Conservative unity has Rachel Notley terrified, & it should.

For the first time since the late 1990s conservative minded Albertans are unified under one political banner. Jason Kenney was the prime orchestrator of the unity movement from its inception to its conclusion with 95% merger support from the memberships of both the Progressive Conservative Party & the Wildrose Party.  Kenney demonstrated the same drive and organizational strength as he solidly took the leadership of the nascent United Conservative Party. With such a solid and proven record as a formidable campaigner and strategist, the prospect of facing off against Jason Kenney in a general election is a discomforting one for any NDP strategist who maintains any basis in political reality.

All the above being said, it is not simply Jason Kenney’s leadership alone that has the NDP and their supporters in abject terror for their political lives today. Those who follow political movements recognize that a massive, well organized movement has developed that will be difficult to stop whether Jason Kenney leads it or not. Conservatives have truly united and will now be able to focus on forming the next government with pragmatic common sense goals and policies.

The leadership race for the UCP was hard fought and with no holds barred. While it is painful to endure such races, they are indeed prequels for what the general election will look like. Whoever was going to lead us against the Notley Regime in the next election had to prove themselves to be tough and exceedingly well organized in what will be a terribly rough campaign.

Due to the nature of these races they can be very dangerous for parties. Leadership races can turn into civil wars that create rifts that never heal within the party. Opponents and detractors of united conservatives poked as hard as they could from the sidelines in hopes of fostering division within the party.

To the disappointment of Notley and her supporters, the UCP came out of the race more unified than ever.

In this picture we see three very dedicated supporters for three different leadership candidates. Dean Leask on the left passionately supported Brian Jean’s leadership bid. In the middle and wearing my best wrinkled shirt, I supported Jason Kenney. On the right and looking much more presentable is my wife Jane Morgan who stepped down from the UCP leadership committee as she strongly felt she wanted to get involved and help Doug Schweitzer on his campaign. All of us serious and committed conservative supporters and all firmly in different camps.

Now that the race is over, we are unified in our support of the UCP under Jason Kenney. Dean will still drop by my pub, Jane still lets me come to bed with her (except after times when I have indulged in taco Tuesday) and we all will be working hard together to replace the NDP government with a UCP one.

The picture is indicative of the rest of the room that night. There are some sour grapes out there. There are some folks who need a little time to embrace the party under the new leadership. All in all though, the vast majority of the membership is united and looking ahead today. Hopes for an internal implosion by some have been dashed.

The picture above is even more striking and indicative of how and why the UCP is striking fear into the left.

Along with my wife and I we see Piotr and Christina Pilarski. Both very politically active and driven couples who have worked on a number of campaigns. Until recently though, we were always on different teams. As Wildrosers and PCs we all fought tooth and nail with each other for years. That was the kind of division that led to our accidental NDP government and that division is utterly gone today. We all will be working together to defeat the NDP now.

I have attended countless Wildrose gatherings over the last ten years. Last summer I attended my very first Progressive Conservative function when I went to the PC leadership gathering. Last Sunday I went to the UCP leadership race and was thrilled to see all the political movers and shakers from both parties all in one spot. It was not a tense gathering. It was not a forced marriage. We are all pumped and excited about being on the same team. The NDP has given us cause to unite in a way that no conservative leader ever could.

Think of the resources duplicated and wasted in the last few general elections as the Wildrose and PC parties battled with all they had. Strategists, campaign managers, donors and thousands of volunteers at every level all divided and working against each other. While a tiny minority of those have chosen not to join the UCP, clearly the vast majority have stayed on.

Now imagine the campaign machine that is in the works here. All of these people, the experience and the funds united with a common cause and under the leadership of a masterful campaigner.

That is what has the NDP in a true panic. Its not just Jason Kenney’s leadership. Its the huge and dedicated organization of people now focused together on ridding Alberta of its accidental, socialist government.

Rachel Notley usually shows composure. In a tweet this morning though, she clearly lost control and her petty and belligerent tweet this morning showed the abject terror that has infected her.

Yes, the tired old fear and smear drum is being beaten and it will be in an ever more shrill way until the NDP are finally tossed soundly from the legislature of Alberta in a general election.

I guess we can’t exactly expect the NDP to campaign on their sound fiscal management or on the “social license” that they never managed to buy us with the wretched carbon tax. Fear & smear is all they have.

