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Thursday, February 18, 2010

alberta party and renew alberta merge.

A very interesting new development in the increasingly shifting sands of provincial politics: the Alberta Party and Renew Alberta have announced that they have merged (read more about Renew Alberta in this week's SEE Magazine). Their newly launched splash page promotes 'The Big Listen,' an upcoming conversation with Albertans, and includes a message from Alberta Party leader Edwin Erikson and Renew Alberta co-chair Chima Nkemdirim:
The joining of these two parties demonstrated the power of conversation. Over one weekend, two very different groups of people met to explore the vision we have for our province. We started by listening to each other, and in doing so we found remarkable commonality and we overcame our doubts. This is how the future of Alberta politics will be written.

Albertans – whether young or old, urban or rural, labourers or professionals – have more in common than our current politicians give us credit for. While they would divide us along the political spectrum and pit us against one another, we refuse to ignore our shared history and our mutual values.

So where are our policies? As of today we have none. Unanimously our Board has decided to suspend our old policies and has committed to building new ones through face-to-face conversations, around the province, starting March 1st. The Alberta Party’s Big Listen is an Alberta-wide convention, with your kitchen table as its venue. By the time the next provincial election is announced, our party will reflect what your friends, your family – and you –have told us you’re looking for.

The Alberta Party has a strong legacy in Alberta and its roots run deep and wide. But we’ve never been more excited than we are today. We’re thrilled to join with the Renew Alberta movement, and we look forward to your help in getting all Albertans a better government.

We’re listening.

Edwin Erickson
Leader Alberta Party

Chima Nkemdirim
Co-Chair of Renew Alberta
More to come, I am sure...

55 comments:

Urban Spork said...

Well with the well known public figures Edwin Erickson and Chima Nkemdirim behind this, how can it fail?

It is impressive that Renew Alberta has taken over the Alberta Party though. Guess it's easier than 7000 signatures.

Anonymous said...

This makes me feel incredibly cynical. THIS is what's wrong with politics.

A party that stands for absolutely nothing but what's popular. It may very well end up successful (though it's not like the good name alone has done anything for the party to this point) but I'll be disgusted with all of us if it does.

I despair. Maybe politics in Alberta should just disband. We don't seem to be very good at it.

Anonymous said...

Imagine that - a political party that is willing to listen to people instead of telling people what to think. I am willing to join a conservation like that. Good luck with the merger!

Tim S.

Anonymous said...

I have to assume that where there was common ground, there will still be a dedication to the stated principles of both Renew Alberta and the Alberta party. I share those principles. I've been watching the websites for some time now. I wondered if something was up. This is better news than I could have dreamed of. Sign me up. My guess is that the policy will flow from Albertans, and that the principles these two groups have in common...democratic renewal, responsibility to the people, to name only two, because it's late and I'm too tired to go digging up the text, will guide the kind of policy that this province needs to re-establish itself as one I can be proud to call home.

Bob Dole's Bad Arm said...

"Good luck with the merger!"

What merger? Did I miss something? Renew Alberta was just a couple of academic flakes with a website. They weren't a political party.

This should be about as newsworthy and relevant to the discussion as a merger between a company that makes penny-farthings and a group of people who wish they made penny-farthings.

But, Dave, you were once described as the propaganda minister for these yahoos. I do wonder...

c-lo said...

Anyone else concerned that this is a rip-off of Hillary Clinton's language... "The Big Listen"? "start a conversation"? Ugh

calgary clipper said...

Let's hope that most of the Progressives and Red Tories along with the disenchanted Liberals all get behind this movement. It is time they come out from under the PC tent, run on what they are truly about, and allow voting Albertans to make a decisive choice about who they want to take AB into/past the next decade. There are now three small c conservative parties, each with sufficient difference that voters will finally have a clear choice and perhaps get past the 40% voter turnout.

Kyle said...

It is time for something new that isnt the WildRose, PC, or Liberals. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Urban Spork,
It seems ironic that Edwin's AB Party gets 'taken over' particularly when he was one of the crew that took over and folded the Alberta Greens. My reading about the AB Party and Renew (albeit limited)would seem to make this a crass and unholy alliance.

Anonymous said...

Boooo Chima! Do you realize just who, and what you have hitched your trailer to?

I wish the Alberta Party of Alberta every success.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that the personal information I provided to Renew Alberta is now in the hands of Alberta Party officials? Come up with an answer quickly or you will find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia says:
In 1986, Social Credit, Western Canada Concept and the Heritage Party of Alberta joined together to form the Alberta Alliance Political Association. The Alliance fell apart when the WCC left, followed by Social Credit. The AAPA became the present day Alberta Party. Most of the Social Credit supporters joined and ran for the Representative Party led by Ray Speaker.

