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Wednesday, 04 June 2014 13:49

Moving Alberta Forward advancing political strategy or taking a step back?

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On May 29, the Wildrose Party made a major announcement that they are going to be making a bunch of major announcements.

In a series of their latest and newly-developed policy initiatives, the Wildrose Party’s announcement of Moving Alberta Forward: Solution for the Alberta of Tomorrow presents slightly different tactics in Alberta politics.
At worst, the strategy sounds like overkill or the party being self-indulgent.
In a May 29 release, Wildrose officials state, “Wildrose has always followed a grassroots policy process in which ministry critics have developed policies based on close consultation with everyday Albertans and affected stakeholders. The first policy announcement will be next week followed by regular announcements concluding in the fall.”
One policy after another, undoubtedly talking about different facets of government  including old favourites such as finance, education, health care and of course children and seniors will be rolled out — much like any party does.
To some, this seems like making a bold statement such as “we plan on disagreeing with some governmental policies” or “if we don’t like something, we’ll say so.” Yippee.
However the Wildrose decides to unroll plans a little at a time. They’re basically telling the voter ahead of time they don’t plan on leaving the limelight.
Critics may accuse them of creating media clutter or manufacturing news. Well, that’s not really the case. In fact, it’s entirely plausible this spread-out-over-time approach may catch on.
With fixed election dates, it’s much easier to plan and dictate when policy announcements are made.
No matter what party we’re talking about, politics is changing. No longer are the politicians the pure political geniuses who did everything on their own, shot from the hip, and said what was on their minds.
It’s now more controlled with policy analysts, strategists, image consultants pollsters and focus groups behind the scenes steering party policy.
That’s why this Wildrose strategy is so interesting and ultimately will prove effective. After years of the Conservatives dictating — good or bad — policies on a need-to basis, what the Wildrose is doing is eliminating the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” stigma which happens to Alberta Opposition parties.In Alberta, when a non-Progressive Conservative Party makes an announcement regarding party platform, there’s limelight for one day and then you don’t hear from them again.
A leadership race always attracts attention — whether Ric McIver or Thomas Lukaszuk are just token also-rans remains to be seen — the Wildrose may lose some limelight with the fence-sitting, undecided voter unless they do something specific to grab it back. The constant reminder of what the Wildrose is going to do in scheduled small doses is definitely different, especially telling everyone as such.
In baseball analogy, the Wildrose is playing small ball, spreading their hits over a period of time to manufacture sure-bet runs instead of swinging for the fence which either produces a homerun or an ugly whiff. With the Conservatives in uncertain times, the Wildrose can’t afford to strike out this time.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor