Alberta Together was in Grande Prairie Tuesday to drum up awareness about centrist politics in the province, drawing about 40 people to their information session.
The not-for-profit organization isn’t looking to form a new party in Alberta, but to start a conversation focused on a centrist political voice.
“I think, right now, a lot of Albertans with the current political climate feel it’s very polarized, very divisive. Many people feel, quite honestly, politically homeless. We want to just bring information to communities across Alberta to say ‘listen, you don’t have to feel that you don’t have a place, there are lots of things going on in the middle of the political spectrum’,” said Katherine O’Neill, Executive Director of Alberta Together.
O’Neill is also the former President of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party. She resigned from the position on April 7, 2017.
As O’Neill explains, this isn’t a direct reaction to the merger of Alberta PC’s and the Wildrose Party. Their movement started in the spring.
“I was concerned that the tone was becoming very negative,” she said. “I’m socially progressive, and I think that when it comes to human rights – rights for all. There was issues surrounding questions of GSA’s, and I thought, you know what, I’m a very staunch social progressive and those are my values. It wasn’t going in the direction I [would’ve] liked.”
The Alberta Party has welcomed the support, and many party members were in attendance Tuesday. O’Neill says the Alberta Party is seeing membership growth in the Grande Prairie area. A Grande Prairie-Wapiti Alberta Party constituency office already operates in the Swan City and plans are in motion for a Grande Prairie-Smoky location as well.
Alberta’s Liberal Party has declined involvement, citing they would prefer to grow on their own.
O’Neill added she is encouraged by the number of young people showing interest in their movement.
“You had something on the left, you had something on the right, but nothing in the middle speaking to those people who are socially progressive but fiscally prudent. I think that’s where most Albertans are. We’re hearing that and they’re very hopeful that our best days are ahead of us. They don’t want to be hearing this negative rhetoric all the time. They want hopeful dialogue.”
Alberta Together plans on coming back to speak in Grande Prairie sometime this fall.
They have scheduled stops in Fort McMurray, Strathmore and St. Albert following Tuesday’s in the Swan City.