Chima has joined a group that is separatist, religiously FUNdamental and very mildly homophobic.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a history of political inbreeding as opposed to a bold new political movement.

Alain Saffel said...

I hope we see a party worth voting for after their policy is developed. I certainly don't see one worth voting for in Alberta right now.

Calgaryrants said...

Interesting.

Shane

Hugo Sanchez said...

Renew takes over Alberta Party.Liberals take over Renew and run as Alberta Party?

Connie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes Connie, I didn't think it possible but you've driven me back to the Alberta Liberal Party. What a fascinating state of affairs. You know the saying? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anonymous said...

So THAT'S the sound of one hand clapping.

This is inspiring. Mostly because exactly what we need right now is another "dialogue". Maybe if enough people Twitter about it, and if they develope a few really smashing Facebook pages, they'll be in power by next Tuesday.

Now give us a word cloud.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please remind me who it was that screwed up the books over at the Green Party, causing them to lose party status? Anything to do with Mr. Erickson? If not, I apologize. But talk about a prolific history of disfunction.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the negativity stop the new party from moving forward! The negativity is why the Liberals, Wildrose Party, and NDP will never succeed. Negativity is why the PC Party is driving Albertans away from politics.

Let's move on to something better!

I am willing to join a conservation like that!

Tim S.

Anonymous said...

If you listen to Albertans they will tell you they want lower taxes, less government, higher oil and gas royalties, less regulation of the oil and gas industry, more restrictions on big oil; increased spending on agriculture, small business, public health care, education, infrastructure and the environment; and private health care for those who can afford it. Hopefully this saves the new party some time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes! Word Cloud please. It will help me understand what's going on here.

Anonymous said...

Wake up and smell the coffee, Tim S. Are you denying the past of the Alberta Party and Edwin Erlickson? Are you denying that some of those people are still in the party? If these bothersome little facts are what you call wholesale 'negativity', I wish you the best in your life's pursuits. You will need it.

Anonymous said...

So this is the kind of sad cynicism that exists in our province now, eh? Sorry but I like what I see happening. At least the Alberta Party and Renew folks (is this, then the renewed Alberta Party?) are out there doing something, from the looks of it. I guess they don't have time to sit and winge on a blog site. Good luck folks.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh Chima WHY??????

Kyle said...

The negative anonymous brigade is out in full force this morning. Lighten up, people. Have a coffee.

midge said...

To all you angry anonymouses:

Put together some ex-PCers, some senior reformers and alliancers, a few greens, urban professionals and rural ranchers, students, some old and young liberals, a couple of NDs, all people who really want to make a difference, and what do you get?

ALBERTA PARTY!

What do you call Alberta Partiers? ALBERTANS!

That's the only label that matters.

Anonymous said...

Yessssss, that's my kind of party. How do I get in on the action?

Anonymous said...

Midge, you're naive to think such a thing could work. It would be good for you to ponder why the original Alberta party split into 4 separate factions. This is the like the joining of the people's front of Judea, the popular front of Judea and the Jedean people's front.

Anonymous said...

You had a good idea. To create a new party from the ground up, like Peter Lougheed did. But no, you had to fowl it by involving some significant historical baggage. You were on the right path. But instead of choosing the path less travelled, you have chosen the path of least resistance, and least reward.

Anonymous said...

Ahh balderdash! What was the Alberta Party before this? A few well intentioned old folks..one candidate in 08, 42 votes. The PC's existed before Lougheed. He rebuilt them from the ground up. How can one say that rebuilding the Alberta Party from the ground up is less worthy? Fowled? Fouled? What nonsense.

Anonymous said...

All this talk of Peter Loughheed.

How about Peter Loughheed's former Legislative Secretary and a respected MLA & Cabinet Minister on the new board of directors of the Alberta Party?

Rumour or wishful thinking?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter what the alberta Party was before this, or any party for that matter.

What matters is what the Alberta Party is from this point forward - and for the people out there in alberta looking for a reason to vote hopefully this new party will provide another choice OR force the other parties in alberta to step up, improve dialogue, reconnect with voters and create centrists and fair policy...

Heaven knows right now there isn't really anything in alberta to make people want to vote.

Another party can't hurt!

Anonymous said...

"Another party can't hurt!"

Well, we don't have another party. We have a party that has existed for quite some time.

But say it is another party. Another party can hurt. It can split votes and split energy.

