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.