Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part IV
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,Government,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part III]

We made many other changes since 1971. Let me deal with them in a brief way.

Let’s look at resource management. I wonder how many of you recall that when we first came to office, the selling price of our oil – oil that we own as a province – was decided between the major integrated oil companies in Toronto. We changed that in 1973. We got control of our own resources. Then we developed exploration incentive programs that stimulated a wave of drilling activity and jobs through the late 70’s. Yes, then we were hit hard – very hard by the National Energy Program. But, we have come back step by negotiating step from that precipice placed in front of us on October 28, 1980. This was done with the strong support of Albertans. During all this time Albertans did something else exciting too. Albertans developed an oil and gas technology that is now valuable in the world marketplace.

We maintained, during those years, the family farm despite a lot of pressure. We brought in a Beginning Farmer Program and Farm Credit programs. We did a lot as a government for agriculture but the key is that the family farm has been preserved – which was one of our election commitments. When we discuss productivity in the world – Alberta agriculture – Canadian agriculture, on a productivity cost effective basis, can match agriculture producers anywhere in the world. But, let’s make sure we never have a discussion – never have a Party meeting – where we don’t recognize the primary agriculture industry and its ability to compete in the world marketplace.

Next I remember the election commitment. I remember when our original team of six M.L.A.’s met. We talked about whether we were going to develop as a province in the way the present office holders felt inevitable. Alberta was going to draw away rural life and from the small communities. We said no, it’s not inevitable. We can have a province of balanced growth. We can decentralize government operations as much as possible. We committed ourselves to encourage growth centres in this province. We accomplished a great deal. A few people don’t think that rebuilding rural hospitals is a good idea. I think there are quite a few people here that think rural hospitals are a very good idea! We also went with a rural gas program. We brought in programs for airports and roads. We significantly improved the structure and the way of life in small communities.

What have Albertans accomplished since 1971 in economic terms? We lead the world in synthetic oil technology through Syncrude. We lead the world in terms of handling sour gas. We discovered large new natural gas reserves in this province. The skeptics said it wouldn’t happen – but we also developed a new strong petrochemical industry so that jobs didn’t have to continue to be shipped down the pipeline to Sarnia.

In agriculture processing we have developed a whole new Canola crushing industry – and made progress in many other food producing fields.

Finance – the financial centre of western Canada is not Vancouver, it is right here in Alberta. What about science? Do you know there are over 2000 scientists working here in Alberta. These include the Scientists in the medical Research Foundation financed by the Heritage Fund. So, in economic and technological terms, we have come a long way!

How about our involvement with the rest of Canada? “What do Albertans really want?” Well, we have frequently been asked that question. I think the message is finally getting across. We want to be a full part of the mainstream of Canadian life. I am not talking about just government – I include most Albertans – whether it is in sports, arts, culture, science, education or whatever. We have come a long way and we are now fully a part of the Canadian scene. Let’s be extremely proud of our many achievers – in many fields.

What about Alberta in the political mainstream? Well, I really tried hard not smile when we went down to sign the Constitutional accord but, the amending formula strengthens the resource ownership by our province for the generations ahead. The idea that all provinces are equal in confederation, that there isn’t a difference in the Constitution because one province has a larger population than some others. I remember in 1976 when we were alone on this concept but we won them over step by step. There isn’t a major national decision made today when those involved don’t say – “I wonder what the Alberta reaction is going to be?” Friends, since 1971, this province has moved into the mainstream of Canadian life. We have come a long way!

Innes Political Cartoon

Photo Credit: Tom Innes, The Calgary Herald, March 27, 1975

So where are we at now in the Spring of 1984 as Party and a province? Let’s look at the Party first. Just look at this Convention. Our largest Convention ever. 90% of the delegates are registered from the provincial constituencies. Our membership sales, at this time of the year for the provincial Party – higher than anytime in our history other than in election years. That is very important – because it is membership that counts in the long haul.

In terms of finance – with the unsung volunteers that are involved – we went from a deficit of a quarter of a million dollars to a surplus of a quarter of a million dollars this past year. But, hold on, the surplus is for the next election fund. So we are in a pretty good position as a Party – the Party and the Caucus are working very well together.

How about input from the Party? Maybe I need to say a word about that because of the process. The ideas that you have come up with – the Medical Research Foundation came out of a Policy Conference discussion. The whole idea of a Municipal Debt Reduction Plan came out of a convention resolution. The concept of the Heritage Fund came from a convention debate. That is what being a member of our Party means. That is what being a delegate means.

