression that they are claiming to listen but are rather selective so far in what they want to hear. Holding coffee meetings all over the place is indeed dandy, but it will not win seats in the end which really is all that matters if one wants to achieve their goals.

 Do a “big listen” dammit! Shut your Liberal mouths for a minute and listen to the Albertans that you purport to care about. Don’t just listen like the breakaway group though; act on what you hear. Represent those speaking to you and work to get yourselves into a place where you can make the changes that Albertans tell you they want (some call that place the legislature).

 In other words, turn your will over to the electorate as counseled to in this step.

Step 4Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

 OK, having not been in power since the turn of the last century you really have few contemporary examples to view for your moral inventory.  Federally though, your Liberal counterparts have held power on many occasions. Whether through Trudeau’s assault on the West or Chretien’s sheer arrogance and the corrupt shenanigans of his cabinet, the Liberal brand has been completely soiled in Alberta. Look within guys and admit this. Be fearless and accept this.

 Morally, what else are you Liberals in this for? Do you respect democracy? Do you want to represent the majority of Albertans or are you seeking a backdoor way to pursue your personal ideals? Most Albertans feel that Liberals are pursuing the latter goal (voters are more perceptive than you Liberals give them credit for).

 Alberta’s Liberals are in desperate need of some soul-searching. An honest practice of step 4 will go a long way towards that.

Step 5Admitted to the electorate, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

 Now, if you Liberals properly pursued step 4, you will have gotten yourself a list of things that you have done wrong. Rest assured if the list is short, you need to repeat step 4.

 I am going to bring up the name of the person you Liberals consider to be the “Great Satan” of Alberta politics; Ralph Klein. Yes, Klein came from nowhere and snatched the last vague chance you Liberals ever had of forming government under Lawrence Decore from you. Most of you are still stuck in that Decore lala land thinking it will come back for you. Here is one hint on what Decore did that you guys can’t or won’t; Lawrence Decore campaigned from the right-wing.

 Back to Klein, rather than demonizing the man, try to learn from him. Love him or hate him, Klein was unquestionably one of the most successful politicians in the entire history of Alberta. Now here is something important about Ralph Klein that relates to step 5. Listen closely:

   ADMIT IT WHEN YOU ARE WRONG!!!!!

Nothing puts off voters in Alberta more than that usual Liberal arrogance. You guys have been wrong for decades and it is undeniable. That is why you are still in distant opposition. Why do you think that if you use the same formula over and over again that something will change?

 People want to see some humility from you clowns. Drop your nose down an inch and look a voter in the eye for a change. You may be amazed with the results.

 Klein made mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Klein used to admit that he made mistakes. Do you Liberals remember that? What would happen after Klein admitted to making a mistake? The PC party jumped in the polls!! Think about that.

 Alberta needs to be convinced that the Liberal Party has recognized the nature of it’s wrongs and is legitimately changing it’s ways. Are you guys ready to do that? How much more electoral rejection will it take before you do this? You don’t need to making and admitting to a mistake a minute, but geeze guys you have to be realizing that you need to change some things.

Step 6Were entirely ready to have the electorate remove all these defects of character

 OK guys, this gets back to that listening and acting. Do you have faith in the electorate? Do you want to listen to them and actually represent them? Will you represent the electorate even when it may clash with your personal ideals?

 The electorate will remove your defects of character. They will tell you what they want you to do. You have to be prepared to listen to the electorate in good faith in order for this to work.

Step 7Humbly asked the electorate to remove our shortcomings

OK, I have to admit that the steps get a little repetitive here. The point is important though and is worth repetition.

 You have searched yourself, you have questioned the electorate and you have come to some conclusions. Are you ready to put those conclusions into action?

 Your opportunity is at election time. Is your platform based on the wishes of the electorate or is it built on your flawed and repeatedly rejected Liberal ideals?

 Have you any idea what it is to humbly do anything? I understand that this is another one of those challenges for many Liberals. Be humble and give the voters what they want for a change. You may be astounded by the results.

 Try to cut back on calling Albertans rednecks and decrying the province as some sort of backwards cesspool. I assure you that the voters do hear you when you pull that crap.

Step 8Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

 Here is one area where your utter electoral failure has made your job easier for you. Having not been able to gain any power, you really have not been able to harm many people.

 Your initiatives and platforms have been an assault on common sense and your supporters chronic talking down to the electorate have been an offense to good taste. You can’t make amends to taste or common sense however.

 How about people who have supported the Liberal Party through fiscal and volunteer support through the years only to watch you guys throw away election after election? These people must feel like season ticket holders to the Maple Leafs.

 At this point, are you willing to make amends?

 Step 9Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

The best way you can make amends is to follow these steps and actually become a force in the province guys.

 Easier said than done.  If you listen to the electorate, your making of amends will not injure others.

 The collective wisdom of Albertans is more than you Liberals will give them credit for. Try following it for a change.

Step 10Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

OK, now we are talking. You have reformed yourself, your party is growing in the polls. Hell, lets jump waaaaaay ahead and assume that you have gotten the Liberals into power in Alberta for the first time in nearly 100 years.

 Sorry guys, the work is not done. These steps are an ongoing process. Were your prior steps a means to an end or did you truly reform yourself? If you simply pretend to work the earlier steps, rest assured the electorate will continue to see through you so you will not get into power and this step is moot.

 There is always a risk that you will get into power and fall back into your old Liberal ways. I guess if you want a single term before sinking into another century of electoral obscurity you could disregard this step.

Step 11Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the electorate as we understood the electorate, praying only for knowledge of the electorate’s will for us and the power to carry that out

Consult your higher power (the electorate) at all times whether in or out of power.

 Your own best thinking has failed you. What have you got to lose in asking voters what they want for a change?

 Prayer and meditation are not really required for this. Polling, townhall meetings and doorknocking will suffice.

 Only the electorate can grant your wishes. That can’t be stressed enough to you guys thus the repetition.

Step 12Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

 Here is the good news guys. Once you are truly reformed, you can spread the good word country wide. Liberals languish in an electoral wasteland in many provinces within Canada. If you guys could learn to win in Alberta, you could help Liberals in Canada win in any jurisdiction.

 Congratulations on completing your 12 steps.

 Of course, I am somewhat skeptical of the capability of Alberta’s Liberals in reforming themselves so I will stick to supporting the Wildrose Alliance Party who’s willingness to listen to and represent Albertans is reflected in current polls.

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