The Alberta Party held their 2017 Annual General Meeting in Red Deer on Saturday. The Alberta Party gets a lot of coverage for a party currently supported by a little under six percent of decided Alberta voters according to a recent Lethbridge College poll. The Edmonton Journal had two reporters write stories on the event. The Calgary Herald posted both of those stories.
Who Will Lead the Alberta Party?
The Alberta Party’s AGM also marked the official kickoff of the campaign to find a new leader for the party. Greg Clark officially resigned as leader of the Alberta Party at the AGM. Clark may run again for leader of the party. If Clark were to win he would re-assert his position as leader. The outgoing board for the party made Clark’s ongoing leadership untenable without a renewed leadership vote. It is unclear who could challenge Clark for the leadership.
The Journal repeats the attempt to bring Ryan Jespersen into the conversation. No other names previously mentioned by the Journal as party leader were mentioned again. Naheed Nenshi’s chief of staff, Chima Nkemdirim, has been added to the conversation. The Alberta Party’s leadership race will undoubtedly get a lot of coverage from the Edmonton Journal, but if their public doesn’t engage with the race Clark’s resignation could hurt the party.
Who Will Replace the NDP?
The NDP is currently sitting at 19% support in the same poll. If those numbers hold up the NDP is heading for a historic defeat. The poll indicates that the NDP may well be headed for a return to third-party status in 2019.
Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party enjoys 55% support in the same poll. The level of support held by the UCP, coupled with the split between the parties to the left of the UCP indicates the UCP is headed for a massive majority after the next election.
Given the split between the UCP, NDP and Alberta Liberals it is unclear who will end up as the main opposition to the UCP in 2019. The media prefer to cover competitive election races. Rachel Notley’s NDP government appears to be headed to certain defeat. If the NDP can engineer a dramatic turnaround in Alberta’s budget balance the NDP might be able to salvage status as the Official Opposition.
It appears unlikely that the NDP will be able to reduce the deficit to such a level that they can be a serious challenge to the UCP. If the NDP is headed for less than 25% of the vote in the next election it is questionable if there can be any challenge to the UCP. The media like to cover a horse race. The only viable party to provide a challenge to the UCP would be a revitalized Alberta Party that takes votes from the NDP, Alberta Liberals and the mythical red tory voter who was turned off by the formation of the UCP.
Facts Vs A Narrative
Facts will not deter the attempt to build a narrative that so-called red tories are a strong force in Alberta provincial politics. In both the Wildrose and Alberta Progressive Conservative votes on the merger of the two parties 95% of the membership voted for the merger. The red tory vote could only come from the five percent of former PCs who voted against the merger plus those disgruntled red Tories who had already left the party.
The dearth of mythical red tories to move to the Alberta Party and lack of public support for the party begs the question why those former PCs who are part of the Alberta Party takeover are getting so much attention.