This won’t be recognized as big news by most people, but it could very well be the catalyst for big events in the future. The Renew Alberta movement and the Alberta Party have come together, and will be relaunching with a project called “The Big Listen” to set out the Alberta Party’s new policies.
I have a few thoughts on this, and I’ll share them here:
1. I agree with points 1-3 in Calgary Grit’s post on the subject. In fact, you should give his entire post a read.
2. To reiterate one of CG’s points, I have a lot of time for the people involved with this. That is, frankly, the biggest reason I’m paying attention to this initiative. If they can get some of these people to run for them in the next election, even better.
3. Different options are good, and I hope the Alberta Party will be successful in bringing new ideas into the political forum.
4. Do I support or agree with the Alberta Party? That’s hard to say, given that they effectively have no policies right now. I do support the concept of “The Big Listen” and hope it is successful. That said, the practices of “consulting” and “listening” to the public have been so often abused in the past that one could be forgiven for being a skeptic. I believe the Alberta Party is sincere about this, so I hope that open consultation and participation becomes a standard practice in the party. In any case, I think the most important thing is that the role of “the Big Listen” and where the party goes after that is well understood by people.
5. Transparency is a good thing, so it would be nice to put some names and faces to the Alberta Party (and Renew Alberta as well). Right now, no one is identified on the website except Alberta Party leader Edwin Ericksen and the Renew Alberta co-chairs. I give my friend Chris LaBossiere a lot of credit for disclosing his role on the Alberta Party board (you should also read Chris’ post on the Alberta Party). No other members of the Alberta Party board or the Renew Alberta organizing committee are identifiable. For the record, you can find the Tory, Liberal, and Wildrose Alliance boards listed on their websites.
6. The two biggest challenges I see for the Alberta Party, or any party for that matter, are differentiating themselves from the other options on the ballot, and attracting strong people to the party, especially as candidates. There is progress on this already (see points #2 and #4).
7. An idea about how politics can be done differently: Start acknowledging when other parties have good ideas. They all do. So there’s no reason to completely reinvent the wheel as far as policy goes. Conversation should talk about what we do well already, not just things that should be improved.
Ken Chapman’s take on the Alberta Party deserves a read as well, as does Jane Morgan’s blog posts where she asks some tough questions about the Alberta Party. Finally, Daveberta writes about his breakfast with the new Alberta Party.