Thank’s to Dave Rodney stepping aside, we will get to see a micro-preview of the next campaign as a by-election will be held in Calgary Lougheed. I sort of feel sorry for the residents of that constituency as they are about to be barraged by what will be one of the largest single constituency campaign teams that the province has ever seen. Volunteers from the new UCP are chomping at the bit to work on a campaign together against the NDP and they will be coming out in the hundreds if not the thousands as the by-election is fought. No door will go without being knocked multiple times nor phones without multiple calls. Hopefully Notley calls the election before Christmas so voters can get an assured non-political break right after the campaign.

As I said in a posting yesterday, David Khan finds himself rather hooped here. He is a brand new party leader as well and he needs a seat. His hopes are slim to none in Lougheed but he will look terribly weak if he doesn’t contest it.

One possible out for Khan would be in Calgary Mountainview if David Swann steps aside. Swann has no plans to run again and leaving a year or so early won’t harm his ambitions much This would be a terrible gamble for the Alberta Liberals though as they very possibly could find themselves going from one seat in the legislature down to none if Khan can’t win in Mountainview.

If David Khan can’t win in Calgary Mountainview in a by-election though, I think it is safe to say that he can’t win anywhere. Mountainview is the closest thing that the Liberal Party has to a provincial stronghold in Alberta.

Personally, I think that Doug Schweitzer would be an ideal UCP candidate to run in Mountainview as well. What better place to send out a dynamic, young and moderate urban Calgarian UCP candidate? I am just spitballing here of course but I think it would be a great race and if he won he would be a great addition to caucus.

We are in for some exciting political times in the next few months no matter how you look at it. As a conservative I have never felt so optimistic as I am now with this new united movement. There is a mountain of work to be done before the next general election but with this giant and experienced group, I am confident that it will be well polished by the spring of 2019. Yes, Rachel has good reason to fear for her job.

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The continued collapse of Alberta’s “progressives”.

 While Alberta’s Liberal party still will not shed itself of it’s name (which equates to poison), individual left-wingers in Alberta have tried to cloak themselves by using the term “progressive” rather than Liberal. The vast majority of Albertans do not support left-wing movements however and it has been a rather dark comedy observing “progressives” ripping themselves apart in trying to hide from this reality.

 Eddie Stelmach is continuing to represent the “progressive” part of the Progressive Conservative Party through his continued top-down governance style and out of control spending. The recent flip-flop on teacher salaries and his questioning of the bonuses given to the people that he appointed himself prove a level of incompetence that only a progressive can achieve.

 On the Liberal front, a desperate David Swann issued an open letter begging for other “progressive” movements to join them so that they may possibly retain their status of official opposition in the next general election (the PCs will likely fill that role). Brian (irrelevant) Mason was quick to dismiss Swann’s plea as he is more than happy to keep his party in the two to three seat position that it enjoys. Mason likes being a big fish in a small pond and he will remain there.

 During the Stampede Parade an incident occurred that could not have been better scripted in the symbolism that it represented. An antique car was acquired and Swann along with his dwindling caucus tried to ride in the parade.

 The car broke down and they had to push it.

 Wow. The provincial Liberals forlornly pushing an outdated machine in front of tens of thousands of Albertans who are indifferent to them.

 Another group that dissed Swann’s love letter was the Alberta Party. For those not aware, the Alberta Party is a fringe political party that was taken over by a group of “progressives” who felt that the Liberals and NDP were not serving the needs of that minority of left-wing citizens of Alberta. These progressives rationed that the small pool should be split into wading ponds.

 This group of homeless progressives failed dismally in getting a few thousand signatures in order to form a fresh party so they took the route of taking over a small but existing party.

 The newly anointed leader of the Alberta Party is Edwin Erickson. Some may remember him from when he participated in the takeover of the Alberta Green Party which he subsequently destroyed.

 In light of recent events, it looks like Erickson is taking the skills he learned in dividing the Alberta Green Party and applying them to destroying the fledgling Alberta Party. Below are some transcripts from  Alberta Hansard where the Alberta Party presented to a legislative committee.

The Chair: I would ask that the Alberta Party take their chairs at the
end of the table, please. I’ll ask you to introduce yourselves, please.

Mr. Erickson: I’m Edwin Erickson, the leader of the Alberta Party.
I have an official statement to make from the party.

The Chair: And the other member, please?

