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Meet the Parties (Part the Third)

In part 1 we discussed the UCP and the NDP.  In part 2 we looked at the other significant parties.  Now we complete the trilogy and have some fun by looking at the “also rans”.  These are the parties that most people have never voted for or possibly even heard of.  There are dozens of unofficial parties that haven’t actually registered with Elections Alberta.  Mostly they consist of four guys and a chihuahua in a Dodge Durango.

Some of these parties have awesome names.  Names like Albertans For Swiss Style Direct Democracy.  We also have Earth Continuity Party.  And perhaps the greatest name in all of politics: The Precariat, which for some reason uses WTP as its acronym.  It’s undeniably funny until you do a quick google search on what the heck the precariat even is, and suddenly you’re sad.  These parties registered their names so no one else could use it, but to be official they have to meet certain criteria.

It turns out that it’s remarkably easy to register as an “official” party with Elections Alberta.  To be considered official you have to do one of three things.  Hold 3 seats in the legislature, run candidates in at least half of the ridings, or collect a petition supporting your party with 7,868 signatures.  Why 7868?  Because that is exactly one third of one percent of eligible voters.  Why one third of one percent?  Because math people need jobs too.

So, for the 2019 election, there are 11 total official parties.  Wait… one sec… OK.  I’m being told that is incorrect.  Wait… no… now I’m told I was right the first time.  Oh.  Maybe not.

Here’s the thing.  There are technically 13 official parties.  But only technically.  Remember back in part 1 when we introduced the UCP?  No?  You forgot already?  Alright my little goldfish…  What I said is that the UCP was formed by the two major conservative parties merging.  And while that’s true in most senses, it’s not technically true in the legal sense (also, that is definitely the excuse I’m using in court tomorrow).  For the unification of the conservatives, they technically had to create a new party and all their elected people just joined it, leaving their old parties empty, but still legally in existence.  This time around those defunct parties aren’t running any candidates so they will disappear.  But for now, they do technically count.

We good now?  Alright.  Let’s have a look at the fringe parties of the fringe province.  I’m changing up the format from the “why people love/hate them” thing because, well, I don’t know anyone who likes these parties and there isn’t a ton of information available online.  At least not enough that I won’t get distracted by Buzzfeed quizzes.  So, if you support one of these parties or know more about them then I’d love to hear from you in the comments or by the contact page or even by carrier pigeon.

 

The Alberta Advantage Party

The AAP is mostly made up of people from the former Wildrose Party who didn’t want to join the UCP.  They aren’t quite a separatist party, but they are strong advocates for giving Alberta more power within confederation.  In what is becoming a theme among the conservative leaning parties, they plan to do this by promising something that the province has no control over.  Mostly this is a party that thinks The UCP is too moderate.  They’re running four candidates.

The Alberta Independence Party

The name pretty well says it all.  Here’s a quote from their Wikipedia page: “The Alberta Independence Party is similar to but is unrelated to other Alberta separatism or similar movements in Alberta, including the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta—who currently promoting majorly to Albertan autonomism than separatism in the past—, Alberta Independence Movement, and the Western Independence Party.”  Syntax problems aside, what does it say about people who believe that Alberta should separate from Canada that they can’t even form one party to advocate for a single goal…?  The AIP is running 55 candidates.

The Communist Party of Alberta

Yes.  Really.  Not only does Alberta have a communist party, it’s actually the second oldest party we have.  It’s been around for almost 90 years.  Don’t worry though.  They haven’t gotten even 1% of the vote since World War 2.  They support all the things that your junior high social studies teacher warned you about.  Even in junior high, you probably thought it was pretty stupid.  Naturally, they think just about everything should be free to citizens, but don’t say a word about how they’ll pay for it.  So far they have no candidates.

The Green Party of Alberta

No, not that kind of green… The other kind.  The environment kind.  Truth be told, this is probably the most well known and legitimate party on this list.  Most people know about the Green Party in name only.  Oh, and they know that they are a single-issue party.  Except, that’s not actually true.  The Greens have a full costed platform that is actually more detailed than any of the major parties.  True, their environmental stance is clear throughout all of their proposed policies, but it simply isn’t fair to say they haven’t thought everything through.  Unfortunately, in a province built on oil, the Greens have zero chance of making a dent.  They’re running 6 candidates.

The Pro-Life Alberta Political Association

This is actually one party disguised as another.  The Social Credit Party ruled Alberta for more than 35 years until the 1970s.  After their fall from grace the party floundered and two years ago the party elected an anti-abortion activist who changed the name to the Pro-Life thing.  There is next to no information available about them other than their clear position on abortion and a place to donate to them.  Donate to what and whom you ask?  You don’t need to know that!  They have no candidate officially registered.

The Reform Party of Alberta

This party bears no relation to the former federal party of the same name, or even the former provincial party of the same name.  It is yet another group of disgruntled former Wildrosers.  It seems to be one guy who started it and runs things and their platform doesn’t exist – at least not publicly.  They have no candidates.

The Other People

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “But John, I saw a sign for someone you didn’t cover.  Plus, my plumber said his neighbour’s cousin is running.”  These are only the official parties.  Anybody is free to run as an independent.  Independents often are associated with some of the unofficial parties and can even use the name of their group in advertising.  On the ballot though, only official party names may appear.  Independent candidates appear with only their name.

 

And that does it.  Those are all the parties in the 2019 Alberta election.  Stay tuned for a run down of the party leaders – if only so we can make fun of the guy from The Freedom Conservative Party again.

 

I encourage you to comment with your thoughts.  I love to debate and clarify.  Before you engage though, please take a moment to review the FAQ and About TTC pages.

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7 thoughts on “Meet the Parties (Part the Third) Leave a comment

  1. Hi Mr. Marbury, thank you for writing this blog. I have a question related to independent candidates who you mention towards the end of this blog post. My question is this: Why do people run as Independents when they will have no chance at becoming Premier or a Cabinet Minister. My understanding is that the Premier is the leader of the party with the most seats, and they select their Cabinet Ministers from amongst their own party. So why would someone run as an independent?

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    • You are correct that that is how it works in practice. But technically the legislature can pick anyone they want to be premier. Fun fact, the premier or prime minister doesn’t actually have to have a seat in parliament. Throughout our history we have had party leaders who didn’t hold seats. Of course the parties traditionally pick their leader. Cabinet ministers can also be anybody legally qualified to fill the post – regardless of whether they are elected. The current leader of the AB Party was actually the minister of health before he was elected provincially.

      People run as independents all the time. Sometimes, if they’re popular enough they even win. An independent MLA or MP has a lot more freedom than one tied to a party. There is no one telling them what to vote for or pressuring them to support certain things. In many cases (minority governments for example) independents end up being quite powerful because they can be a swing vote on contentious issues.

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