Continued in Part V

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part III
Sunday, January 18, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part II]

Now, I want to pause on my list of fundamentals to remind a few of you of the last Party Convention two years ago at the Edmonton Inn. I went around the hotel and visited with many delegates. Everywhere I went there was one phrase that everybody talked to me about. I went back into the room and I said, what had occurred – I couldn’t get anybody to talk about anything other than W.C.C. [Editor’s note: Western Canada Concept] Well, I like a real challenge so we said, let’s pull ourselves together and be happy warriors with a new challenge. From that annual meeting in 1982, we devised a new game plan. It started with getting out from under the Legislative dome – out talking to people – travelling the province and communicating. It involved going back to the people who had supported us as volunteers and encouraging their involvement again. It involved responding to the issues that were brought up at our 1982 convention. Remember those issues? One of them was mortgage interest rates. Another one was surface rights. Another one was Widows’ pensions. So, let’s always listen carefully at our annual meetings. Then let’s sit down at Caucus and discuss what we’ve learned from the delegates at the annual meeting. We have listened and have responded to them.

In the Spring of 1982 we then considered what is the way to campaign in the next election campaign? How could we say what we felt in almost one word? We campaigned as you remember not against anything – we campaigned for Alberta. How did we campaign? Again, door to door! With a door to door message and a complimentary electronic message by the leader – we campaigned positively! We developed a brand new theme for the Party. It is a theme that I hope you will keep front and centre as a Party – “Free Enterprise – Yes – but, free enterprise that cares”.

Campaign speech in 1982

Campaign speech in 1982

So, let’s not forget the fundamentals upon which this Party was built. Feel good about these fundamentals. Don’t forget them – don’t forsake them. We do so at our peril because they are basic to our success.

Let me move next to where we have come from as a province since 1971.

We have come a long way and it is important, at an annual convention, to review where we have come from. Yes, we have made mistakes. Most of them have been by commission rather than omission. Some we have adjusted and with others we need to do better. But, we have made Alberta a much better place to live in terms of people services. Since 1971 we have developed here, in Alberta, perhaps the best health care delivery system in the whole world. We have put together educational facilities overall that are also unparalleled. We have brought in an array of special people programs – to help the senior citizens, the aged, the pioneers and the disadvantaged.

What about individual personal income? The personal income in this province was in fourth place when we came to office. We are now in first place. We are in first place in terms of family income and we have more people in this province – in relationship to the population even today than any province. We have created – even with the present economic downturn – between 1971 and 1984, more new jobs in the province of Alberta on a comparative basis than any other part of Canada. That’s another important accomplishment.

What about quality of life? Well, I believe we have done fairly well to preserve our environment. We also have developed parks and recreation facilities, historical facilities and cultural facilities together with program content to go with them so as to improve the quality of life for our people. We have done all this but at the same time we have been able to essentially preserve our values, including one that is absolutely crucial. That is helping one’s neighbour – part of our pioneer spirit!

Yes, I realize we are now into an economic adjustment period which I believe will be short term. But, let’s admit something, this province was on an upward curve, that could not be sustained. Even aside from external events we just had to come back to earth and adjust.

Continued in Part IV

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part II
Friday, January 16, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part I]

Then we came to the 1971 campaign. There were some other fundamentals that arose out of that campaign. We made a decision in 1971 to take our message to the people – to go to the doorsteps and to the farm houses all over this province and we have never let up on that fundamental. We also developed a platform of new directions and an undertaking that we would follow through with our election platform commitments.

1971 Campaign
PCAA Party Leader, Peter Lougheed, and Party volunteers supporting Gerry Amerongen, Edmonton-Meadowlark, during the 1971 Alberta general election.

Another part of the 1971 campaign was that we had a game plan. The game plan, while we were in opposition, was to say nothing about the government. Don’t believe that wasn’t difficult! Don’t think I didn’t get the skeptics coming to me as we went through those weeks in August 1971 saying, “This won’t work, it is too quiet out there. You have got to make some noise, you have to tear people down, you have got to start fighting with good people on the other side who are well motivated.” I said, we have a game plan and we have to stay with that game plan. It clearly worked despite the skeptics. It was perhaps the only time a new government was elected in the sense that the people weren’t voting against the existing government in 1971, they were voting for the Progressive Conservatives. That is another fundamental.

There is another. We formed the government and together as a Caucus we committed ourselves to follow through on our election promises. We distributed a document in the last election campaign called ‘Pledge and Progress’, of which I am very proud.

The next decision we made was in relationship to the Caucus itself. Again, the skeptics don’t believe this – we vote at Caucus. In our first Caucus meeting after the election in 1982 – well there was a decision we were arguing about – I think it was the percentage of the Alberta Energy Company that the government should hold. There was quite a difference of view.

So, I said, ten minutes from now we are going to vote. We voted. That is a fundamental principle.

It isn’t followed by any other government Party in Canada. Our decisions are made by the Caucus and we do it by votes. If you want to talk about teamwork, that is the way to have teamwork because everybody then really is a part of it.

