Centre Together 2.0 Greg Clark's speech
Posted on May 13, 2017 by Greg Clark
Acknowledge we're on Treaty 6 territory, and that we walk in the footsteps of our Metis brothers and sisters. On a day when we're talking about how to include everyone in our economy and our society it's important to recognize those who have been here for millennia and to work towards reconciliation and inclusion.
Thank you for being here. How many people are at an Alberta Party event for the first time? And how many have been here from the start? If you’ve been here before I want you to find someone who’s new and introduce yourself. Tell them what the Alberta Party means to you and ask them what their hopes and dreams are for our province and our party.
I want to say a big thank you to our CA executives, and our provincial board of directors. And a big, big thank you to the people who helped organize today’s event.
As I prepared for today I asked myself; what does it mean to be an Albertan? Who are we as a province?
Are we punitive, angry people who attack anyone who disagrees with us? Do we denigrate women using awful, awful language? Are we the kind of people who spend other people’s money irresponsibly? Do we dismiss or question the rights of LGBTQ people, or spend our days wishing for a return of some idealized version of the past?
I don’t think that’s who we are. I think Albertans are open, forward-looking and generous. And I’ll tell you one more thing…Albertans aren’t left wing or right wing...we're Albertans!
We are humble and we’re remarkable. Proud and smart. Resourceful and compassionate. Albertans are thrifty but we’re not cheap. We're strong but we’re not bullies. We get things done and, when we work together, we make tomorrow happen.
And Albertans have a big, big heart.
We believe that to be great, our province must be great for each and every citizen. At the same time, Albertans hate waste. We want a government as smart as we are. We want common sense.
That’s who we are as Albertans, and that’s who’s in this room today. That’s the Alberta Party.
And when people ask me that question; "who is the Alberta Party?" I tell them we believe in:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Social Responsibility
Unfortunately the political dialogue in Alberta has become fractured and polarized. We have an irresponsible left and an intolerant right. Told we need to choose between people and money.
The Alberta Party knows it's possible to:
- Look out for our neighbours AND balance a budget
- High quality, efficient public services AND balance a budget
- Unapologetically defend minority rights AND balance a budget
What also sets the Alberta Party apart is also HOW we operate, and I hope you’ve seen here today that we really are different than other parties. First and most importantly we listen to our members, and engage people in the conversation.
There are two sides to my job in the Legislature; part of the job is to hold the government accountable, to ask good questions and when necessary to oppose.
But that's only half the job. The other half of the job is to tell Albertans what we would do. The job of opposition isn't just to oppose, it's to propose ideas that make Alberta better.
In the first two years in the Legislature our small but mighty team has presented a royalties plan, a climate plan and a debt repayment plan. We've presented three shadow budgets, one for every NDP budget. This year, we showed how a fiscally responsible government could balance the budget in four years while still funding core services to match population growth.
Yes, it is possible, you just have to try.
Peter Lougheed once said that he would first ask what is the right thing to do, and then he would figure out the politics. Alberta is as strong as we are because of that vision; the Alberta Party believes in doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do.
The Alberta Party is a big tent party, but our big tent has solid walls...if you want to push a socially conservative agenda, you're welcome to do that. But you're welcome to do that somewhere else. Those views are not welcome in the Alberta Party, simple as that. So I can assure you there will be no bozo eruptions from the Alberta Party!
I want to talk for a moment about the people joining us today who were until recently members of PC Alberta…or maybe still are members of PC Alberta!
People have asked if we're worried the PCs will swamp us, take us over just like Jason Kenney did to you. I want to be absolutely clear; there's a fundamental difference between joining something you believe in and want to help build, and taking over a party by force with the sole purpose of destroying it.
Jason Kenney took over the PC Party for his own purposes and treated your values and long-time contributions with disdain.
When people join the Alberta Party because you share our values and vision it doesn't make us PC lite, it makes us the Alberta Party. And that goes for all of our members, no matter where you come from, how long you’ve been a member, or who you've voted for in the past.
The minute you bought your membership, the minute you walked in that door, we came together. And together, all of us, are the Alberta Party!
I believe you’re here because you want to help build a strong centrist party and a better province. You've chosen a positive path to work alongside your neighbours to do the work necessary to build a party you can be proud of.
You’re here because you’re good people, and when good people come together, good things happen. And I can tell you the Alberta Party is full of good people, and more are joining every day!
In these very challenging times Albertans are looking for leadership. They want leaders who speak their language, who understand their struggles, and share their optimism.
Albertans know we can’t have a discussion about the economy without also talking about the environment. Albertans want leaders who are proud of our energy industry, as it is today, and will fiercely defend our environmental and social track record to the world.
Albertans want leaders who channel our collective compassion into effective, efficient programs that help, REALLY help give people a hand up without breaking the bank.
Albertans want leaders who will ensure our province succeeds in today's economy, while also taking a step into the job market of tomorrow by allowing Alberta entrepreneurs to innovate in green technology, agri-food, big data, carbon abatement, IT and so much more. And I know the sessions this morning came up with even more ideas.
I heard that Albertans want to pursue what I call an "and" economy. Ensuring we support our energy industry AND create a business climate that allows us to take a step into the future.
And I want to thank each and every one of you for your contribution to the thoughtful discussion. Even when we disagreed, we weren’t disagreeable. That’s another great example of who we are in the Alberta Party. We tackled tough issues and didn’t back down from any elephants in the room.
And we learned from one another, from people with different backgrounds from us. We've shown Albertans how to come up with great ideas and how to work together to tackle the big issues facing our province. Now we’ll go forward and continue the consultation process, and thousands of Albertans will have a chance for input before this becomes policy.
That’s what today’s event is all about, and I’m really looking forward to our panel discussions later this afternoon and tonight, focusing on growing jobs for under-represented groups, and talking about how a fiscally responsible government can stimulate the economy and create good jobs for all.
Those are the sorts of questions leaders ask, and I’m here to tell you that the Alberta Party, all of us here together, are ready to provide exactly that kind of leadership, to share our vision with Albertans and compete to win the next election!
But it won't be easy. It won't be easy to build a strong, viable party that can earn the trust of Albertans, but that's exactly what we're here to do. And we'll do it if we work together.
Make no mistake, our goal is to run strong, local candidates in all 87 constituencies and give every Albertan an opportunity to mark an X beside an Alberta Party candidate. Our goal is to give centrist, moderate, progressive Albertans a political home.
Our goal is to bring the Centre Together!
And when we do that, when we share a vision of a prosperous, inclusive Alberta our province will win, and the Alberta Party will win!
And we'll do it together.