Alberta Alliance Party

Edmonton - Sunday, September 8, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton


On Thursday evening I attended a gathering of the new Alberta Alliance, which has apparently completed the application process and has applied for official party status in Alberta. There were just over a hundred activists, such as myself, who were invited to take part. The room set aside for this at a local hotel indicates that pretty most of those invited came out, including a handful of my former GUARD comrades. Unlike the stereotypical Reform meeting, this had a good cross-section of ages, from those in their late teens and twenties, a good number of the 30-50 set, as well as representation from the senior crowd. It was pretty well split between those under and over the half-century mark.




The interim leader of the party, and no doubt the man who will take the permanent spot after the founding convention (later this fall, I believe) is Randy Thorsteinson. He is a 45 year old Red Deer businessman, former leader of the Alberta Social Credit Party (until 1999), and Stephen Harper's man on the ground in central Alberta in his successful bid for the Canadian Alliance leadership.


Now, what is he about? Well, as the name insinuates, the Alberta Alliance is quite similar to the Canadian Alliance in philosophy. Their handout calls for:
  1. High-quality publicly funded health care services that meet all patient's needs where they live and when they need it. [Obviously, I'm interested to know how they can deliver such promises to the hinterland, but it would seem the Mayo Clinic 2(a world renowned non-profit center in the small city of Rochester, Minnesota) could provide a hint as to his vision].

  2. A world class education system for students of all ages. [The use of vouchers to allow the money to follow the student is one tool. The idea is that less bureacracy is good and that performance by schools should be rewarded if they can attract a healthy contingent of students. I'm not sure how they will resolve the need of providing for their local community with attracting students from outside their area.]

  3. Small, more efficient Government with guaranteed, balanced budgets. [No doubt, loopholes would be installed for emergency use. ]

  4. Meaningful, significant tax relief.

  5. Promoting individual freedom and accountability.

  6. Safer streets and schools in every community.

  7. Better services for children and families.

  8. A thriving private sector economy fostering entrepreneurship that creates high-paying job opportunities.

  9. The fastest growing technology industry in Canada.

  10. Leading edge resource industries that are globally recognized for their success, productivity and environmental stewardship.

  11. Great equity and equality for Alberta in Canada. [As the spectre of Kyoto demonstrates, the consequences for any federal government to trash Alberta are minimal under the present system. I heard nothing on the "i" word, but many have come to the realization that it must be an arrow in the quiver if there is any hope of meaningful change in that area...unless Ontario and Quebec have an unexpected change of heart]

  12. The most open, accountable and democratic government in Canada.




Thorsteinson is a stocky fellow (okay, like me there is a treadmill out there calling his name), but it doesn't really detract from his appearance. He has a pleasant face and manner, is very articulate, experienced in running a party, and appears to have a vision of where he wants to lead the party. He does have a friendly, relaxed charisma. Being a former Socred might not help if he lived in Toronto, but it shouldn't cause problems in Lloydminster, Red Deer, or Manyberries. At 45, he has the benefit of youth and he presents his case with mature enthusiasm. In short, he is this new party's greatest asset, along with reported healthy financial backing. As for vote splitting with the governing PC's, he says his goal is to attract voters from across the spectrum, as Reform managed to attract NDP backers.


Obviously, it is too early to predict any kind of success, but on first impressions he comes across much better than a number of less polished groups, such as Alberta First and the Alberta Independence Party. With Klein starting to spend cash like a Liberal, Thorsteinson may begin attracting fiscal conservatives, obviously some social conservatives, and those who seek a strong provincial rights party.




Bottom line is that Thorsteinson and the Alberta Alliance have the potential to make waves here on the provincial scene. We'll have to see if that potential is realized or not over the next year or two.


Ron Thornton



Alberta Alliance Party - web site


Mayo Clinic - the Mayo Clinic is in Rochester, Minnesota. In fact, the Minnesota locale was named after the New York city by one of its native-sons, founder George Head, who had established a camping place for wagon trains at the Minnesota location. In 1863, a Dr. William Worrall Mayo arrived, with his sons WIlliam James and Charles Horace founding the clinic as St. Mary's Hospital in 1889. In 1915 they established the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

By the way, there are also Rochesters in Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and even one in England. Oh, the New York Rochester was named after a Col. Nathaniel Rochester of Maryland in 1817 as Rochesterville (shortened in 1822).



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