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Alberta Liberal Party

Alberta Liberals prefer rebranding the province to renaming

Alberta Liberal Party 45%

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The last time the Alberta Liberal party made a decent showing in a provincial election was in 1993, when dissatisfaction with the Tory government of Don Getty won them 32 seats, coming within 20 of the government.

David Swann (Jenelle Schneider/Canwest News Service)It was an anomaly, and a brief one. The party quickly sank back into also-ran status. It hasn’t formed a government in the province since 1917, and its seat count has edged into double digits just a handful of times since then.

The Liberals have been just as hapless in federal votes. The last time they had a decent showing was ... well, never. The best they’ve ever done was six seats in 1911, when the province was young and hadn’t figured out what the Liberals were up to yet. Since then it’s been pretty much one long slumber at the bottom of the tank.

So it wasn’t a total shock when the newly minted leader, David Swann, suggested in 2008 that a name change might be in order. Something to divert voters from their memories of why they hate the Liberals so much.

Seems to make sense, but now Swann has given up his quest, having learned that Alberta Liberals are apparently more interested in convincing Albertans they’re wrong about the party than in remaking the party to suit Albertans.

“The discussion itself was becoming a bit toxic,” Corey Hogan, the party’s executive director, told the Edmonton Journal. Only about half the party agreed it was time to give up on its lethal brand, and some were threatening to quit donating money.

Well, it takes all kinds. There are still people in Russia who think Stalin had it right, but was misled by his officials (the ones he didn’t have liquidated, anyway). And there are evidently Albertans who think their co-provincials will one day see the light and embrace the party of Big Government and Downtown Toronto.

You almost have to feel for them: They wait decades for voters to get tired of the Tories, and just when it finally appears to be happening, along comes some new bunch of right-wingers to steal away public support. Mr. Swann’s troops have been beavering away nonetheless, recently introducing a revamped policy on Big Oil that embraces the revolutionary notion that co-operating with the industry that dominates the province might not be a bad idea.

“The oil and gas industry is the backbone of our economy,” said energy critic Dave Taylor. “The industry in the province of Alberta has to be competitive with other jurisdictions ... but “we have to be careful that we don’t get caught up in a race to the bottom.”

Gee, ya think?

The party also seems to be caught up in the notion that it needs to cleanse Albertans’ of the memory of Pierre Trudeau and his National Energy Program. But history suggests the problem extends well beyond Trudeau. Albertans couldn’t stand the Liberals well before he came along.


By Kelly Mc. arland

Source: nationalpost.com (February 02,2010)

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