There is another fundamental called responsiveness. The hardest thing in politics is to listen. Why is it hard? Because it isn’t the loudest noises that count. What you have to listen to is the quiet majority of Albertans out there. That is the key. Let’s keep listening to them.

There is one other fundamental. In 1971, I remember a discussion whereby someone said they didn’t vote for us on August 30, 1971 down south of Calgary, so why should we worry about them? Wow, that would have been a drastic mistake because what is important is that you are elected to represent all the people. That is a principle of what’s involved. Some of you new to this Party won’t believe the next line. Do you know that the senior citizens didn’t vote for us in very large numbers in 1971? We decided that maybe we ought to consider the senior citizens more positively. They are the pioneers that built this great province. We should bring in programs to really help them. The public would accept those programs. We introduced new program after new program. I think most of you who have been out there campaigning know, that the senior citizens in a very significant percentage now vote for this Party. So the principle is – never conclude that a group doesn’t support our Party. Never say that. We are a Party of individuals and it is each individual that is important. It is not groups, not occupational groups, it is the citizens at large. So, that is another fundamental of our provincial Party.

I want to mention another one. It is hard for me to communicate the concept but let me try. If you want to see me wince, just stand up and say, when we came to “power” in 1971. My whole idea about being in politics is the absolute antithesis of the word power. The concept of power is not the concept of serving. We are here to serve the public. Power means that you come down from on top. We are here to serve. That is important and from your reaction I sense you understand this concept.

When we were first elected we were asked – “why don’t you be bold?” We have been – we were bold when we brought in the Heritage Savings Trust Fund – we were bold when we took the stand on the Constitutional amending formula – only one of eleven governments at the start. We were bold when we sat down on the Syncrude deal and out-negotiated the others. We have been bold since we were first elected – thank gosh we have been – it has been good for this province.

There is another basic one and is it ever important for the government that is seeking re-election. They may have voted for you but you have got to continue to hold their support. If you are Neil Webber or Jim Horsman and you go out knocking on doors between election campaigns – I tell you it is worth ten doors knocked on during an election campaign. Don’t take a single vote for granted, ever. We never have and we live by that concept.

Continued in Part III

Leader’s Address at 1984 PCAA AGM: Part I
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984

I thought I might talk a little bit today about politics. I haven’t had a chance to talk with you since November 2, 1982. What is Politics about? It starts with getting elected, then with meeting your promises and commitments, then doing other things to help people, then it moves to getting re-elected and to sustaining that support.

So let’s talk about our record. We started in 1965 with no seats. The first election of 1967 we won six seats with 26% of the popular vote. In 1971 we won 49 out of 75 seats and 46% of the popular vote. Then we sought a renewed mandate in 1975 and we won 69 out of 75 seats with 62% of the vote. Then in 1979 we increased again our majority to 74 of 79 seats with 57% of the vote. Then in 1982 the most incredible result – unparalleled anywhere – for a government in office seeking its third mandate for re-election – we increased our majority to 75 seats but the real key, we increased the popular vote to 62%. Well done!

What I am trying to say is that it is easy to talk about what you will do. What counts is what you do when you have the responsibility. When you get into the kitchen, can you take the heat? Can you make the tough decisions? Can you maintain your balance? Talk comes fairly easy. It is action that counts. The test of performance is to sustain that support and that confidence. So, what I want to talk about today are four basic questions.

First of all, how did we as the Party get where we are? Secondly, where did we as a province come from? Third, where are we at now in the Spring of 1984 as a Party and a province? Last, where are we going as a province and a Party?

Well, how did we get here? As I said, it was from scratch. I think it is important, therefore, to discuss why and how.

What Do We Stand For?

There are some key fundamentals. It is important to remember what they are. Dear friends, we ignore these fundamentals at our peril. We started, as I say, with nothing, without seats, money or organization. We had no IOU’s and we still have no IOU’s. We have moved ahead with a solid foundation. What are the fundamentals? Let me go over them as I sense them – have you think about them and then raise them with me tomorrow if you wish.

The first fundamental of the Provincial Progressive Conservative Party is that it be an open democratic Party in the fullest sense of the word. Open in its nominating meetings, open in its request for people to come and join – continually inviting new people to come in. Never closing the door. That in itself is very meaningful. If we had ever taken the position that you have to show some credentials or some Conservative background or something, to come and be part of this Party, we would still be meeting down in the basement. We invited people to come in from other Parties. We invited them to come in and be a part of our team. If they had never been involved in the political process before there was a special invitation. That was important. So, that is the first fundamental. An open, democratic Party.

