ALBERTA

Alberta Wildrose Party: How It Has Changed Following Its Latest AGM

10/29/2013 03:10 EDT | Updated 10/30/2013 03:17 EDT
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Any betting man would've given the Alberta Wildrose Party a resounding win during the lead up to last year's provincial elections.

Albertans, after more than 40 years of continuous Tory government and craving renewal, found an alternative in the WRA.

But in the end, the Wildrose, heavily nailed down in the right wing of the political spectrum - economically and socially, was its own worst enemy. Leading up to the ballot, the Wildrose promised all those things they said the PCs just couldn't deliver - accountability, balanced budgets, openness and a better brand of democracy.

But to get all that, voters also had to buy into some less-than popular social beliefs.

In the end, it was the party's social conservatism that turned many voters away from the Wildrose.

Danielle Smith personally conceded later that it was some of those values, verbalized by candidates who didn't win seats and that ruffled more than a few Alberta feathers, that cost the Wildrose a certain win.

It's a political reality the Wildrose aimed to address when it met in Red Deer over the weekend.

Motions were passed during the course of the annual general meeting (AGM) enshrining values into the Wildrose DNA that socially moves it drastically to the centre of the political spectrum and more on line with the Alberta voter.

This is what the Alberta Wildrose Party looks like now.

  • In 2012, the Wildrose did not believe in climate change.
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  • After the weekend, Wildrose Party Leader Danielle Smith says 'climate change is a reality.'
  • In 2012, the Wildrose was not hot on gays.
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    Gay rights wasn't just not part of the public conversation within the Wildrose, but as Allan Hunsperger, one of the candidates running for Member of the Legislative Assembly once wrote, gays will burn for eternity in hell's "lake of fire," if they didn't repent.
  • In today's Wildrose Party, human rights are universal, even for gays.
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  • In 2012, the buzz was that a victorious Wildrose would put the question of abortion to a referendum.
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  • Now, they've dumped a promise to give conscience rights to health-care professionals not willing to provide services to women seeking abortions.
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  • In 2012, those conscientious rights also extended to wedding commissioners refusing to marry gays.
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  • Now, the Wildrose has dumped that notion as well.
  • In 2012, they were right because they were white.
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    Candidate Ron Leech drew outrage from all quarters when he said in a radio interview that he had an advantage over his minority rivals because he is Caucasian.
  • Now, the party has redrawn it's nomination process, presumably to ensure they reflect the Wildrose's more populous values.
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  • Now, the party also no longer wants to fire the RCMP and launch its own police force.
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  • It no longer wants to do away with the Canadian Pension Plan.
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  • And, it no longer wants an Alberta-only constitution.
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  • In 2012, the Wildrose had a well-spoken, relatable, good-looking leader.
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  • Now, the Wildrose Party seems to have a pragmatic, politically savvy, good looking leader.
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