A founding member of Alberta’s Wildrose Party is now the leader of the province’s newest official political party, which some people believe will compete for support mainly from right-of-centre voters.
The Alberta Advantage Party was added to Elections Alberta’s list of political parties on Friday after a canvassing campaign gathered 8,600 signatures on a petition asking for the party to be registered.
“We are the only truly democratic and grassroots party in Alberta,” Marilyn Burns said in a news release issued on Monday.
“Our primary platform is integrity in government, with voters having the right to recall elected MLAs.”
On Monday afternoon, Burns told Global News she doesn’t believe in seeing parties as part of a left-right spectrum and that she believes she’ll be drawing support from a wide cross-section of Albertans.
“We’ll be competing with every party for votes.”
Watch below: (From August 2017) Efforts are underway to start a new party modelled after the Wildrose Party.
“Collecting the approximate 8,600 signatures was a tremendous feat,” Burns said. “Albertans have clearly indicated that they want another party on the ballot in the spring 2019 election.
“Our message and platform resonated with people all over Alberta as they signed the petition and wished us luck.”
Burns said her party will be using the same hard work and discipline they used to get those signatures to prepare to run as many candidates as possible in the spring election. She said she personally got 2,000 of the 8,600 signatures to form the party and believes she has a good sense of how Albertans are feeling about politics as a result.
“I would say 95 per cent of the people I talk to are tired of the way politicians are behaving,” she said. “They like the idea of recall very much.”
Aside from advocating for recall legislation, elements of the AAP’s platform can be found on the party’s website and include a pledge to extricate Alberta from Canada’s equalization payment tradition “to free Albertans from being Canada’s tax slaves.”
The party also wants Alberta to have the “right to select our own immigrants in the same way that Quebec already does” and to scrap the NDP’s legislation dealing with gay-straight alliances, which ensures all schools have policies for GSAs and that students who join them aren’t outed to parents without their permission.
The AAP platform also calls for improved police training to address growing concerns about rural crime across the province as well as further deregulation of the agriculture industry.
In August 2017, Global News spoke with Burns about her plans to create the AAP after former Wildrose Party members felt betrayed by their party’s decision to merge with the Progressive Conservatives to form the United Conservative Party.
“I was one of the original founders of the Wildrose Society so this is go-around No. 2 for me, and in comparing what is happening now as to then, we are at least a year ahead,” Burns said at the time.
The AAP will hold its annual general meeting on Nov. 17 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre in Lacombe, Alta.
Burns said the meeting will see the party make a number of amendments to its constitution to ensure accountability.
“The old Wildrose constitution was built on honour,” she said. “In other words, there were no real consequences if somebody chose not to follow it. We’re changing that, unfortunately, because trust and honour has been betrayed.”
When asked about how realistic it is to adhere to a “grassroots guarantee,” especially given that UCP Leader Jason Kenney appeared to contradict such a pledge at his party’s policy convention in May, Burns indicated she would not break such a promise.
“The fact that Jason Kenney backtracked, what does this do to his credibility?” she asked. “In our party, our constitution requires that the leader advance the platform that closely aligns with the policies of the members. I took that seriously.”