Thoughts on the Alberta election: An open letter to Green Party supporters from Janet Keeping, Leader, Green Party of Alberta

Dear Friends,

On May 5, something momentous happened – domination of our political culture by an oppressive PC party was broken.  After 44 years, it’s finally over.  I am delighted about that result.  With the PCs out of power – and far out of power, they are the third party having elected only 10 MLAs – political life in our province can begin again after many years of stagnation.  The NDs ran a nearly flawless campaign which led many voters to back them as the vehicle for getting rid of the smug, complacent and corporate PCs.  The NDs have done all Albertans a great favour.

It is also true that the powerful ND surge hurt the other progressive parties and certainly reduced the number of votes Green candidates would have received.  This isn’t an assumption – we’ve been told by many people who would otherwise have voted Green, that their most important goal was to get rid of the PCs and thus they voted ND.

So Greens didn’t get the kind of results we hoped for and worked towards although both the number and percentage of our votes increased slightly over our 2012 results as the Evergreen Party.  You can go to the Elections Alberta report for the details.   http://resultsnew.elections.ab.ca/orResultsPGE.cfm

Truthfully, that we didn’t see the results we had hoped for was due to several factors quite apart from the fact that many progressive voters voted ND when the polls told them the NDs could in fact win.  We had way too little money as compared to the other parties and with the election called a year early, like some of the other parties, we weren’t able to attract as many candidates as we wanted.  And we are still unknown to many Albertans.

There is nevertheless, much to celebrate.  Our great Green candidates, volunteers and donors made the Green Party of Alberta campaign possible.  So many people gave so much of themselves – their energy, their commitment to the Green vision, their money and, so very precious, their time.  They deserve our heartfelt appreciation, especially given the difficult circumstances under which they waged their campaigns.

But with a new political culture in Alberta, the future can only hold better for Greens.  And make no mistake, Greens have a critical role to play in Alberta’s reinvigorated political scene as only we have a firm grasp on the sustainability agenda – the key to a healthy, humane future.  Nowhere in Canada is sustainability a bigger challenge than in Alberta.

Green principles are those which can guide us all to a better path.  But as a political party, we have to up our game.  We have to define more and better worked-out, more detailed policy and we have to engage with the public and draw on a broader range of expertise in the development of that policy.  We have to publicize our policies and principles much better and we have to get out into the community so we are better known and can attract more candidates for the next general election.

In general, we have to reach a much broader audience in lots of ways and bring them into a dynamic and hopeful political party, one that speaks to what Albertans need for a better future.  This is the way to build political community, trust and the way forward to eventual Green victories in Alberta ridings.

We will get to that victorious place but it will take time.  You may have noticed that David Bevan-Baker, leader of the PEI Green Party, had run nine times as a Green before his stunning recent victory.  He joked that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try … again.

Hopefully, it won’t take that long in Alberta before we elect our first Green MLA.  I predict that will happen in the next general election.  But we’ll need you, your friends and many others in order to make that happen.  Please, stay with us.  Help the Green Party put a better vision for our province clearly, powerfully and persuasively before Albertans.

There is a lot to be done, including waging a strong campaign in the by-election which will be called to fill the Calgary-Foothills seat abandoned by Jim Prentice.  Stay tuned.  We’ll be in touch, inviting you to do all you can to make the Green vision for Alberta a reality.

All the very best,

Janet

Comments 1

  • I agree with Janet; it won’t be long before Alberta elects a Green candidate. And I think it could actually happen in Calgary Foothills. Why?
    1) The NDP majority is secure, and PCs have been punted.
    2) By leaving politics and his seat on the night of the election, Jim Prentice salted the ground in which the PCs have grown their vote. After voting PC twice in the past year, it would take a greatly forgiving PC supporter in Calgary Foothills to vote for them once again. And for what? They no longer hold power which, for many years, was their main attraction.
    3) Janet Keeping is a strong candidate; intelligent, well-versed across many issues, receptive and convincing on the doorsteps, and the Leader of an up and coming Party.
    4) Calgarians have taken note of the valuable contributions of Elizabeth May federally, and the success of Green MLAs in BC, New Brunswick, and PEI.
    5) Name recognition. Janet has already run in this riding. Her name is known on doorsteps and on the ballot.
    With a good campaign, I think Janet has a decent chance at winning in Calgary Foothills. I’ll chip in!

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