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Thursday, February 26, 2009

central alberta a hotbed of political revolution.

Central Alberta is becoming a hotbed of political attention this week. Yesterday, Green Party Deputy Leader Edwin Erickson released a statement declaring his departure from the Greens to help build the Alberta Progress Party. In 2008, Erickson was the Green candidate in the central Alberta riding of Drayton Valley-Calmar, where he placed second with 19% of the vote against PC MLA Diana McQueen. Erickson will be on CBC Edmonton's Radioactive (740AM) at 4:10pm today explaining his move. (h/t AGRDT)

This weekend, the Alberta NDP will be holding a revitalization conference in the central Alberta city of Red Deer. Though "revitalization" may not be the most accurate description, as it's probably a stretch to say that the NDP have ever actually been 'vitalized' in central Alberta, it does show an understanding of something the Federal Liberals are missing.

It's unlikely the NDP will be electing swaths of MLAs and MPs in rural Alberta anytime soon, but in the short-term, this is a clear strategy for any party wanting to build a base and increase the funds it receives through the federal campaign finance system (even if this strategy only increases the NDP vote by 1,000 votes in every riding in rural Alberta, it would still be a worthwhile investment of resources for that party). The NDP haven't elected an MLA in rural Alberta since 1989.

Speaking at the event will be MP Linda Duncan, MLAs Brian Mason and Rachel Notley, and Nova Scotia NDP organization Matt Hebb.


Denny said...

Linda Duncan actually had to cancel because of commitments she has in Edmonton-Strathcona.

Anonymous said...

Until 1989 the NDP had a track record of electing rural MLA's:

-Garth Turcott, Pincher Creek 1965-67
-Grant Notley, Spirit River-Fairview 1971-84
-Jim Gurnett, Spirit River-Fairview 1984-86
-Leo Piquette, Lac La Biche 1986-89
-Derek Fox, Vegreville 1986-93
-Jerry Doyle, West Yellowhead 1989-93
-Stan Woloshyn, Stony Plain 1989-92 (joined Klein PCs in 92)

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure seven MLAs, over a span of just under 30 years, and nothing since '93 could be considered a "track record."
If Erickson succeeds, it will pretty much guarantee Tory reign as he'll further fragment the left. He'll get almost no traction in the rural area and the urbans will continue to vote Liberal or NDP. The only serious challenge to the Tories is going to come from the far right when spending levels incur a real deficit and real anger.

Anonymous said...

"The only serious challenge to the Tories is going to come from the far right when spending levels incur a real deficit and real anger."

It will never happen. The three or four right-wing rump parties that litter the Albertan political landscape are, collectively, even more fragmented and disorganized than the rest of us.

Even if the Tories' spending levels reached astronomical levels - like they did in the 80s - those guys couldn't make anything of it; they can't help themselves, and they'd more likely fall into infighting and stupid ego-driven squabbles over who-leads-what.

And with the requirements for forming a new party in this province as high as they are, even reaching critical mass to get to that point would be a tall order for many of these folks. They simply don't have that support.

Nothing to see, there....

Anonymous said...

The troubles in the Alberta Greens should be seem to be an opportunity by the Liberals, who are now lead by David Swann. Given the ALP has chosen to down that road, it should take advantage of the Green revolution which has fundamentally changed that party in a manner which most members are fundamentally opposed to. There is no reason why the Liberals can, in the eyes of the rank and file greens, become the new greens.

Hopefully this grows the party, rather than paints it into a corner.