Mr. Whyte: My name is Bob Whyte. I’m one of the Edmonton
region elected representatives. I’m perhaps the first person for this
party to register to make a presentation today. My presentation will
be very brief.

 Ok so here we have Edwin Erickson the apparent leader of the party and Bob Whyte a board member of the party each approaching the committee. Whyte felt he had to point out that he was the first person to register for this presentation. The reason for this comes below:

Mr. Erickson: I will make the official statement from the party.
Any other statement is not an official representation of the party and
is certainly not part of our mandate for being here.

 OK, so Erickson has to make it clear that he is the only one who can speak for the party. Elected board members may not do so and will not be considered part of the mandate or official.

 Quite the disclaimer. Rather ironic considering the Alberta Party is still wrapped in their idealistic and delusional “big listen” and that they are trying to come from some sort of high position in supporting democratic rights and free speech.

Mr. Erickson: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee,
ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to speak to the committee
on behalf of the Alberta Party. I will take this opportunity to give
you a brief description of our party for your information, followed
by the Alberta Party’s recommendations to the committee.
The revitalized Alberta Party has suspended all its former policies
and on March 4 of this year embarked on a program to reach out to
Albertans through its Big Listen project. The intention of the Big
Listen project is to engage a wide cross-section of Albertans in the
process of creating party policy, with the first fruits of that labour to
be realized at our policy convention in November of this year. The
Big Listen project is born of the Alberta Party’s core belief in
exercising accountability, transparency, and collaboration with
members of the Alberta Party, with participants of the Big Listen,
and with all Albertans.
Although some initial thoughts on potential positive changes in
accountability for funding of leadership campaigns have been items
of discussion within the board of directors and executive of the
Alberta Party, it must be stressed that our party has not yet completed
the first decisive phase of the Big Listen program. Because
that process has not yet been fulfilled, we are not prepared to make
specific recommendations to the committee at this time.
However, we would like to make it known for the record that the
Alberta Party does definitely support in principle the concepts of
funding limitation,accountability,and transparency for all provincial
political parties when conducting partyleadership campaigns. In the
spirit of collaborative effort toward enhanced good government, as

July 8, 2010 Public Safety and Services PS-321

leader of the Alberta Party I extend the offer to work together with
the committee and all other political parties toward this common
goal.In closing, the Alberta Party wishes the committee success with
its endeavours to institute meaningful legislative or regulatory
reform applicable to all. Thank you for the opportunity. I’m
available for your questions.

 OK, so Erickson makes his big presentation which essentially is a plug for their party with no substance. Nothing new there.

 Now it gets more fun:

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Erickson.
I’ll open the floor to Mr. Whyte for some comments.

Mr. Whyte: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the
committee, for upholding my registration to speak here today. Very
briefly, I support the representations that were made in writing by
Mr. Robert Leddy, who is present today and who is a former interim
leader of our party.
I query one of the important statements made by the gentleman
who spoke before who stated, “The revitalized Alberta Party has
suspended all its former policies.” The query is because those
policies which have been adopted by the general membership of the
province continue until they are changed by the general membership
of the province. I think it is suitable to make a representation that a
board of directors cannot discharge the decisions of the general
membership. A board of directors needs to act within the mandate
that has been given to them, and it is on that point that I wanted to
speak here today. I felt if I remained silent, then I would be giving
consent by silence to this statement.
Thank you.

 Whyte has to begin by thanking the Chair for upholding his registration. Clearly Erickson and others in the Alberta Party tried to shut down Whyte’s right to speak to their committee. Thankfully  reason prevailed, Bob Whyte was allowed to speak and we can enjoy this comical event.

 Whyte is rightly mentioning that in their takeover of the Alberta Party, the rights of the existing members were completely ignored. The party constitution was completely trampled on too. How progressive.

 No wonder Erickson wanted Whyte shut out.

The Chair: Thank you.
I’ll open the floor to questions, starting with Mr. Allred.

Mr. Allred: Thanks, Mr. Chair. Mr. Whyte, in your reference to the
former policies of the party, was there any policy that dealt specifically
with this issue of disclosure of leadership campaign funding,
et cetera?

Mr. Whyte: To the best of my knowledge there was not. A lot of
work has been done on it, but it has not received the final imprimatur
of the board of directors.

Mr. Allred: So there never was a policy with regard to disclosure of
leadership campaign funding.

Mr. Whyte: To the best of my knowledge. There is a desire for
transparency and so on, but to the best of my knowledge there is no
exact provision on this.

