Wildrose Party

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For the unregistered 2007 party, see Wildrose Party of Alberta.
Wildrose Alliance Political Association
Leader Danielle Smith
President David Yager
Founded October 25, 2002[1]
Renamed Wildrose Alliance January 31, 2008[2]
Headquarters 601 10 Avenue SW
Calgary, AlbertaCoordinates: 51°02′36″N 114°04′28″W / 51.0434°N 114.0744°W / 51.0434; -114.0744
Suite 202
10707 100 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Ideology Conservatism (Canadian)
Political position Centre-right
Colours Blue and Green
Seats in Legislature
17 / 87
Website
wildrose.ca
Politics of Alberta
Political parties
Elections

The Wildrose Party (registered as Wildrose Alliance Party, and legally Wildrose Alliance Political Association[3]) is a conservative[4] provincial political party in Alberta, Canada.[5] The party was formed out of the Alberta Alliance Party in early 2008 following its merger with the unregistered Wildrose Party of Alberta. The wild rose is Alberta's provincial flower.

It contested the 2008 provincial election under the Wildrose Alliance banner, and was able to capture seven percent of the popular vote but failed to hold its single seat in the Legislative Assembly. Support for the party rose sharply in 2009 as voters grew increasingly frustrated with the Progressive Conservative (PC) government and a cooling economy, resulting in a surprise win by outgoing leader Paul Hinman in an October by-election. The party's popularity continued to rise when in the fall of 2009 Danielle Smith won election as leader. By December 2009, the Wildrose Alliance was leading provincial opinion polls with 39 percent support, 14 points ahead of both the governing PCs and the opposition Liberals. Wildrose's caucus grew to four members in 2010, after two former PC members of the Legislative Assembly defected in January and an independent MLA joined the party in June of that year.

In the 2012 election, while the party failed to have the breakthrough predicted by most media pundits (many predicted it would become the government), it did increase its vote and seat totals and become the official opposition.

History[edit]

The original Wildrose Alliance logo 2008-2010

Founding and 2008 general election[edit]

The Alberta Alliance Party voted to change its registered name on January 19, 2008 to the Wildrose Alliance after it merged with the unregistered Wildrose Party of Alberta.[6] The name officially changed to Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta after being approved by Elections Alberta on January 31, 2008.[2]

The two parties had similar policies and the Wildrose had key personnel previously involved with the Alberta Alliance. They hoped that a union would allow the new party to present a stronger front for an anticipated election in the spring of 2008.[7] Paul Hinman, the party's only sitting Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) remained leader after the merger.[6] During the 27th Alberta general election, the Wildrose Alliance attempted to position itself as a conservative alternative to the governing PC party, and released a platform that promised fixed election dates, increasing personal tax exemptions, elimination of health care premiums, the creation of an Alberta Pension Plan, and a reworking of the controversial changes the PC government made to the oil and gas royalty regime.[8]

An anticipated backlash against the governing PCs failed to materialize, as Premier Ed Stelmach extended his party's seat total to 72 from 60.[9] While the Alliance finished second in eight ridings across the province, they failed to win any seats as Hinman lost his Cardston-Taber-Warner riding by just 39 votes.[10] Running candidates in 61 of the province's 83 ridings, the Alliance took 6.78% of the vote, fourth behind the PCs, Liberals and New Democrats.[11]

2009 leadership election[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Wildrose Alliance Party leadership election, 2009.

Hinman announced on April 20, 2009 his intention to step down as leader. He remained the party's leader in an interim capacity until the leadership convention.[12] Former Canadian Federation of Independent Business provincial director Danielle Smith and Mark Dyrholm, a chiropractor in Calgary, announced their candidacy at the June convention.[13] The party viewed the leadership campaign with optimism, announcing that its membership was growing rapidly as Albertans grew increasingly frustrated with the Stelmach government's performance.[14]

