By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – A local resident is hoping to launch a new constituency association next week, but the party being supported is anything but new. The Alberta Party, which began in the mid-1980s as a right wing party and is now largely comprised of centrists, is looking to build a vibrant, action-oriented constituency association in the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock Constituency.
The party is holding an organizational meeting Jan. 10 at Don’s Bistro in Morinville from 7 to 8 p.m.
Organizer Thomas Holmes, a local school councillor who is currently vice president of the Sturgeon Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) Local No. 27 and vice president of the ATA’s Guidance Council, said he became interested in the party after attending one of the Alberta Party’s Big Listen events, small gatherings where Holmes said neighbours gathered to discuss what they loved about the province and what they felt needed to be changed.
“I attended a Big Listen at Chris LaBossiere’s house – he’s the current president of the Alberta Party,” Holmes said, noting the discussions covered a wide variety of topics, including health care, the environment, education and oil royalties. “There was somebody at that meeting that collected our comments and our suggestions. I believe there were about 100 Big Listens across the province, and they took all of that data and took it to their latest policy convention and created the current policies for the Alberta Party.”
Holmes, who had been vice president of the Liberal Party’s Castledowns Constituency Association when he lived in Edmonton, was impressed with what he saw and heard at the Big Listen and decided to become more involved with the Alberta Party.
“After going to the Big Listen and just seeing the philosophy that the policies are not just written by someone at a policy convention but written by neighbours, friends, and family – people in the community that were just concerned about Alberta. I think that was sort of the impetus that got me more interested in the Alberta Party specifically,” Holmes said.
Those policies have since been published on the party’s website at www.albertaparty.ca. The website states the Alberta Party’s policy framework is built on six key values: prosperity, fiscal responsibility, social responsibility, sustainability, democracy and quality of life.
Holmes is hoping area residents will take the time to come out Monday night and learn more about what the Alberta Party is about and how it is working on restoring the voices of Albertans to provincial politics.
“There are no constituency associations for any party left of the Progressive Conservatives in this area,” Holmes said, adding neither the Liberals nor NDP had associations covering the Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock Constituency. “Looking at our jurisdiction, we thought it was time to get something going.”
Holmes said if at least five people come out to the organizational meeting Monday night, they will be able to hold a nominations process to create an executive for the constituency association. That executive would then start to direct the path the association wants to go in the future.
However, he realizes there is often reluctance for people to get involved in politics and political parties, something he hopes people will overcome.
“People sometimes shy away from attending political meetings or constituency associations because they’re fairly fresh politically,” Holmes said. “Maybe they don’t felt hey have a huge knowledge of right, centre and left and where those philosophies lie. This is a perfect opportunity if people have been thinking of getting more involved in political politics. This is a really easy, safe, fun way of getting involved.”
For more information on the party or the organizational meeting, contact Thomas Holmes at 780-237-6283 or by e-mail at email@example.com.