Mr. Allred: So with regard to this particular issue, then, I would
presume that you and the leader are in concurrence.

Mr. Whyte: Generally speaking, yes.

Mr. Allred: Thank you.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Allred.

 OK, so through questions it is determined that the original Alberta Party never had any policies with regards to leadership donors.

Mr. MacDonald: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Erickson, you
were present for the submissions made by the Conservative Party, by
Ms Notley from the New Democrats. Do you generally agree?
Certainly, the Alberta Liberals have been the leaders here. We have
had full and open disclosure for some time. The statements made by Ms
Notley and certainly the statements made by Mr. Smith that they,
too, would like to see an open, transparent disclosure process not
only for donations but also for expenses to leadership campaigns –
you’re the leader of the Alberta Party. What would you like to see
done?

Mr. Erickson: Well, I think my statement that I made saying that
we support in principle the concepts of limited funding, accountability,
and transparency for all political parties pretty well tells you that
we concur with that notion.

Mr. MacDonald: Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Macdonald.
The next question by Ms Calahasen.

Ms Calahasen: I understand that you both agree. According to the
concepts that you’ve been working with on the funding limitation
and accountability, both of you agree that there should be an
accountable measure to be able to deal with financial situations for
leadership races. Is that in fact true?

Mr. Erickson: Yes, that’s the general . . .

10:15

Ms Calahasen: Okay. Knowing that – and I understand that you
have not completed the Big Listen, as you call it – are there any
policies or anything that would guide this party to look at public
disclosure from a context of reporting, and what would your
thoughts be as to who should govern the management of such a
thing?

Mr. Erickson: I’m sorry that I can’t give you any indication in that
direction because of the fact that our process is incomplete. I’m here
today to fortify the concept that we do want increased accountability,
transparency, and fundraising limitation for leadership races.
Unfortunately, I can’t expound on that very much. I’m here to show
my party’s support to the concept.

Ms Calahasen: So if the party is in support of the concept and if our
process is finished before your process is finished, you would live
with whatever we come forward with in recommendations?

Mr. Erickson: Absolutely.

Ms Calahasen: Thank you.

 OK, so Erickson has confirmed that the new Alberta Party has no stand or policy in regards to leadership funding and disclosure either.

In other words, they had nothing to say yet felt compelled to waste time and people’s tax-dollars in order to stand before a public committee and air their internal party dirty laundry.

 Wow, those progressives sure know how to make good public impressions. 

 The entire original document can be found here.

 I sort of wish that the Alberta Party could get a seat or two so we could laugh at their antics in every Hansard. Alas, it is clear that they will rip themselves apart from within long before they get even a single constituency association registered. There is no way this group of folks will get themselves into a position of electability.

 The bottom line in all of this is that a small group of people will simply not face the reality that Alberta is not left-wing and their stunts are getting increasingly pathetic on all fronts as they try to dodge this reality.

 Meanwhile, the Wildrose Alliance Party continues to soar along on the heels of a monumental AGM and packed fundraisers.

 The next election is going to be a fun one indeed.

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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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The outcome of appeasement.

I finished yesterday’s rambling post by mentioning how people occasionally use the word compromise in a derisive manner when what they actually should be saying is appeasement.

 We see cowardly actions of appeasement quite often when the law and politicians are dealing with protesters of all sorts of stripes. I observed the G8 summit protests in Calgary in 2002 to observe just where the trouble stems from when these left-wing protests almost inevitably go off the rails. The police handed out brochures telling just what the bounds of peaceful demonstration are as people gathered. Ironically (as many of these protesters are self-styled environmentalists) most of the brochures were thrown to the ground and they littered the area quickly. I watched masked people lunging at a fence and lifting their masks to spit on police officers who stoically restrained themselves from retaliating from these assaults. I observed windows being smashed from legitimate businesses who were unfortunate enough to be in the path of the mob. I saw a few people arrested when their activities went well beyond the pale.

 I later read that those arrested were given tiny, token fines for their activities. In light of that, is it any wonder that these violent protests continue?

 A couple weeks ago, the kooks from Greenpeace trespassed on a Shell oilsands facility and stopped production in that section for almost two days.  The protest was ended when:

“”As long as we removed ourselves, (they) agreed to release us without any charges, either criminal or civil,” said Mike Hudema of Greenpeace.”