The second fundamental is really important. We started out with a strategy. I guess you would call it strategy but it was more the attitude of the people. We said, let’s not do it the old way. Let’s have politics in which we present ourselves positively as to what we stand for. What we stand for as a Party, what we will do if we are elected. That is the way we started because that is the kind of people we are. If there is one thing that bothers me about politics, it is tearing people down and questioning their motives. I argue with their judgement, I often dispute very much their point of view on issues but I don’t believe in questioning peoples motives. We never have, we never will and let’s keep it that way.

The other fundamental is volunteers. You don’t run a political campaign other than through volunteers. How do you get volunteers? You get volunteers by asking them to come, by making them feel good because we are positive, by having an open Party, but more than that, by listening to them and communicating with them and making their presence really count. So between 1965 and 1971 it was bringing in volunteers to our constituencies, that was key.

Continued in Part II

Constituents can interact directly with PC MLAs through new website
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Categories: Digital Media,Government,History

Archie McLean, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Thursday, January 08 2009

The Alberta government caucus is jumping into the 21st century next week with the launch of a new website packed with social and interactive media.

Mypcmla.ca isn’t quite finished yet, but when it launches Monday, it will feature individual websites for each of the PC party’s 72 MLAs and links to their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube.

The idea, says Troy Wason, the caucus’s senior communications officer in charge of social media, is to give an online voice to the party’s backbenchers and to allow constituents to interact directly with their MLAs. “We’re interested in creating a two-way dialogue,” said Wason, who spent nine months working on the project.

Each site will contain basic information such as MLA biographies, but also caucus news, pictures and events calendars. There will be a default account setup on Twitter and other social media sites for MLAs who don’t have them.

Jonathan Rose, a political communications expert at Queen’s University, said political communications technology is in its infancy and it’s not immediately clear how it will benefit the caucus.

“If the point is to increase your reach, the jury is still out as to how effective these are at expanding support,” Rose said. “If the point is to consolidate existing support and to mobilize them quickly, then it might be more useful.”

With voter turnout last election at a record low, Rose said it may help reach out to young people and others who aren’t politically engaged.

Wason agreed that political organizations should be doing more to engage the under-35 crowd. While the site may not mobilize hundreds of new followers, it plants a flag in the online world.

“We’re saying, ‘Here we are. We’re in your backyard,’ ” he said. “If somebody chooses to be a supporter of Metallica rather than the premier of Alberta, that’s their decision, but you can’t say we’re not there.”

The province’s two main opposition parties also have an online presence. Both have caucus sites — albertaliberalcaucus.com and ndpopposition.ab.ca. The Liberals also keep a blog on their site and on Wednesday, MLA Kent Hehr joined PC MLA Doug Griffiths as the only two members with Twitter accounts.

NDP Leader Brian Mason is the most active MLA on Facebook, with 1,319 friends, while his caucus colleague Rachel Notley has 867.

Liberal caucus communications director Larry Johnsrude applauded the Conservatives for setting up an interactive site, but lamented the massive caucus budget they enjoy. “We don’t have near the resources that they have, but I guess that’s just the reality,” he said.

Johnsrude said his party may try to appeal for more money to do a similar project. Caucus budgets are separate from party or government budgets. They are set by the Legislative Assembly Office based on the number of members a party has in the legislature. A 72-seat majority in an 83-seat legislature means the PC caucus wields a huge budget.

With technology changing so quickly, Wason said the site’s launch is just the beginning of its evolution. “Even I don’t know where this is going to go.”


© The Edmonton Journal 2009

Candidate claims to know the ropes
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Categories: History,PCAA,Politics

Cunningham, Jim. Calgary Herald [Calgary, Alta] 30 Apr 1992: B1.

In the race for the Calgary Buffalo Conservative nomination it may not matter so much who the candidate is or who he knows, but where he lives.

Rod Love doesn`t live in the inner- city riding, facing a byelection this spring as a result of the death in January of its MLA, Sheldon Chumir.

But that isn`t the issue, Love told a news conference held Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the Buffalo Tory nomination.

The issue, Love told nine media people and 25 Calgary Conservatives, is picking someone who knows the political ropes.

“I think the people of Calgary Buffalo will be well served by having someone who understands the process” whether it is at city hall, the legislature, or across the province, said Love, who works in Edmonton as aide to Ralph Klein, the minister of environment and former mayor of Calgary.

Love`s announcement marked his second plunge into elective politics. He lost the Tory nomination for the 1988 federal election in his home riding, Calgary South East, to Lee Richardson.

Del Iannucci thinks home address and a community connection are important.

Iannucci, a 37-year-old planning consultant and member of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, lives in Scarboro, an upper crust neighborhood in the heart of the riding.

He`s also a long-time member of the Buffalo constituency association board, an a volunteer for various community groups.

Being an active resident of the riding “is the only way,” Iannucci said. “I think it makes a significant difference.”