Growing opposition to the government's oil and gas royalty program, a record $4.7 billion deficit in 2009,[15] and the PC's "liberal spending" facilitated the growth of the party.[16] The party began to attract former Reform Party of Canada supporters along with high profile former members of the provincial Progressive Conservatives, including former premier Ralph Klein's father.[17][18] Using the slogan "Send Ed a message" as a rallying cry,[19] Paul Hinman sought to take advantage of public discontent as he ran in a September by-election in the Calgary-Glenmore riding.[20] He surprised political observers by capturing 37 percent of the vote, narrowly defeating Liberal opponent Avalon Roberts to win the election and gain the Wildrose Alliance its first seat in the legislature. The Tories, who had held the riding uninterrupted since 1969, fell to third place.[21] Political observers argued the result was more a protest against the Stelmach government than firm support for the Alliance, though it gave the party momentum as it prepared to vote for a leader.[22]

Every 30 or 40 years, we get tired of the government that’s in power and we sweep them out and we look to a new alternative. I think we have an opportunity to catch one of those historic waves.

Danielle Smith upon being named Wildrose Alliance leader[23]

Smith and Dyrholm both attempted to capitalize on the party's election win, proclaiming that Albertans wanted change and that each of them would lead the Wildrose Alliance to a victory in the next general election.[24] The party experienced a considerable growth heading into the leadership election, announcing it had 11,670 members at the beginning of October, compared to 1,800 in June.[25] Smith was elected the new leader at the convention held in Edmonton on October 17.[26]

Danielle Smith leadership[edit]

Danielle Smith, Current Leader
Wildrose Alliance logo 2010-2011

Upon her election, Smith sought to continue the party's growth, focusing her efforts on fundraising and a search for strong candidates.[23] The Wildrose Alliance's growth was evident in the polls. Shortly before Smith's election, a Return on Insight poll found that the Alliance had the support of 22 percent of respondents.[27] By early November, the party had improved to 28 percent according to an Environics poll, firmly in second place and six points behind the Conservatives.[28] By December, they topped the Tories, leading with 39 percent support according to an Angus Reid poll, while the Conservatives had fallen into a second place tie with the Liberals at 25 percent.[29] The party revealed at the same time that it had grown to over 13,000 members.[30]

Amidst this wave of popularity, Smith announced on January 4, 2010 that two former Conservative MLAs had crossed the floor. Rob Anderson and former cabinet minister Heather Forsyth announced that they had joined the Wildrose Alliance after growing frustrated with Ed Stelmach's leadership, accusing the Conservative government of being undemocratic.[31] The defections moved the Wildrose Party past the New Democrats to become the third largest party in the Legislature,[32] Guy Boutilier joined the Wildrose Alliance on June 24, 2010. The fourth Wildrose MLA, Boutilier took the party over the threshold for recognition as an official party in the Assembly.[33] He was unveiled at the party's annual conference, which was attended by 700 people: up from 175 the previous year.[34]

In late July 2010, a controversy developed between Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel and Smith over the future of the city-centre airport. Smith argued that a vote on closure of the airport should be added to the October civic elections ballot. Alberta Liberal and NDP politicians also opposed the closure.[35]

For much of the run-up to the 2012 provincial election, it looked like the Wildrose would defeat the Tories in a landslide. Polling immediately before the election suggested that the gap had narrowed somewhat, but that the Wildrose was still poised to end the PCs' 41-year tenure in government. In the general election, however, the Wildrose took 17 seats out of 87, well behind the Tories. This was mainly because its support was confined to rural areas. The Wildrose only won two seats in Calgary (while losing the two seats it held there at dissolution) and were completely shut out of Edmonton. Nonetheless, it tallied 34.3 percent of the popular vote, a healthy increase from 2008. This was, however, enough to make the Wildrose the Official Opposition.

