Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alberta Liberal Party Still Taking Happy Pills

I have been in the Sultanate of Oman since early February, watching Alberta politics from afar. Even from this great distance across the oceans it is still painfully obvious that the Alberta Liberal Party continues to delude itself into a false belief that there is a relevance to their current incarnation.

My perspective is reinforced by the voters in the Province who have strongly expressed their opinions about the future of Alberta politics.

The polls have the Alberta Liberal Party mired in 3rd place at 23% according to the local conservative pollster, Environics, placing them out of shouting range of the Tories and the Wildrose.

They are a distant memory in Calgary at 22% and barely hanging on at 28% in Edmonton. In rural Alberta the Liberals are a no-show.

In the disaster of the 2008 general election the Alberta Liberal Party gained the support of 26.4% of Albertans and in the recent Calgary-Glenmore by-election they received 34% of the vote.

The Party should be building on that momentum. Instead, they are heading in the opposite direction despite the obvious opportunities.

The response from the Party can best be described as immature and out of touch with reality. This scribe read in a recent Herald article that the Party leader is attacking rural Alberta for getting extra seats assigned by the new boundaries commission. Wouldn’t it be a better strategy to try and encourage support from those folks since the Party does so poorly outside of the urban centres?

Effective political leaders usually look to gather votes, not drive them away!

I also read that Rob Anderson has offered to resign his newly minted Wildrose seat in Airdrie-Chestermere. This represents another great opportunity and the Party should rise to that challenge. However, again they are letting it slip away as the Party fads in popularity.

They should be searching for a suitable candidate to contest this seat? This is a battleground the Party needs to show well in since it is a rural/urban constituency. So rather than screaming at the poor folks in rural Alberta and treating them like an enemy they should choose a candidate who potentially represents them and get on with the business of garnering support.

To its credit the Party did return to the mainstream values of Alberta voters with the Energy Policy release early this year. At that time this person suggested that they should have been followed that with effective policy positions on health care, education and agriculture.

So far the response has been deafening silence. If they had acted then perhaps we would not see the Party so far behind at this critical stage.

Meanwhile we have the curmudgeon-elf from the Herald fancifully floating the extreme possibility of a Liberal Government in a recent column. He must be drinking the same Kool Aid being passed around by the communication folks surrounding the Liberal leader who have convinced those few hunkered down in the ‘red bunker’ they can come up the middle in the next election.

What if 3rd place in the current polls turns out to be 3rd place in the next election???

The Alberta Liberal Party would then self destruct, going from the official opposition to a non-factor, both in the Legislature and more importantly in the consciousness of Alberta voters.

The reality is they will finish a distant third unless drastic changes are implemented STARTING AT THE TOP!

One Person's Opinion


  1. You might build momentum if you had any intention of winning an election and forming the government. Clearly, the Liberals do not.

    It is the same old group that cloisters itself in a circle that will nod yes. In the Catskills, they call that marrying inside the family which has a bad habit of not strengthening the gene pool.

    You are right that CHANGE NEEDS TO START AT THE TOP, but reality is that the commitment of the party is second to third place in an election.

    The Tories are beatable, and Wild Rose can be made irrelevant. It takes a little work, and there is a formula that needs to be employed.

    It is a FUNNY reality that the Liberal Brain Trust likes to follow.

  2. I am not old enough to be a sage; I am just a realist about elections.

    Party workers for the Liberals work hard during an election, but they are not allowed to work smart. The commitment is NOT to win the election.

    The rest of you are the experts.

    Me; I am a nobody. My only talent is devising and implementing strategies that win elections, and I have never had the luxury of candidate approval. I never get to approve the candidate: I only guarantee the result.

    The Liberals won't do anything until they make a simple commitment to winning the election and forming the government.

    It is far easier to sit in opposition: the pay is decent, the retirement package is quite lucrative, and you can not be blamed for anything so the work is easy.

    One man's opinion is all I am putting forth.

  3. Tedde, I hope they are listening, and so it goes....

  4. I would have expected that with your contacts in the party that there would have been some party defence.

    Somebody has to think that they are doing the right things because they keep doing them.

  5. Tedde,

    Sorry, I am 'persona non gratis' from the Party since Tony 'the nose' Sansota told me to "shut up and sing", (stealing from the Dixie Chicks), back on November 29th last year.

    The strategy of the Party appears to be taken from the memoirs of the Allied commanders at Gallipoli.

  6. Sorry to hear that!

    Peace be with you my friend!

    It is not my fight though. Mine is getting basic human rights for 38 million in North America denied them now. The only group where it is socially acceptable to be prejudiced against them, and that starts at the top too.

  7. It’s disheartening to read these posts from both of you. While I agree that the ALP is completely lackluster, it is still my hope that something can be done “within” the party to salvage its credibility (in my lifetime). I’m just a “voter” out here in the wasteland and, admittedly, my thirty-year flirtation with the Alberta Liberal Party has been like a near-death experience.