Iannucci said he has lived in Buffalo since the early `80s and knows community problems and feelings first-hand.

In an earlier interview, Tory riding president Troy Wason said the nomination meeting for Buffalo is likely in the week after the Victoria Day holiday next month.

The byelection is expected sometime in late June.

Also seeking election in Buffalo are Liberal Gary Dickson and New Democrat Elaine Husband. Both won their nominations by acclamation earlier this spring.

There is so much good…
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Categories: Digital Media

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.

Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion (Kansas) Record (1849 – 1925)

We have witnessed much in recent days about how making assumptions about people and their perceived state of mental health or lack of character can be fraught with hidden minefields. And, many times, we find ourselves guilty of having judged and cast the first stone as though we were superior or above the fray. Words such as selfish, corrupt, suicidal, entitled, etc. have been bandied about with foolish abandon to wound those with whom we do not agree or do not understand.

The anonymity of the digital age has punctuated the degree to which we can strike our ‘enemies’, real or otherwise, and fly away to our moral high ground from whence we are perched. And, thus, our self-made pedestals give us a birds-eye view of those we deem lesser and allow us the elevation to shit on those we perceive as mere mortals.

Meanness is not new. It is part of the human condition. What is new is the speed in which hatred, misunderstanding, distrust, and innuendo can travel and the distance from which we can strike. With drone-like precision we can hit our foe and retreat into obscurity. And, all too often, the recipient finds little or no opportunity for recourse or an arena to defend themselves.

What of the attacker? Unfortunately, they slither back to the dark hole from whence they came; congratulating themselves on a job well-done. Damage complete.

What is the toll? This week we saw how serial trolls, running sockpuppet Twitter accounts, harassed the grieving Zelda Williams to the point of her turning off her account. Closer to home, I have seen friends delete their own personal accounts, some of whom I encouraged to open in the first place, for many of the same reasons. The conversation was over. The trolls had won.

Not surprisingly, I have had little interaction on Twitter (joined 2007) since the spring of 2012 when it became apparent to me it had become an echo chamber for hyper-partisans, and the previously mentioned trolls.

The irony in the promise of social networking is not lost on me. Yesterday, I shouted to my digital world how I was given exceptional service by the fine folks who toil at my local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. Not only could I thank the employees in person, but I could tell my social network how pleased I was when given said amazing service. Win-Win.

I live for debate, discussion, and conversation. It is my passion. Often, I agree to disagree. Move on. Find a new hill in which to battle. Learning from those I do not find myself in agreement with is one of my joys in life. Some who read this post know who they are and know how much I appreciate them. And, hopefully, I have shown them the respect they deserve by engaging with me.

The promise of social media in 2007 made me an instant convert. I still believe in the potential, but I am more cautious today. To paraphrase: social media doesn’t hurt people, people hurt people.

My friends and family have differing political, social, and religious viewpoints and for this I am thankful. They stimulate my brain and reinvigorate my soul. They agree/disagree with my world view and allow for my ignorance. They are real.

Those who anonymously attack, run, hide, and destroy are also real, but irrelevant in my world. The line must be drawn. The pendulum swings. Currently, the trolls are winning, but I am optimistic a day will come when we say enough is enough. Today is my day.

Peter Lougheed’s Address to the 1967 PCAA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

A short two and one-half years ago, we met here in this very room — Our past was unspectacular — our future uncertain — but we decided then and there to build — for the first time — a strong Progressive Conservative party in Alberta. To our critics we were an unpromising party with an impossible task. Today, even the critics concede that while the task remains difficult, we have firmly established ourselves — Established ourselves as the alternative — the alternative to the present complacent administration in Alberta. We have the potential — we have the opportunity — we must realize our potential — grasp our opportunity. We have begun to prove our promise. But we have only begun.

Peter Lougheed

Peter Lougheed addresses PCAA supporters, 1967. Photo Credit: Lougheed Family archives

I would first like to make a few brief comments upon our organizational progress. There is really no need to emphasize to you in this room that the best of ideas — the best of people — will flounder and dissipate without effective organization — Organization to cause the communication of our views — of our candidates — to the public of this province.

We now have an effective central political organization — It has gaps — but on balance and in comparison it is well established. The two offices need your continued tangible support. But they are working — creating a close liaison between provincial and federal constituencies — between M.P.’s and MLA’s — we have, as you know, working committees at the central nerve centre — in finance – in policy research – in communications – in organization — forming the second line behind your provincial executive and your caucus. We now have reasonable communication with the Party-at-large through the Alberta Conservative Newsletter, which is being received by a mailing list in excess of 8 thousand interested Albertans.

The Alberta Conservative

We conducted an election campaign last spring which, though limited by finances, was positive, responsible – and featured the finest slate of provincial candidates this province has ever seen. I was proud to be associated with each and every one of them. They did a great job — and the slate will be even stronger next time.

