Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My History with the Alberta Liberal Party - Part III

May 1986 to March 1989

After the ’86 election I took a new position with Schlumberger and set about getting comfortable with the new job. However, always engaged in politics, I became President of the constituency and put an organization in place.

I also managed a municipal by-election for Yvonne Fritz in Ward 5 against Jon Havelock. We lost a very close race by 200 votes after Havelock misrepresented the approval of a new school in Falconbridge. I worked with Fritz again in the Municipal General Election in 1988 when she won the seat in Ward 5. The hope was that she would eventually run for the Liberals as she expressed to her friend, Karen Gainer. However, Fritz took the all too familiar route through the Tories in the ’93 provincial election, winning handily.

I then worked with Sheldon Chumir’s Leadership in the ’88 ALP Leadership campaign. Sheldon dropped out after 73 days when he realized he would win the race and did not want the position of Leader because he wanted to focus on policy for the Party. After Sheldon resigned I went over to the Mitchell campaign and after Decore’s win I went to work to support Lawrence.

In the ’88 federal election I worked with the NDP candidate, Elaine Husband for the following reasons;
1. Only 66 people showed up to vote at the Liberal nomination.
2. The pro-life candidate received 34 votes and the openly gay man received 32 votes.
3. I can work with a gay man but not a pro-life man.

The PCs won but we came second increasing the vote and the Liberal was 4th after the Reform candidate.

The ‘89 provincial election was held on March 20th, 1989 and once again I managed Sheldon’s campaign. Many political observers were surprised by the early election call - less than three years had passed since the previous election.

The Tories threw $75,000.00 at Kate Thrasher and gave her a campaign team involving Rod Love and some conservative lawyers to defeat Sheldon. I was somewhat concerned after finding out how badly they wanted to beat us and finding our first hand how the Conservatives could not tolerate opposition, even the likes of Sheldon.

Sheldon on the other hand was quite relaxed. The doors where constantly giving him good news, we had in excess of 600 volunteers and great voter identification. Sheldon won easily with 61% of the vote.

Premier Don Getty, in his second election as Progressive Conservative Party leader, led it to its sixth consecutive term in government, despite losing a significant share of the popular vote and two seats in the legislature, including his own seat of Edmonton-Whitemud to Liberal candidate Percy Wickman.

The New Democratic Party led by Ray Martin largely held its share of the popular vote, and also its 16 seats in the legislature.

The Liberal Party, under new leader Laurence Decore, was the principal beneficiary of the voters' continuing distrust of Don Getty. The Liberals' share of the popular vote increased to over 28%, more than the NDP, but the party's legislative caucus increased from four to only eight members.

Tough to figure, perhaps the brand needs a makeover...

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