Rush to prepare for the hustings

The Alberta Party is in hurry-up mode as it gets ready to fight an election that some predict could come as early as this fall.

The Alberta Party is in hurry-up mode as it gets ready to fight an election that some predict could come as early as this fall.

On Saturday, 125 party members of the small centrist party met at the Capri Hotel and Convention Centre to formally adopt positions on agriculture, small communities, early childhood and arts and culture.

“We’re going to come out of here with a very in-depth, very broad policy perspective for Albertans to consider,” said party leader Glenn Taylor.

The party, which has one sitting member in Calgary-Currie MLA Dave Taylor, who is not related, will soon roll out their policies at public events. In the last month, energy and environment policies were released and last week the education policy was released, with post-secondary and economic policies to be rolled out in coming days.

Taylor, who is also the mayor of Hinton, said the party is working quickly to be as ready as it can should the new Progressive Conservative leader call a snap election. That leader will be chosen on Oct. 1. Gary Mar, Alison Redford and Doug Horner are vying for the job.

On Sunday, Alberta Party’s election readiness committee took to the boardroom.

“Our election readiness committee is focused on the potential of a November election,” he said. “While we won’t be fully built out for a November election we’re going to have quality candidates in those areas that are already building their constituency associations.

“If it’s in the spring we’ll be much better prepared,” he said.

The party does not want to simply put names on a ballot to run a full slate of candidates, he said. “We want quality candidates that reflect their commitment to their communities by what they have already done in their lives.”

In Central Alberta, Penhold town councillor Danielle Klooster will represent the party in the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding in the next provincial election.

Taylor said the party is growing steadily, from fewer than 500 members 18 months ago to 2,300, and has now formed 53 constituency associations among the province’s 87 ridings.

It has six declared candidates and five in the process.

For the past 18 months, the party has been busy developing policies after meeting with Albertans across the province in an initiative the party billed as the Big Listen.

Taylor said the party is putting forward policies that “aren’t driven by ideological bent” but by common sense.

“Albertans are disenchanted with what’s on offer today,” he said. “It seems to me they’re gathering around the old boys club again and that’s been disappointing to many Albertans.”

— copyright Red Deer Advocate