    Surely there must be some hope for salvation. I thought it would be in terms of a reformation of “like-souls” into a different manifestation. Well… last week I was in Edmonton and a friend attended the Alberta Party’s House Meeting Training session. He along with fourteen others. Clearly, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of assembly of a different, centrist party. I just think it might be easier to work from within and, if losing the dignity of “the Honourable Opposition” is necessary to open the eyes of the party then, so be it. It’s called “tough love” in some circles. “Hitting rock bottom” in others.

    Furthermore, if ”Persona Non Gratta” is the reward you get for speaking your mind to bring forth changes for the betterment of the Party, then clearly I should rethink my support. “Rally Around The Chief” is good, in theory, but if we don’t “speak out” we are culpable in the wrong. Much like in Nazi Germany. Or in the Roman Catholic Church; an experience from which I am still recovering.

    So, Tedde, who are the 38 Million? Canadians? People in the USA without Health Care? People who cringe at Ann Coulter and want to tell her to take a hike on her broomstick? Who? My curiosity knows no bounds.

  8. Valerie,

    We should have a face-to-face and discuss the future, I have some ideas.

  9. To Donn and Valerie...

    You both have a faith in the Liberal Party. I admire that in each of you.

    To Valerie...

    I apologize for dampening your enthusiasm for the party, but I empathize with party workers that work their butts off to effect change because there is no commitment from the top to win the election. Donn was right that the change has to start at the top.

    The 38 million was the number given me by the pharmaceutical industry. My number was significantly lower. It refers to people with the genetic anomaly of Trisomy in all its variations. You will know this better by the derogatory term of Down Syndrome. If you really have no boundaries to your curiosity, you can visit

    This challenge will not be won with luck although I appreciate Donn's well wishes.

    The best of days to both of you, and I hope that you devise a way to change the reality fortunes of the ALP.

  10. I’m sure you’re hearing about the “Canada at 150Think Tank” the federal Liberals are currently having in Montreal. Michael Ignatieff said it well when he asked that all Liberals come forward with ANY ideas they have for change. A re-writing of the Liberal’s Red Book... what was the term Harper used… ah… recalibration. :-) Even ordinary card-holders (like me) got emails from Michael asking for input and suggestions. (Pardon me for being so easily impressed.)

    “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.” How many times did you type that “ditty” without ever thinking of what it truly meant? Then a member, who is truly ignited (like yourself), comes along and is rebuffed. It just doesn’t make sense.

    There must be some policy convention in the works where the ALP looks for change and a way out of this quagmire. Currently, our MPs speak out against ruling policy but, for the most part, are warming their hands behind moribund leadership. The provincial NDP are doing a better job at opposition, in my humble opinion. It’s been decades since I’ve voted NDP but I sense a “shift”… what the heck, if you’re going to cast a vote for a losing party, it may as well be a vocal party!

    I’m one of those dedicated voters who always trot out to the polls, in any weather. When little people like me get disillusioned, the party has to sit up and take notice or dissolve. You can contact me at this email address. Many years ago, I helped Patrice Taylor (Nick’s daughter) and would volunteer for you if you’re thinking of taking a run or sponsoring a credible candidate. … ohhh that would be fun. Semi-retirement has just become interesting!

  11. Valerie2008,

    We're going to meet and discuss, I'm intrigued.

  12. I sincerely hope the ALP does implode, Don. Trying to bring forth new ideas and help that party is like slamming your head against a brick wall till your bloody and bruised.

    Dare I bring up the 'divisive' issue of name change? Moments after the fallout of the last election, name change was first and foremost on my mind. Need I also mention it was the primary concern of Kevin Taft, David Swann, Kent Hehr, Laurie B and probably the rest, though the rest said nothing to the media.

    As a member I wanted to offer my help. Two days after the election I registered a series of webnames: and several other variations on that theme. I had the name approved by the election commissioner. It seemed a good compromise that would remove the suspicion surrounding the 'L' word but allow us to maintain our principles and vision.

    I contacted Kevin T and Laurie and the then President. I told them about the idea. I offered it all to them free of charge and no strings attached. "Just think about it", I said. "Put it to the membership and see if they're interested".

    It could have been a catharsis. I suggested wiping the policy slate clean and start afresh, abeit with clear statements of principle. A party needs a foundation upon which to build.

    I sure didn't want it to become an 'Alberta Party'- a party based on nothing but mob rule.

    Regardless, we know the outcome on name change. It was sunk at some secret committee meeting, as have been many other offers of help, I suspect. They certainly didn't have the guts to put it to the membership.

    I've grown to despise the Alberta Liberal party. I'm basking in every instance of their troubles. Just to spite them I gave the webnames to the PC association.