Excerpt from Progressive Conservatism in Alberta: The Rebuilding of a Political Party

Momentum increased as the nominating began. Following the ’67 election, the lament of so many second-place PC candidates had been: “If only I’d had more time!” Publication on December 1st, 1969, of the 75 proposed, redistributed provincial election boundaries (creating ten new constituencies), triggered a spate of nominations. Determined not to be caught napping by any snap election call, constituency organizations hastened to regroup and launch their nominees.

In most cases, the problem was no longer to find a suitable candidate but to choose one from among a number of outstanding contenders. The concept of an “open party” was dramatically demonstrated on a number of occasions when large gatherings of people saw Provincial Party officials of long standing lose contested nominations. Here was proof that this, indeed, was a truly representative party with no automatic rewards for faithful service.

A crowd of over a thousand packed the Camrose Lutheran College auditorium to see four fine candidates fight for the right to represent them. Such turnouts for nomination meetings were previously unheard of — another indicator of the excitement generated by this party on the march.

By the February opening of the 1971 Legislature, almost 60 Progressive Conservative candidates were off and running, with more waiting to join them. The target: a full slate at election time.

A winning candidate’s campaign begins from the moment of his nomination. With the losing contender’s full support there is no relaxing of effort until election day. All the experience and expertise of his Conservative colleagues are at his disposal. He will have attended a series of five policy conferences in Red Deer, Camrose and Lethbridge, at which his views and the particular concerns of his constituents have been put forward. Regular regional candidate meetings will have provided opportunity for valuable exchanges of information with the Leader and others. Climaxing this intensive preparation is a series of Candidate Conferences to finalize the platform and plan a winning strategy.

Continued in Part VI