Alberta Party preparing for 2019
Alberta Party-Camrose TCA Board of Directors (from left) Kevin Smook, Jadene Mah, Steven Hansen, Justine Cha, Les Parsons, Katherine Tennant. Supplied
The Alberta Party is busy setting up a shop in Camrose and is looking to fill a void in the local provincial political scene.
The party held their second organizational meeting last week as they work to set up a candidate selection committee to seek out nominations for the new Camrose riding.
When the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta and the Wildrose Party merged last year, it left the province with two major parties at polar opposite ends of the spectrum. The Alberta Party is trying to fill-in in between, taking ideas from the left and the right.
Transitional Constituency Association president Steven Hansen said the party believes in private enterprise, fiscal responsibility, but also emphasizes the importance of social programs like public health care and public education.
"You combine those together and you ask yourself is that left wing, right wing, centre, where is that?" he said. "In some sense it doesn't really matter if it is left wing or right wing, these are values that many Albertans have and that the Alberta Party has recognized are important to people."
The Alberta Party earned one seat in the 2015 election as then leader Greg Clark won the Calgary-Elbow riding. Clark now sits as the party house leader and deputy leader as former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel was elected new party leader in February. Mandel also previously served as a PC MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud from 2014-15.
There was no Alberta Party candidate running in the Wetaskiwin-Camrose riding in the last election, which was won by NDP candidate Bruce Hinkley, giving the riding its first ever non PC MLA. With Camrose and area becoming its own riding in 2019, Hansen sees it as chance for the Alberta Party to make some inroads.
"We definitely see that as an opportunity," he said. "I personally like the new boundaries of the Camrose constituency. They reflect more of the natural trading area of the Camrose area."
The Alberta Party will be holding its next meeting on Tuesday and is hoping to begin the nomination process within a month. All party members will receive information about the process.
The UCP is holding their founding annual general meeting at the Camrose Resort Casino on June 15 at 7 p.m. Party members are asked to RSVP for the meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org.