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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Greg Clark Steps Down as Alberta Party Leader

In a surprise move the Alberta Party is in the hunt for a new leader.   With recent consolidation of the uber-right in the UCP there are a lot of free-floating former progressives in the former party of Lougheed who are looking for a home.

The Alberta Party has had a number of false-positive political test results around thwarted floor crossings from the Stelmach government and the Sherman Liberals.  Never able to raise sufficient funds to really be a contender they were able to elect thier Leader Greg Clark in the last provincial election.

Whether he was nudged, pushed or saw a personal obligation to resign to help refresh the Alberta Party through a leadership contest, that is the stuff of pundit and partisan  pontification.  In the real world it matters not.

We have a two-party system at present that sees each other as extremist, be it the "socialist" left or "social conservative" right. The reality is the majority of Alberta voters are in the centre but nobody is really resonating with this progressive majority of Albertans.  The Alberta Party is an unfulfilled potential and the Notley NDP is making moves more towards the centre while the UCP is moving farther to the radical religious right.

The three partisan options potentially to be offered to Albertans can be described as Arrested, Closed or Open.  The NDP was elected as a reaction against the social conservative Wildrose and the self-serving entitled mindset of the PCs.  The political surveys, while fraught with methodological faults, a consensus seems to be forming.

That is a growing perception that the NDP has peaked and further progress is "Arrested" or Stalled. Barriers towards further progress have emerged that need to be overcome. They may lack the insight to perceive or to explain what is happening so that the barriers can be overcome.  Political dissonance on wedge issues may still emerge to help them sustain power and establish them as an authentic and preferred option for change.

The UCP is Closed in that they are psychologically blind to seeing alternatives to their fiscal hawkishness, social conservative base and climate change denier beliefs.  They can't even see their barriers to achieving a broader "big tent" political acceptance, never mind overcome them.   Their internal divisive history makes change difficult.  Their membership is threatened by change and fight to perfect yesterday.  They wish to return Alberta to a Bible-Belt social policy with simplistic economic policy while ignoring environmental concerns.

The Alberta Party is Open to realizing the potential of change as as evidenced by the resignation of its leader.  The Alberta Party has had many barriers to becoming a significant political force but they are aware of them and open to new ways to overcome them.  Recent boost in membership from disenfranchised progressives and centrists and the potential for some serious fundraising show the Alberta Party is able to more more freely to adapt and adjust to the shifting political culture of Alberta.  

They are not locked in the Left versus Right outdated political perception trap.  They are open to accepting individual differences and not locked into habitual patterns of the other conventional parties.  They accept that change is and complex so they are not prone to jumping on the politics-as-usual simplistic bandwagons.  They are more likely to have good listening skills, be accepting of differences and be non-judgmental about various approaches to life.

We may be closer to the next election and to the last one.  So time is of the essence for all parties.  I have no idea what will happen but nothing is guaranteed for any political party in Alberta these days.