 OK, so these clowns broke the law, put themselves and others at risk and cost Shell untold money as production was halted. For these actions they were allowed to go their merry way with no consequences. Guess what happened?

 Yes, Greenpeace moved on and decided to block production at a Suncor facility.  In this case, the idiots actually chained themselves to a conveyor putting themselves (which is fine by me) and the workers/police (not ok by me) at risk as these twits had to be removed.

 Is this really a surprise though? The attempted appeasement at the Shell site simply told these people that they may disregard the law with impunity. They got the press they sought, they halted production and they paid no price. Of course these guys were willing to do it again. It really does not take a genius to realize that this would be the outcome of appeasement.

 The fools have indeed been charged this time at least. Twenty-one nuts were arrested and charged with criminal mischief over $5,000. It is worthy of note that only one of these kooks was actually Albertan and most of them are not even Canadian. I hope the courts press these charges to the full extent that they can. This crap has to stop.

 Further to the charges to the individuals, I strongly feel that Greenpeace itself should be sued and possibly closed down for encouraging criminal activity. Greenpeace is a multi-national corporation who had a net income of $202 million CDN in 2006. They can surely afford to cover the lost revenue they have cost while attacking these energy facilities.

 David Swann demonstrated his usual disconnect from reality on this issue with this statement:

“These are massive projects with significant potential to impact the environment and human health, and I think it’s incumbent on both government and the industry to review their security measures,” said Liberal Leader David Swann

 WOW. Talk about blaming the victim there Swann. The criminal and dangerous assault on oilfield facilities was the fault of the facility owners for not having stopped the criminals from entering. I have spent time working up there. These are facilities in isolated areas and they are well marked. People don’t accidentally stumble into them. What would be more effective Mr. Swann would be charging these fools when they purposely break the law.

 Peaceful demonstration is a vital right. We keep appeasing when demonstrators cross the line of legality though and we really should not be surprised when the lawbreaking escalates.

 There are many rational and effective environmental groups that have good points to make and are worth listening to. Greenpeace however is not one of these groups. Filling offices with fish and countless expensive and criminal trespasses do not do anything to serve the environment and the allowing of these actions must stop. Greenpeace is a large corporation and they should be held accountable for their criminal actions.

 Oh yes, and I shed no tears when the Rainbow Warrior sank.

Rainbow Warrior

 

 Compromise is finding a middle ground. Compromise is impossible with criminal extremists such as those with Greenpeace. Greenpeace seeks no middle ground, they only seek more publicity to fund their giant corporation. Appeasement with extremists like these is pointless.

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Things are looking good.

At least they are from a partisan point of view if you are a Wildrose Alliance Party supporter.

The financial numbers for the parties (at least most of them) were published yesterday and some changes are evident on the Alberta political landscape.

Liberals $437,690.00 Deficit
NDP $408,628.00 Deficit
WAP $1,622.95 Deficit
PC’s $1,976,577.00 Surplus

 Or in fundraising terms Braid said it well in his article:

 “The Wildrose Alliance enjoyed a real surge in fundraising last year, collecting nearly $1 million. The new party emerged from 2008 with a deficit of only $1,622.95.

That’s really good, actually. Any opposition party so close to being debt free is a big winner on Alberta’s loser circuit.”

 Now this does have to be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, the WAP is leading on the “loser circuit” but we are indeed still on that circuit.

 Trends in electoral support in Alberta are finally showing some signs of change however. The most striking right now is in fundraising. The PCs remain a powerhouse in that regard making six-figures in interest from their party savings alone. The party in power will always maintain a degree of contributions as interest groups contribute in hopes of gaining the favor of the ruling party. In light of Stelmach’s abuse of Alberta’s business community though, we can already see a shift in corporate donations leaving the PC party. With Stelmach leading Alberta into her first deficit in 15 years in a few days, I suspect that many grassroots supporters will be re-evaluating their choice to cut a cheque to the PC party in the future as well.

 The Alberta Liberal Party is mired in debt and is now closing their Edmonton office and laying off staff. The sharp swing to the left the party took with the choice of David Swann has costed them greatly. Lets face it, the remaining supporters are socialists. Socialists don’t dig into their pockets to support causes, they demand that others dig into their pockets. Sadly, that strategy is an utter failure when it comes to political fundraising. The ALP will be further challenged in maintaining a membership and province wide organization as they have no staff to do the task.