This whole thing is f'd up. First, I can't decide if this is a serious endeavor or not. Certainly, it doesn't seem to have any serious players.

But second, say it is a serious endeavor. Just as the right splits, the centre and left decide to as well?

Let's hope this party ends up on the trash heap of history, like so many others.

daveberta said...

Anonymous 9:55am: Peter Lougheed didn't create a new party. The Conservative Party of Alberta has been around since in 1905. They formed official opposition from 1905 to 1921 and elected MLAs from 1926 to 1935, 1952 to 1963, and since 1967. While they weren't a strong force on the provincial stage between the 1920s the late 1960s, Lougheed's organization benefited from a strong presence of PC MPs elected federally in Alberta (especially since the Deifenbaker sweep of the prairies in the 1950s).

A more accurate statement would be that Peter Lougheed inherited a shell of a party, reinvented it, and led it to form government in 1971. This said, just because something happened a certain way 39 years ago, it doesn't mean that it has to happen the same way once again.

The traditional institutional parties in this province are stale in ideas and stalled in support. I'm excited to see how much new parties like the Wildrose Alliance and this newly re-branded Alberta Party can shake up the dusty and normally uninspiring world of Alberta politics. Maybe they will flop, but maybe they will make politics more interesting (and more positive) for the average Albertan. I'm open minded and willing to give them a chance.

Anonymous said...

5 of the 8 registered parties in Alberta are left wing including the PC's, keep splitting that lefty vote guys and gals!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're behind it Dave. They will no doubt have as much success as your former employer.

Neal said...

I found this information informative and interesting. Dave has accused me of being negative on Twitter, but compared to the anon posts here, I think I might be a damned Polly-Anna.

I look foward to seeing what this renewed Alberta Party can bring to the table, in much the same way that the Wildrose interests me.

It is time for a change of government in Alberta, but perhaps that change will come in the form of minority governments with power scattered across several parties. Honestly at this point in our province's history, it might not be a bad thing for some open and accountable minority governments composed from several different factions.

Anonymous said...

Sounds realistic to me, Neal. My guess is that come next election night, the loudest noises will be coming from the paper shredders in the offices of defeated PC mla's. I can't wait.

Berry Farmer said...

Best comment so far:

... "Maybe [this] will flop, but maybe [it] will make politics more interesting (and more positive) for the average Albertan. I'm open minded and willing to give [it] a chance."

Now... was that the Judean Peoples' Liberation Front... the Peoples' Front for the Liberation of Judea... or the Popular Front for the Judean Peoples' Liberation?

... ah, heck... I'm off to Samaria.

Albertagirl46 said...

I'm thinking that a lot of listening could have been done while the 7000 signatures were being collected for a new party with a completely clean slate. It looks like the big attraction in targeting the Alberta Party, besides not having to make the effort of getting 7000 signatures (and potential supporters) was its name. Not impressed and very disappointed in Renewab. Just don't see how old-fashioned political manoveuring is renewing anything. Back to the "devil I know".

Anonymous said...

So, the first step towards listening to Albertans is to ignore the current members of your party and suspend all the policies that they voted for without their permission?
If they can't even listen to their own members, how can they be trusted to listen to Albertans?

Anonymous said...

No, that is a wrong perception. The first step towards listening to Albertans is to set out to do politics with a clean slate. I read in one of the comminications from the Alberta Party that the board voted unanimously to suspend now and reintroduce policy at the next policy convention. Principles remain unchanged, but the course of action is to do politics in a new way. 60% of Albertans have proven that the old ways are not working. I am inclined to be hopeful as this renewed Alberta Party picks up the ideas of the new young members, and tries to make the right kind of change. Geeze. We have to be optimistic about something. I choose to be optimistic about this. If we support this, and get involved, chances are we'll like the outcome because we have helped to craft it. I trust the renewers.

Anonymous said...

More bs from a party and collection of people that do not reflect the interest or values of many Albertans.

This is not a renewal but a desperate attempt to cling onto continued existence.

A real question has been raised about the integrity of Renew Alberta as members were not consulted and many are objecting to their contact information being given over to the Alberta Pary without their consent.

Anonymous said...

"If you provided personal information to us beyond your name and email address, this information will not be shared with the Alberta Party."

looks like they covered their bases. Sorry WAPgirl46 and your anonymous alter-ego.

Anonymous said...

Is it even reasonable for names and e-mail addresses to be shared without the explicit authorization of the person they belong to?

Albertagirl46 said...

Anonymous at 3:36pm - just to set the record straight I don't have an anonymous alter-ego, unlike you anonymous. It wasn't me that was concerned about my personal information and regardless, it's none of your business whoever was concerned. And the"devil I know" is the NDP not WAP.