Our weakness was obvious — We were too late getting many of our candidates into the field — and we failed to field candidates in all constituencies. (I had many voters tell me since the election how disappointed they were that we did not run a Conservative candidate in their area.) (Our Platform was the only one which bore the independent views of most of our candidates. It was not issued as a directive from Party Headquarters).

We have, therefore, created an initial public awareness of our Party. There are many in this room in attendance for the first time — There are many more watching these proceedings – observing progress with considerable interest. They want to join — they want to be part – but they are watching — looking for something first. What is it? They want to be assured that this is truly a “people’s party”. They want to feel they are welcome — That their views will be listened to — that there is a place for people of all ages — A place for people from every part of Alberta — from every walk of life — A place for people with a common philosophy. But prepared to accept different views as to how to apply such a philosophy — A party where there is leadership – executive responsibility – organizational procedure — But a party which is democratic — and welcomes new members – new ideas – has open meetings – open nominations – an absence of mystery or intrigue. That’s the kind of party my colleagues and I want — It’s the kind of a party the people of Alberta want us to be — I hope — better than that — I’m confident — it’s the kind of party you want.

The next stage in our move forward is to accept and to concentrate our energies on curing our major defect as a provincial party. Our weakness, frankly, is provincial constituency organization. There are many good ones — But not nearly enough. Our target — eighteen months from now – actually a short time – viable and effective provincial constituency organization — already by then searching for — lining up — top flight nominees for Progressive Conservative nominations — Preparing to elect future Conservative MLA’s. That’s our target — My responsibility – but also yours – Let’s meet the target. Tomorrow mornings session is critical — One of the most important at this Annual Meeting. It’s on Constituency Organization. It’s your opportunity to express your ideas on organization — we look forward to hearing them.

But over and above the responsibility for the Party as such, we have the public responsibility of the Official Opposition in the Alberta Legislature. We must not forget – that with candidates in only 2/3 of the ridings — we secured 27% of the vote — and the present party has the support of only 44% — Less than a majority of the people of Alberta. Yet they have 55 members compared to our six. This is our public responsibility — it requires that the Party interest be constantly weighed in relation to the public interest.

Our duty as the Official Opposition is to first inquire – to thoroughly scrutinize – to bring into public focus – what’s really going on in Alberta — What’s happened in those public buildings over there — what it all means in terms of each individual Albertan – perhaps, for the first time in 32 years. Then to oppose, when we feel that a program or an estimate is not in the larger public interest — Not to oppose merely for the sake of opposing — and to approve when we think that a measure or an estimate is sound. Then, in time, for ourselves to propose how we believe we can be doing better in Alberta — and at the same time, as MLA’s to always remember that we represent a particular constituency – a specific part of the province.

This is our task — a challenging one — we know we have a lot to learn — that we are opposing an entrenched bureaucracy of 32 years — But we have a fine team — I’d like you to meet your Conservative Team.

(Introduction of the 5 Conservative MLA’s)

The Original Six

The Original Six: Len Werry, Lou Hyndman, Hugh Horner, Peter Lougheed, David Russell, and Don Getty. Photo Credit: Edmonton Journal

This is the nucleus of a new approach – A new team.

Alberta – at this time and at this stage of its history – is at the crossroads — A most important time for the people and for the Legislature. We face a financial situation which can fairly be termed a crisis. We are in debt in Alberta — Our unencumbered reserves have been wiped out in a very short period of time — yet our existing public spending programs exceed our anticipated revenue sources — aside, altogether, from expected new demands for the tax dollar — A financial crisis that must be resolved — and resolved in a provincial economy that now rates only fourth in Canada.

So we are at the Crossroads.

We have three choices. We can continue the complacent drift of the past 5 to 8 years — coasting on our petroleum industry. Or, we can move to an even more big government – big business orientated province – a highly controlled and centralized province – managed by an alleged “all wise” Board of Directors — The sort of managed environment implied by a recent White Paper. Or, we can move to a de-centralized individualistic – admittedly, not always efficient – open society, where the emphasis is on growth — individual opportunity — and quality of life. We choose the latter – but it will be a hard battle to assure such a direction for Alberta. WHY? Because the present administration will either continue to drift as they are, or follow their computer toward deciding what’s good for us every day of the week and perhaps even twice on certain days!

Make no mistake about it – The financial position of Alberta has altered dramatically and adversely in the last two years — It might not be admitted – But what are some of the facts? We had a deficit of 82 million dollars last year – we have an estimated deficit of 80 million dollars this year — Almost 160 million dollars in two years. Our debt – the direct and guaranteed liabilities of the province – substantially exceed our liquid reserves — On a per capita basis, the province’s liabilities have doubled in six years. At the same time, our rate of provincial government expenditure has also doubled — doubled in six years!