 The NDP has cracked the nut of socialist fundraising by having unions do the job for them (reaching into the pockets of others as usual). A little bit from most every union member’s union dues gets diverted to the provincial and federal NDP coffers. The NDP only appeals to a small segment of the extreme left however and that small segment will be further split as David Swann works to coax those few socialist votes. While the NDP has a steady and forced income stream from union contributions, they still manage their funds as socialists do and are deeply in debt.

 The numbers for the Green Party are currently unavailable as the party appears to have completely imploded. The Greens have what appears to be two sets of leaders and boards who will not transfer documents between them making it impossible to file their financials. Meanwhile, another of their leading members has grabbed a group of supporters and marched off to try and form yet another provincial party. The Green Party is looking likely to be de-registered and will be unlikely to be of any consequence in the next provincial election if indeed they exist at all.

 Now on to the Wildrose Alliance Party. 2008 was a very challenging yet productive year for us. From our roots in the Alberta Alliance Party we have greatly evolved and matured as a political party and it is showing in our organization and fundraising. We pragmatically merged with the Wildrose Group to avoid voter confusion and division and took a strong stand in support of Alberta’s economy and business community. Our policies and participants have moderated over the years allowing us to gain support from a wider spectrum and to attract serious donors seeking to bring an alternative party to the PCs on to the Alberta political landscape.

 While we did raise close to a million dollars in 2008 and finished that fiscal year $1,600 in debt, we had exceptional challenges to face that year. For one, our party had a debt that we retired. No longer will we be wasting money on interest charges. The Wildrose Group we merged with came with some $56,000 in liabilities that we absorbed, and of course we entered the 2008 general election which was a huge expense.

 Money is not everything in politics of course. If fundraising alone were all that mattered we surely would have fared much better in the general election. The election unfortunately came within weeks of our merger with the Wildrose Group and it was difficult for the newly merged entity to organize and effectively fight an election on such short notice. Our general organization on the ground as far as constituency associations was not very good at all and that is critical in campaigning.

 What we did gain from the 2008 election was a re-introduction to Albertans. Many learned of us for the first time in that election and learned that we are indeed a moderate alternative for consideration. Experience as a whole was gained by those involved with the party and while the election was not a success in terms of votes, it most certainly was a grand success in terms of growth of the party.

 Fundraising is continuing to roll along in unprecedented levels for us as a party. What is different in 2009 however is that we do not have the challenges that we faced in 2008. There are no complicated and expensive mergers on the horizon, there is no election on the horizon, and we have no debt to service or pay off. Our funds can now be fully dedicated to the growth and organization of the party and we are doing so.

 The Wildrose Alliance Party is now employing a full-time administrator. This alone is an incredible boon to the party. Relying solely on volunteers for such duties is difficult and costly to the party as a whole. A party needs a person to answer the phone during business hours and give quick replies to inquiries whether from the press, members or constituency organizers. Having somebody able to dedicate full time lets us organize events and lends timely support to organizers in other parts of the province. Membership renewals are explosive for us now in comparison to past years as we have somebody to follow up on lapses and new memberships are greatly on the rise as we have somebody to quickly respond to new inquiries. This position is essentially self-funding once begun though it takes a fair chunk in the bank to get it going. From this move alone we can look forward to increased growth and organization in the years to come.

 Meetings are being held across the province to promote the party and to learn from people on the ground what their concerns are. The reciprocal manner of these meetings makes them very beneficial to both the party and the attendees as we all learn from each other. It can be easy to lose touch with what the electorate is feeling. The PCs demonstrate that excellently. We have seven meetings scheduled in the next couple months including one at the Calgary Petroleum Club that is already more than half-filled despite having only recently been announced. More are in the works and being scheduled.

 With these meetings comes more organization, more members and more funds. If we continue this trend for the next three years, the Wildrose Alliance Party is going to be a very formidable presence in the next general election. I see no reason why this trend will not continue.

 The Wildrose Alliance Party’s AGM and policy convention will be held on June 6 this year. It is anticipated that a very large slimming and revision of our policy set will be accepted at this meeting. That step in the evolution of our party will bring us much closer to the average Albertan as our current policy set unfortunately is somewhat plagued with duplication and a vague sense of purpose.

 There are many bleak things happening economically and politically in Alberta right now. There is at least one reason for optimism. In three years we may very well see a change in government in Alberta for the first time in nearly 40 years.

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