Alberta Party to regroup as leader steps down
Giving up not an option, says local candidate
By: By Ryan Tumilty
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 04, 2012 06:00 am
Alberta’s newest political party will make a decision on its future this fall after losing its first leader this week.
At an annual general meeting Sept. 22, the Alberta Party will debate options ranging from dissolution to merger to fighting on in the next campaign. The party was completely shut out in the last election, winning no seats.
“We are going to sit down and have a frank discussion with our members. We have over 2,000 members that we have sent surveys to, to get back to us,” said party president Brian Thiessen.
Thiessen said Taylor served the party well and he respects that he can no longer be leader.
“Glenn did an amazing job for the party and we are very grateful to him and he will continue to act as a leader within the party,” Thiessen said.
Local candidate Tim Osborne also applauded Taylor’s efforts.
“Glenn did a good job as our leader. It is difficult to come into a situation where we had limited resources and he certainly guided us through the first phase of our evolution,” Osborne said.
Taylor was unavailable, but in a press release from the party he said he was stepping down for personal reasons and that he was proud of what the party had accomplished.
“I am proud of the civility that the Alberta Party was able to bring to the tone of Alberta politics and look forward to continuing the work required to create a rational and forward thinking party for all Albertans,” he said.
Osborne said he understands Taylor’s need to step back.
“He has a family he needs to take care of and that has to be his first priority, so I don’t think it is a reflection on his leadership.”
The options the party is being asked to consider include becoming a think tank, merging with another party and dissolution.
Osborne said it is a good conversation to have and he is not yet sure what the next step should be.
“I wouldn’t say that I have made up my mind on that particular direction for the party, I think it is too soon to say that,” he said. “We need an opportunity for party members to sit down and really think through what the future looks like.”
While he hasn’t made his mind up, Osborne said he can’t imagine the party would simply give up.
“I don’t think folding up the tent is something that I can see happening. I think there is a lot of people who are still very committed to moving things forward,” he said.
Both men say the party failed to win seats in the election in part because it didn’t get the same attention other parties did.
“It is obvious that one of the most difficult issues was the denial of the media consortium to allow us into the leader’s debate,” said Thiessen.
Osborne agrees on that front, but said it might have also been too much to expect to have the party gain a foothold in its first run.
“The simple reality is we were quite new and to expect to have some overwhelming success the first time out is probably not realistic,” he said.
The party will also select an interim leader to replace Taylor at its upcoming meeting.