Alberta Party to remain option on ballot

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Party votes 67 per cent in favour of remaining a party

There are no Alberta Party representatives in the Legislature these days, but that isn’t stopping the party from pressing on.

The party decided it would remain on the ballot for the 2016 provincial election, despite a disappointing vote count in the most recent provincial election.

“I think it’s a good decision,” said Tim Osborne, St. Albert’s former Alberta Party candidate. “I think that there’s a lot of people who really got engaged in politics for the first time because of the Alberta Party and the approach that we took, so it’s important to make sure that people can still be involved.”

More than 120 people attended the annual general meeting in Calgary last Saturday, with the large majority in favour of remaining a political party.

More than 67 per cent of respondents of an internal survey said they wanted to remain an option for voters, said newly elected party president William Munsey.

“The other one-third was split between those believing we have already achieved our goal of changing the political conversation and those who believe we would have more influence by becoming a political think tank,” he said.

Osborne said he voted in support of the party continuing, but said the party has some work to do.

He said co-operation and possibly collaboration amongst progressive parties needs to be addressed.

“There’s more that brings them together, more similarities, than there are things that differentiate them,” he said. “I think there’s some practical considerations when it comes to figuring out how to best move forward.”

Osborne said it is also important for the party to take a stand on policy issues to give Albertans a better idea what the party stands for. Adding increased community involvement and creation of constituency associations should also be considered.

He received 1,195 votes, or 6.13 per cent, in the April 23 election, coming in the last of the pack in the St. Albert riding. He was beat out by Progressive Conservative candidate Stephen Khan, who won the seat with 53.76 per cent.

The Alberta Party came up empty handed in the election and Glenn Taylor, former party leader, announced his resignation at the end of July.

“I think everyone hoped for seats, but realistically, the party is only about two years old,” Osborne said. “We had thousands of people cast votes for the Alberta Party, so while we would have loved to have won some seats, the reality is that we did build some support and awareness and it’s important to build off that.”

He said he hasn’t decided whether he will run as an Alberta Party candidate in the next provincial election.

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