Alvin said...

A plebiscitarian party is, by definition, a fascist party. It is a party that pretends to embody some national, or in this case, provincial essence. Albertans are not and should not be united around any particular ideology or set of policies. Democracy is about compromises, of course, but it is also about choices.

We have a right to disagree and to have elections in which two broadly opposed camps present us with opposing visions and clear policies. The faster we get a Proportional Representation system so that various shades across the political spectrum and within those two opposed camps can have representation the better.

This proposed new party is a fraud. As with every plebiscitary party, its leaders will come up with policies, likely as vague as can be, that reflect their own views of what will play in Ponoka and then make the fraudulent claim that these views represent some mysterious consensus of real Albertans.

The new party will be a party of the far right. Mr. Erickson was explicit when he broke with the Greens that he did so because it was another "left" party. He is a small-c conservative who didn't like the big-c variety. His takeover of the egregious Alberta party demonstrated his comfort with its reactionary views.

Dave's point about Lougheed taking over the moribund party and shaping it in his own image is largely false. Lougheed gave an attractive face to a party which had long been a modestly liberal voice in Alberta provincial politics and which had been indistinguishable from the Liberals from the 1930s to the
1960s (indeed the two parties worked together in two provincial elections in the 1940s and, to an extent, in the 1955 provincial election. Only the needs of the federal parties prevented them staying together as an alternative to the Socreds).

The Alberta party was born in intolerance and will not shake off that image. Shame on the Renewers (and Rebooters?), who were supposedly centrist Liberals and PCs, for joining with the forces of intolerance and Alberta petro-nationalism represented by the Alberta party.

Alvin Finkel,
Professor of History,
Athabasca University

and co-chair, Democratic Renewal Project

Anonymous said...

Dear Alvin Finkel,

Your letter highlights the exact attitude and mentality that has made the parties you are a proponent of absolutely irrelevant in Alberta politics. Your first paragraph states that democracy is about choice, and then your subsequent five paragraphs detail how we don't need any more choice.

Although we all appreciate your tainted and biased historical analysis of the Alberta Party, I'm confident that Albertans will make their decisions about the party based on their assessment of "policy" or "platform". I put these in quotations, because the Liberals and NDPs may not be familiar with them, as it has been some time since they used them successfully in a campaign.

Your final paragraph about the Alberta Party's intolerance is perfectly juxtaposed against your own ignorance and intolerance against those who may have better ideas than you.

Good luck with your own project.

Anonymous said...

Wowsers, Alvin. Do I detect bitterness here? I've been to some of your DRP all talk and no action waste of time sessions.

You do the same thing the same way, you gonna get the same result. Here's a new group who want to do things differently, and maybe even do them right (no reference to "wing" intended.)
But then, what is it with all this labelling?

I took the liberty of scrolling up and copying an earlier post by "Midge." I think it deserves to be repeated.

Put together some ex-PCers, some senior reformers and alliancers, a few greens, urban professionals and rural ranchers, students, some old and young liberals, a couple of NDs, all people who really want to make a difference, and what do you get?

ALBERTA PARTY!

What do you call Alberta Partiers? ALBERTANS!

That's the only label that matters.


For my own part...I see this as my chance to help shape a party, and hopefully a government. It's a bus I'm willing to ride. It's your chance too, if you can get over yourself.

jerrymacgp said...

"If you listen to Albertans they will tell you they want lower taxes, less government, higher oil and gas royalties, less regulation of the oil and gas industry, more restrictions on big oil; increased spending on agriculture, small business, public health care, education, infrastructure and the environment; and private health care for those who can afford it…" In other words, they want something for nothing: low taxes, yet high levels of government services. No. What Alberta needs is to ditch the Stockwell Day flat tax in favour of a progressive tax system that increases income tax rates for those that can afford them (myself included, by the way), so the government will have the stable predictable revenues it needs to operate rationally.

AS for "listening to Albertans", have you read the recent NDP health care document, entitled "What Albertans Want"? It's cleat that in the process that led to the development of that document, they listened to the people.

Anonymous said...

going on what a previous comment suggested, I would sure hope that this party is not just some sham. The last thing Alberta needs is a separatist homophobic group running the show.

Anonymous said...

I've always voted for the Jedi Knights Alliance Party of Alberta. Yeah, I have to write an extra line on the ballot but don't you think we could really use Obi Wan Kenobi right now?

Alvin Finkel, surely you cannot say anything negative about the beloved Jedi?