In the 2004 Alberta general election the Alberta Alliance Party led by Randy Thorsteinson emerged on the scene with a full slate of candidates.
The winning of a single seat in Cardston-Taber-Warner by Alliance candidate Paul Hinman was a serious upset. No conservative leaning party had been able to threaten the Progressive Conservative dynasty in any way in thirty years. While the Alberta Alliance run hardly put the PC majority at risk, it was the first indication in decades that a significant number of Albertans on the right were willing to examine new political options.
Despite the inroads made in 2004, it would take fourteen more years before a new conservative party took power in Alberta.
Elections, successes, failures, mergers, divides and a series of leaders came and went as the alternative right tried to find solid ground to build upon.
I joined the Alberta Alliance Party in 2005. I was active as an executive committee member in multiple roles over the years and ran for them in two elections.I was a campaign manager in two more elections after that (in the Wildrose Party incarnation).
It was a long path and evolution for a small fringe party to go from one seat in 2004, to no seats in 2008, to official opposition in 2012 to government as yet another merged entity in 2019.
There were hard lessons learned over those years. Many disappointments, personal clashes and internal rifts. There were some great experiences, victories and friendships made as well.
I am going to document the events and evolution of the movement here in a series of posts over the coming months. There are too many good stories and too many good lessons learned to let them get forgotten.