Alberta Party Forums: Past. Present. Future. July 25 Election Results Review Forum Notes

Les Sorenson

August 09, 2023


Overall Vision

The 2023 Alberta General Election was a disappointment for the Alberta Party.  As a party, we need to review the results, analyze what worked and could have been better, discuss what the party is and could be in the future, and propose a path forward and next steps for the “Alberta Party”.   

Who will be involved?

  • Party Members
  • Board Members 
  • Leader
  • All interested people from the general public

We will hold 3 sessions.  The agenda and minutes/observations of each session will be captured below.  The 3 sessions are:

  • Tues Jul 25, 2023 Topic: Election results perspectives 
    • What happened - results review
    • What worked and What came up short
    • What do we need to do better/more/less for the next election in 2027 or any possible by-elections before then
  • Wed Aug 16, 2023 Topic: Who is the Alberta Party? What does the Alberta Party stand for?
    • Alberta Party Principles - are they still what we want/need
    • How do the principles translate to policy and platform
      • Are they consistent? 
      • Weak/strong in any areas
    • VoteCompass platform and policy questionnaire put the party quite left of centre - is that where we are/were/want to be? 
    • Attracting Rural Support: The UCP won a majority with basically only rural and small city voters.  How do we attract rural participation in the party, candidates and voters?
  • Thurs Sep 7, 2023 Topic: Party path forward? (Fold, Merge, Forge Ahead)
    • Reforming the core party message?
    • Recruiting
    • Fundraising
    • CAs
    • Party Organization
    • Leadership

The consolidated outcomes will be presented to the Alberta Party Board of Directors at their September meeting.

Session 1 - Tues July 25: Election Results Perspectives Minutes

Tues Jul 25, 2023 Topic: Election results perspectives 

  • What happened - results review
  • What worked
  • What came up short
  • What do we need to do better/more/less for the next election in 2027 or any possible by-elections before then

We had approx 55 people attend online in Google Meet.


Les Sorenson showed a series of slides with a summary of the election strategy and analysis of the election results

Main points on election strategy

  • Focus efforts to win at least one seat; 4 or more seats as stretch target (would enable official party status and funding)
  • Focus limited party resources on ridings with best chances to win
  • Party Platform was a combination of existing party policy statements (2015-2022), some new ideas from 2023 CitizenLab sessions, and 2023 focus areas provided from Leader and Board
  • Core Campaign message was to be the positive 3rd voice for the people
  • Consultants were hired to assist
    • Mark Taylor - Strategy
    • Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean - Communications

Main points on election results

  • Lowest # of Candidates - reflects low # of active CAs
  • Lowest # of votes
  • Lowest % of overall votes
  • No seats
  • Lowest leader vote share in their home riding
  • Even the ridings we thought winnable were significant losses
  • We finished 3rd in every riding we ran a candidate; However, we were ~11000 votes behind the winner in every riding
  • Calgary is our strength in recent years, taking over from Edmonton in the early days
  • Green Party on the rise (we beat then Greens in the 6 ridings where we competed); Liberal Party in decline

Steve Ricketts conducted a survey using the ~10K members and supporters in the Party’s database

Common themes relating to the election results

  • 598 responses (6%), many provided thoughtful comments
  • caught (squeezed out) in a two-party race ("it's either the UCP or NDP"), and strategic voting; i.e. people wanting to support one of them to prevent the other from winning
  • many criticisms of our campaign approach and performance; e.g. 
  • not getting our platform out early enough
  • not being visible
  • not getting enough media attention
  • Party wasn’t successful in getting people to know what it stood for, that it wasn’t differentiated from the other parties
  • lack of support or endorsement from prominent Albertans
  • most liked our platform, felt that it was balanced, comprehensive and a true middle ground 
  • seen as running a positive, ethical, and principled campaign, although some saw that as a negative; i.e. that we need to be bolder and more aggressive to be heard above the din. 
  • the lack of a full slate of candidates hurt the Party; it made it appear to not be a serious party worthy of people’s support
  • decision to focus on a few winnable seats had a mixed reaction; some saw it as a pragmatic approach while others viewed it as conceding defeat
  • Barry Morishita is generally viewed positively, especially by those who’ve seen or talked with him, that he engages and listens well. some criticism for deciding to run against Danielle Smith 

General Themes:

Barry is appreciated and valued

  • People admire and support his character and style plus the effort he continues to put forth.  Many hoping/supporting have Barry continue in his leader role
  • Barry’s response didn’t seem super positive about continuing?

Election campaign failed to grab the public’s attention

  • Not enough detail or focus to convince the audience that we knew what we were doing or give them confidence the party is a solid choice
  • Not enough “punch” or attention grabbing short forms of the platform in order to get notice from either the media or public
  • Platform was fuzzy and had no numbers. Need specifics
  • Platform released too late in the campaign
  • We needed 87 candidates

Party Resources or lack thereof

  • To be taken seriously, we need to run 87 candidates.  The discussion included the clarification about what 87 candidates really means:
    • requires 87 Constituency Associations which require hundreds of volunteer supporters backed by strong central party support 
  • will require a lot more fundraising and volunteer recruitment/retention than we currently achieve.

Party visibility must be enhanced

  • General Agreement that we need to raise the visibility of the party.  
  • Many Albertans are either not aware of the party or don’t care
  • We need to reinforce our own identity beyond just an alternative to the UCP or NDP
  • Some discussion about tools we could use to raise our profile
  • Could we start our own Alberta Party SubStack (like Ken Chapman)?
    • Regular articles with inputs from candidates, leader, board, general members

Party Ideology - what is Centrist and is that who we are?

    • Lots of discussion about where we fall in the political spectrum given the polarization in today’s political landscape
    • We must clearly define ourselves and separate the Alberta Party from the NDP, UCP or other parties.
    • Seemed like people wanted to be seen as “centrist” but defining what that actually means seems to be a struggle
    • General agreement that not getting into today’s constant mudslinging is a positive behaviour 
      • Still need to call out lies, half truths and mistakes - Need to do that in a positive constructive manner
      • Must strengthen our ability to call out our opponents in positive and productive ways
        • Counter the actual lies from the other parties with facts
        • Support the candidates with facts that can be be used as the counter points in forums and in media - Requires more resources!
  • Segue prize: This will be the focus of the 2nd session in August!


Click here to download PDF of these notes

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