.@1leftistvoiceab On Merging Parties

Dear UnitedProgressives,
I've tried for years and there is no budging. Each party has a core of supporters that believe their party is the best, the one and only. They will never leave or merge. Both still have infrastructure that is very hard to build, but neither can attract the volunteers and donators to be THE government. I think sometimes we spend more effort fighting each other than the PCs or WR. And to be fair I have seen both NDs and Libs in good and bad times; with lots of MLAs, money and volunteers and the opposite.

Even the Alberta Party with lots of very dedicated volunteers found it a struggle to start from scratch to build constituency associations and the administrative structure which keeps parties legal, receipts issued, thank you notes sent, meetings organized and all that goes with that.

Lots of folks who are members of neither the Libs or NDs do want to see one centre-left party to vote for. But they don't volunteer or donate. Happily they do still vote.

Parties need money, hard-working credible candidates/MLAs, lots of volunteers, well developed infrastructure of constituency associations, strong charismatic leaders and good policy. Policy has not been a problem for either NDs or Libs. Witness how many times Gov't uses it (Stability Fund, Endowment Funds, gender-neutral language, Children's Advocate designated as a Legislative Officer, etc etc). I should note that I'm not diss'ing the Alberta Party here. Just that they haven't come close enough (yet?) to have caucuses or been influential on policy issues or have developed infrastructure.

Most folks want to be on the winning side. Its more fun and less work, although it is still a lot of volunteer work. So getting volunteers and donations for the Tories is a lot easier. Volunteer phoners asking for donations, slam-dunk websites, huge conventions with major sponsors from liquor companies and utility companies and oil companies...its less effort to attract people to the winner.

As Albertans elect fewer Libs and NDs it makes those elected and those directly supporting them work harder and harder. The work of 30 Lib MLAs now done by 5, the same work is done by 4 ND MLAs. There is not enough time in the day to be brilliant at QP, research, dig out new issues, serve constituents, give speeches for Party, work on caucus and policy committees, raise money for your own campaign fund and for your Party, and attend committee meetings, caucus meetings, association meetings and party meetings. The caucuses receive funding per MLA, so fewer MLAs = less caucus budget, fewer support staff and higher staff turnover, less money for advertising. No money for Christmas parties. So some things don't get done, people complain, and the cycle starts again.

And please do your homework. I find few things more depressing than reading an email or twitter or facebook post that exhorts me to do something I'm already doing. It tells me that the individual or the group hasn't made the effort to find out, (read Hansard, go and watch debate, read websites). Which MLAs get it and which don't? Who seems sympathetic and who doesn't? What have they said about this. What have they done already and what actions can you take to help them do more?

Thank you for expressing support for a united centre-left. Thanks for letting me rant. I do appreciate your comments. If you want to experience a centre-left party, then get involved. Donate money to a candidate AND to the Party. Run as a candidate. Manage a campaign. Organize a fundraiser for an MLA or raise money and then donate it to MLAs you think support your vision. Help out. I fear for even the few progressive MLAs we have now, so don't wait for someone else to fix this. The someone else is you.


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