|Photo Credit: Daveberta.ca|
"I look around the room and see 50 and 60 year olds" one man said, "where are the 40 year olds?" As Derek scanned the crowd, I imagine he was disappointed to see me as the lone representative of the age group in question. I've had a few interactions with Derek in the past couple of years and he is well aware I do not support his "vision" for Alberta. "The young people are at the back" Derek said with obvious relief. And they were; the youth volunteers.
"How are you going to engage the young people?" the same man asked. "Liberty Conservativism" Derek replied. "I don't think anyone should go to jail for smoking marijuana" he declared to a group of individuals who likely don't agree with him at all. "I realize that may not be a popular stance in this room" he said. I do believe he is misinterpreting Trudeau's success as being heavily dependent on that statement. What he's missing is how the younger people in this country reacted to Trudeau's declared commitment to the environment, adequately preparing Canada for a future in a global economy and inclusion; and Derek can't offer that commitment to his supporters without alienating a good majority of them. Welcome to Alberta's right wing.
|Kerry Cundal and Stephanie Shostak|
To the gentleman at Derek's Unity event, I found the 40 year olds; and the 30 year olds and the 20 year olds who were willing to attend an event about a new political vision for Alberta. There were also 50 year olds and 60 year olds. People from different cultural backgrounds and people from all over the province. There were people from different political backgrounds as well. It was an incredible mix of people who looked a lot like the Alberta I've seen while traveling around the province over the past three months.
At the beginning of the session we logged in to a wireless poll and questions were presented so we could get an idea of whether or not people agreed with statements taken from Alberta Party policy, Liberal policy and former Progressive Conservative policy. There were also a few statements from Wildrose policy. On Liberal, ABP and Progressive Conservative policy, people voted over 90% in agreement with the polices. On Wildrose policy, they voted over 90% in disagreement in all but one category; "the government should provide incentives to employment for people receiving government benefits". That was almost an even split. Talking with attendees afterward, many said it would depend on the program. AISH, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped, for example, was not a program people believed should be "incentivized" as recipients often could not work, or could not work full-time due to permanent mental or physical disabilities.
|Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark |
Photo Credit: Nicolas Pelletier/Radio-Canada
As the former PC Party and Wildrose fight for the Wildrose supporters of late and the PC members of old, the moderates in Alberta don't seem willing to give up their progressive, or conservative, values. Welcome to the centre; we will build Alberta together.