We spend double per capita compared to Ontario – far larger than any other province. We have done this, yet we face – as a province at the provincial and municipal level combined — a future education bill which could almost triple in the next 8 years – to one billion dollars per year on educational costs alone by 1975. We also face an immediate and completely unknown bill to pay for the Alberta Health Plan — All at a time when many of our municipalities are in a difficult financial position and when property tax levels have reached new highs. This has happened in a province which has been fortunate enough to receive into its provincial government coffers in excess of 2 billion dollars from the petroleum industry — something other provinces would dearly love to have – something other provinces with the same demands for services have not had. And yet Alberta remains as only the fourth province on a per capita income basis — There is certainly a myth of performance in Alberta – a myth that must be exposed.

It seems that we have three routes to go in Alberta. Three alternative roads to travel in the future.

We can continue our complacent drift – relying on our capital revenues from the petroleum industry to provide for our day to day public service needs. In short, we can sell the house and use the proceeds to buy groceries. We can continue to create a false sense of security that everything is great in good old Alberta – that anybody who says it isn’t so is playing politics. We can continue to drift without targets – without priorities – without a long term plan – and giving rosy reports to the so-called shareholders from time to time — reacting to only the most strident voices of the moment.

OR, we can go down a new and different route. Its signs are the signs of the computer. It looks modern on the surface – up to date – even exciting. It uses fancy terms like Human Resources. It’s intriguing – but what does it mean? What is the destination? Upon careful study, it seems to us that the destination is clear — It means Big Government – a big business orientated province – limited chance to control our own individual economic destinies. The be all and end all down this route is administrative efficiency. And democracy? Well, only if it is efficient. The key to the route is that somebody else knows better than you what’s good for you. It creates a super bureaucracy conducted by big brother. In short, it’s Paternalism at its worst. I’m not interested in the colour of the paper — I’m interested in how the program affects the citizen of Alberta – Does it help him? Serve him? Or merely cost him more? We do agree that every effort must be made to give full opportunity for the people of this province to develop their capacities. But people are not a resource – something to be used. We in public life are the servants of the people – elected to serve you – your representatives — We are not always right — We certainly are not infallible.

OR, finally, we can return to a tried and tested route – one that we know – one that works — one that has new turns – new conditions – arising out of todays circumstances. Hence, it requires contemporary ideas – a modern point of view. It’s a route where complacency is dangerous – energy essential – a fresh new approach always required — It is an open society. It is the route where the emphasis is on opportunity – on enterprise – on accelerated growth – on research – on investment in tomorrow – Where efficiency is important, but democracy more important – where government believes that, if given the facts, the people will support logic – that there is no need to mislead – that there are matters more important than government – that the quality of life must be balanced with affluence.

So we are at the crossroads. We have three distinct routes to go. We would like to see the people of Alberta go down this latter route toward an open society. It’s the Conservative way — We think it’s the right way — It’s where the individual is paramount. But it’s not an easy road. It has a road map that is sometimes hard to read – At times hard to explain. It’s not always easy to know when you are still on the road.

For this reason, it is essential that a Party who wants to proceed down such a road has Guideposts to point the way.

At the last Annual Meeting of the Party, we put before you Twelve Guideposts for the Alberta Conservative Party. It should be emphasized that we are the only Party in Alberta to have done this to date. We are, in short, the only Party with a declared set of meaningful principles and values established for our position in provincial politics. We used these Guideposts in the last election. We used them to test the consistency of our Platform to assure if reflected the Conservative principles. We used them to explain to our candidates what we stand for.

What Do We Stand For?

This afternoon you will be asked to confirm them – or amend them. For we must always know what we stand for – what our purpose is. It is not merely victory at the polls.

With such a set of Guideposts, the Conservative position can be evaluated on the major issues facing Alberta today — On priorities in public spending — on the distinction between an essential service and a desirable one — on the expansion of our economic pie, rather than the mere redistribution of it — on our reliance on the voluntary efforts of our citizens, compared with those of our bureaucracy — on the individual’s right to exercise his judgement without being regimented in the guise of public benefit — on whether or not we are prepared to accept the concept in our society that rights are the rewards of responsibility.

And perhaps in confirming these guideposts, we will see that the issues facing Alberta are complex and difficult — That the honeymoon is over in Alberta — that there are no easy answers. But nevertheless, that the issues must be faced — The public must be informed. The public good sense and judgement must be relied upon.

And with such guideposts, Alberta can have a fresh new approach to its public affairs. An approach which challenges the public-at-large – moves our society forward toward common objectives.

