As an early member to the Wild Rose Party, it is with great reluctance that I invest the energy to write this letter to the United Conservative Party of Alberta.
Back in September 2012 I made several attempts to reach out to my local MLA and the Wild Rose Party with little success. I wrote a brief open letter to the Wild Rose and received a couple of somewhat generic responses.
Nevertheless, here are my thoughts on the new Conservative Party:
Don't Spend More than You Tax.
Obviously, the biggest question mark is whether the new Alberta UCP party will hold the line on fiscal conservatism. Love him or hate him, you have to admit Ralph Klein exemplified his ability to take the cannon fodder from those that opposed taking any pain to make Alberta debt free. Will the new leader be willing to bare the brunt of the barrage of criticism that will come at them day and night? In one of Ralph Klein's later interviews he talked about how normal it was to pass by angry protesters outside every time he came into the office. This was before Twitter and Facebook, so at least old Ralph could escape the noise and get to work when the door closed.
Respond to EVERYTHING.
The second concern is one I have brought up a number of times and no one else seems to emphasize it enough these days. It's ground game. In our highly connected culture, it has become completely acceptable to not answer every e-mail, voicemail, tweet, comment, etc.. I mean how could we, right? In my personal opinion, this mindset is for losers. If you want to be a successful politician or entrepreneur for that matter, you must put the idea that you can let these things slip to death. People are busy and can usually not be bothered to reach out, so when they do, you must respond. Always. It doesn't have to be from you personally, but the party (or business) must have a person or group of people to ensure every attempt to contact is responded to. It can be brief, but it must get to the heart of the question or comment being made (not a form letter). I have written at length about how Ralph Klein and Ken Kowalski responded to everything, and they did it personally, through letters or phone calls.
- But it's too hard to keep up - Then quit now if it's too hard for you
- It's Impossible with Technology - Bull. You will lose with this additude
- Insert other Rational Argument here - Nobody cares. Respond to them anyways.
What's Next for Alberta
I believe the United Conservatives will win the next election in Alberta, but I'm not running out to buy a membership yet. I was a hardcore serious evangelist for the Wild Rose Party (before it was cool) due to the series of spineless PC Party leaders. Danielle Smith's goofy floor crossing pretty much put the nail in the coffin for Alberta politics. In fact, I wrote this article predicting that there would be the "Rise of a New Opposition in Alberta", PST, and much more Debt. 2 our of 3 isn't bad, although there is still time for NDP to bring in PST and make it a hat-trick.
There is Hope for Alberta...
On a positive note, Brian Jean and Jason Kenney both seem like good strong conservative leaders in their own way. Since the last provincial election, we have learned what can actually go wrong, that the consequences can come swiftly, and it doesn't take long to escalate. Both are coming into this new party understanding that their party wants conservative principles, not NDP light or more red tories.
Update: At the time this was written I did not realize that Jeff Callaway and Doug Schweitzer were also running, looking forward to learning more about them soon.