The Alberta Party is hoping to inspire people in the province who are ready for democratic renewal.
Christel Hyshka, VP of policy with the Alberta Party, said she hopes they inspire everyone to vote for their party, but particularly those people who have felt politics wasn’t for them and who want to see a better future for the province going forward.
The party has just completed a project they’ve called the “Big Listen,” which involved sit-down meetings with more than 1,000 Albertans to find out what was important for them.
At the Alberta Party’s convention, held at the Holiday Inn in Red Deer this weekend, party members and observers looked at five of the themes that came up in discussions with Albertans to work on the party’s policy in regards to health, education, environment, democratic reform and economy.
The event drew around 150 people made up of an audience of those in their 20s right up into their 70s.
“I think we are really looking to inspire people who may have felt disenfranchised from the political process and the Big Listen was a way of engaging them in a different way and meeting them at their level,” Hyshka said.
She said the overriding theme is that people don’t have to be an expert in policy, they don’t have to follow politics, all they have to do is have a stake in the future of the province.
Chris LaBossiere, president of the Alberta Party, said the party isn’t part of the traditional political setting.
He said people may be conservative on some issues, but be more left-leaning on others.
“What we’re hoping to do is to appeal to the moderate Albertan.
“Moderate to us is not the middle that is not the definition we mean. We mean people who are willing to moderate their thought and willing to moderate the discussion they have so we can come to a consensus and we feel most Albertans are like that,” LaBossiere said.
As a Edmonton-based software entrepreneur LaBossiere said he is concerned with fiscal responsibility, but also with the environment and social values.
“It’s tough to choose if I’m left or if I’m right. So we’re trying to tell people maybe you don’t have to choose,” he said. “It should be about the policy ideas.”
LaBossiere said they are trying to do things differently in their method and process.
“We’re very careful to try to align our values with Albertans’ values, so we’re trying to do things differently.
“The Big Listen was very grassroots and ran on no budget, by people who were passionate and non-partisan,” he said.
The party’s current leader Edwin Erickson was set to step down this past weekend to make way for a leadership race expected to begin in January, with a leader put in place by May.
LaBossiere said the party hopes to have 20 constituency associations registered by December and have a full slate of candidates and associations by next year.
Hyshka said the party has come far in the past year, going from 40 members to 500. She said with 60 per cent of the population not even voting anymore, she thinks people have begun to look around to find a party that fits more with their values.