The new Alberta Party will be the political force that Albertans want it to be, according to the acting leader.
Sue Huff said the Alberta Party through its “Big Listen” initiative has received a clear message from Albertans.
“Albertans have told us we live in a beautiful province,” Huff said. “We also heard that Alberta has not lived up to all it can be.”
Huff told about 60 people at a session hosted by the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs that Albertans said the economy, health care, education and the environment top the list of key issues.
Albertans also told the fledgling party they want trust and accountability restored in the provincial government.
“We need to shift our views from political battles to province-building,” Huff said.
In her speech in Lethbridge Huff said the Alberta Party intends to field qualified candidates in every riding in the next provincial election.
The party’s membership is quickly growing as its approach attracts people from the Progressive Conservative, Liberal, New Democrat and Green parties.
Huff is particularly excited that people who were not previously active in politics are signing up with the Alberta Party.
“We’ve attracted Albertans from all political backgrounds,” Huff said. “Our membership s growing in exponential numbers.”
A significant moment occurred Jan. 24 when former Progressive Conservative MLA Dave Taylor became the Alberta Party’s first MLA.
“It was a huge, huge moment for us as a party,” Huff said.
The party has established 27 constituency associations and intends to have 50 in place by the end of March, with the rest formed by the summer.
The Alberta Party will elect a leader on May 28.
The Alberta Party at present is developing policy in five key areas.
“Albertans told us they want a diversified and vibrant economy,” Huff said.
The party intends to embrace Alberta’s role as a world energy leader while working with companies to produce energy ethically and responsibily.
The party will also encourage diversification and innovation in the energy industry and other sectors of business.
Huff said the party will restore Peter Lougheed’s vision of the Heritage Fund by investing more natural resource revenue in savings for future generations.
Getting every Albertan a primary care relationship with a health professional is the Alberta Party’s focus.
Huff said the party will guarantee high-quality care through a continuum of preventative, long-term, home, community, acute, palliative and emergency care.
An independent auditor will be installed to monitor the effectiveness of the health care system.
The Alberta Party would get the most return out of resource-based industries while protecting the environment.
Reducing the impact of tailing ponds would be a party priority, along with transitioning from coal-generated energy to natural gas and renewable sources.
Huff said the party would create incentives and strengthen regulations to promote water quality, quantity and conservation objectives.
The Alberta Party would build a public education system that ensures high literacy and completion rates, governed by locally-elected school boards.
Schools would be supported in becoming hubs within their respective community.
Financial transparency and limiting political donations are two keys to democratic renewal in Alberta.
The party would replace the Public Affairs Bureau with something that would engage Albertans in the legislative process and would change the process in which people are appointed to boards, committees, councils and agencies.
Huff said the party would also encourage MLAs to act on behalf of their constituents.
“Democratic renewal is about increasing trust and transparency,” Huff said.
Huff predicted the next election will be the most dynamic in recent Alberta history, and the Alberta Party wants to get more people out to vote.
“We want to build a new home for the politically homeless,” Huff said of the vast number of Albertans who don’t vote. “I believe the Alberta Party can be an option for those 2.2-million Albertans.”