Objectives of:-

  • The highest quality educational system.
  • The elimination of shortages in Health and other public services.
  • The reduction in the numbers of dependents on Welfare.
  • The improvement in our income levels to that comparable with any other province.
  • Accomplished with the framework of a provincial and municipal financial structure of stability.

Such objectives to be realized within a Canadian Confederation – whose unity develops with the active participation and with the political leadership of the people of this great province of Alberta.


A holiday weekend’s for shaking hands
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

THE CALGARY HERALD, August 3, 1971

Peter Lougheed took a rest from fighting issues and wooing voters Saturday, but he didn’t get much of a holiday.

While most citizens relaxed in vacation lands during the holiday weekend, the provincial Conservative leader hop-scotched across Calgary in an open convertible for personal glimpses of the party’s campaign headquarters in 11 city ridings.

Despite the holiday and hot, muggy weather, scores of local party workers clustered at each point to shake hands with their beaming leader and report on campaign efforts within the riding.


The visits were brief, as the three-man Lougheed party was careful not to fall too far behind the tight schedule and keep workers elsewhere waiting.

A five-minute talk on the overall campaign to date (“It’s been absolutely buoyant”), some anecdotes, a glance at the coloured-in street maps of the riding, a quick huddle with the candidate and Mr. Lougheed was off for the next headquarters.

“You can’t be a remote leader,” he said later. “The thing I’m looking for at each place is the sparkle — I’ve been through enough campaigns to know when it’s there.”

Along the route Lougheed’s message to the party faithful seldom varied — keep up the fight and don’t forget you’re working for a “tremendous candidate.”


Campaign organizers were told to schedule events for the outdoors in settings which would involve the whole family.

At Roy Farran’s Calgary-North Hill base Mr. Lougheed drank two glasses of ginger ale and chatted with ladies, admired a small poodle wearing a coat with Lougheed markings at Fred Peacock’s Calgary-Currie centre and jumped on a table to speak in Bill Dickie’s trailer in Calgary-Glenmore.

One minor snag was that at times he had problems putting names to the familiar faces encountered throughout the city, something to avoid in a trip designed to send morale sky high.


“I’ve been lucky,” the Conservative leader said at one point between stops “The people at the last two ridings wore name tags, and I’ve got excellent vision.”

The crowning moment of the Lougheed tour came at the last riding, Calgary McCall, while he and candidate Alderman John Kushner stood with a group of youths listening to an outdoor rock band outside the Kushner trailer.

There he was presented with a striped necktie bearing the familiar blue and gold colors of the Conservative party.

“Now isn’t that something,” he said, and immediately put it on.

The Evolution of the PC Association of Alberta
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Categories: PCAA,Politics

Political organizations evolve with the people who join them.

John Locke rightly said: Political & religious organizations are FREE associations. You can join freely and you can leave freely. If you want to change an organization, you do it from the inside. If you don’t want change, you can choose to stay, leave, join another or start your own association. Political institutions are highly fluid and dynamic. They take on the personality of those who wish to participate. So, either you change or the organization changes without you. Either way, associations don’t leave people, people leave associations.

More importantly, don’t confuse Government with Party. The party system elects leaders and nominates candidates. It also assists in electing candidates to office. After election day, the Party immediately begins to ready itself for the next election. The Party that elects the greatest majority or strongest minority forms the Government, but it does not set policy. If the Leader and Caucus stray too much from the principles of the Party membership they do so at their own peril. The next nomination meeting or leadership review allows the membership to evaluate their performance. Thus, democracy is served.

Between elections, the volunteer board and salaried staff work tirelessly to fulfill the mission and goals that the membership sets forth for the Association at the constituency, as well as, the provincial level. Input is sought and given at Annual General Meetings, policy conferences, board meetings, etc. There are numerous opportunities for the membership to be heard. This is how most mature political organizations grow and remain relevant. The PCAA is one of them.

So, if the PCAA has changed, the question you have to ask yourself: Did you change or did you stand still? I have been a proud PCAA member for almost 30 years, five leaders, hundreds of candidates, countless volunteers and thousands of hours of volunteering. The PCAA is a hybrid of Lougheed, Getty, Klein, Stelmach and Redford. It is an organic life form composed of the multitude of volunteers that have attended AGMs, policy conferences, nomination meetings, leadership debates & conventions, fundraising events & board meetings. In other words, it is about Alberta and Albertans. Thus, for over a century, the Provincial (Progressive) Conservative Association of Alberta has been an evolving political creature that has taken many forms. It will continue to adapt. Of this, I am certain.

God willing & good health, I will live to see five more exemplary and dedicated Leaders of this Party and be part of the decision making process of this province. I hope you come along for the ride, the evolution is here.

This post was written as a response to a video posting on YouTube suggesting that somehow the PCAA has deviated from it’s intended mission as a static political entity and has left behind it’s members. This is my opinion and not that of my Association.