Policy and identity[edit]

Danielle Smith and the Wildrose Official Opposition Caucus, 2012

Election reform is a focus of the Wildrose Alliance. The party proposes to set fixed election dates rather than the current format which allows the Premier to call an election at any time. It would allow more free votes in the legislature and would seek to elect the province's Senators rather than have them appointed by the Prime Minister.[36] The party also plans to introduce a bill giving voters the right to recall their MLA.[37] The Wildrose Party proposes numerous changes to how the province delivers health care, which it claims will remain compliant with the Canada Health Act, as well as controls on government spending.[38] Smith is also critical of international climate change treaties, believing climate change science remains inconclusive.[39]

Danielle Smith identifies herself as a fiscal conservative. While she considers herself a libertarian on social issues,[40] the party is home to many social conservatives.[41] Smith stated that controversial social issues would not play a part in the party's election platform.[38]

Polling indicated that the party retained the support of a quarter of the electorate throughout 2010[42] as the party further attempted to define itself as not just a protest party but a party capable of forming government. By July 2011, the Wildrose's support had fallen to 16 percent, while PC support had risen to 51 percent.[43]

However, by March 2012, the Wildrose was polling the support of four-in-ten Albertans, showing significant improvement and a credible challenger to the PCs.[44]

Current caucus[edit]

Election results[edit]

Year by year summary

Election Banner Candidates Seats Votes % Standing Leader
[45] 2004 Alberta Alliance 83/83 1 77,506 8.7% 4th Randy Thorstienson
2008 Wildrose Alliance 61/83 0 64,407 6.78% 4th Paul Hinman
2012 Wildrose 87/87 17 442,429 34.29% 2nd Danielle Smith

2008 general election[edit]

e • d Summary of the March 3, 2008 Legislative Assembly of Alberta election results
Party Party leader Number of
candidates
Seats Popular vote
2004 Dissol. 2008 % Change # % Change (pp)
Progressive Conservative Ed Stelmach 83 621 60 72 +20% 501,063 52.72 +5.92%
Liberal Kevin Taft 82 161 16 9 -43.8% 251,158 26.43 -2.96%
New Democratic Brian Mason 83 4 4 2 -50% 80,578 8.48 -1.72%
Wildrose Alliance Paul Hinman 61 1 1 - -100% 64,407 6.78 -1.92%2
Greens George Read 79 - - - - 43,222 4.55 +1.80%
  Independent 7 - 1 - -100% 7,635 0.80 +0.69%
Social Credit Len Skowronski 8 - - - - 2,043 0.21 -1.02%
Separation Bruce Hutton 1 - - - - 119 0.01 -0.52%
Communist Naomi Rankin 2 - - - - 96 0.01 xx
Alberta Party Bruce Stubbs 1 - - - - 42 0.00 -0.28%
  Vacant 1  
Total 407 83 83 83 - 950,363 100.00  

Notes:

  • 1 Liberal Chris Kibermanis originally had a five-vote margin over Progressive Conservative Thomas Lukaszuk. A judicial recount on January 24, 2005, determined Thomas Lukaszuk the winner.
  • 2 Results change is compared to the Alberta Alliance in 2004.

2009 Calgary-Glenmore by-election[edit]

September 14, 2009 by-election results Turnout 40.53% Swing
Affiliation Candidate Votes % Party Personal
     Wildrose Alliance Paul Hinman 4,052 36.74% 28.67% *
     Liberal Avalon Roberts 3,776 34.24% 1.07%
     Progressive Conservative Diane Colley-Urquhart 2,863 25.96% -24.71% *
     NDP Eric Carpendale 148 1.34% -2.42% *
     Social Credit Len Skowronski 118 1.07% *
     Independent Antoni Grochowski 71 0.64% *
Total 11,028 100%
Rejected, Spoiled and Declined ?
27,212 Eligible Electors

2012 general election[edit]

e • d Summary of the April 23, 2012 Legislative Assembly of Alberta election results
Party Party leader Number of
candidates[46]
Seats Popular vote
2008 Dissol. 2012 % Change #1 % Change (pp)
Progressive Conservative Alison Redford 87 72 66 61 –7.85 567,060 43.95 –8.77
Wildrose Danielle Smith 87 4 17 +325 442,429 34.29 +27.51
Liberal Raj Sherman 87 9 8 5 –37.5 127,645 9.89 –16.54
New Democratic Brian Mason 87 2 2 4 +100 126,752 9.82 +1.34
Alberta Party Glenn Taylor 38 1 –100 17,172 1.33 +1.32
Evergreen Larry Ashmore 25 2 5,082 0.394 –4.162
  Independent 12 1 –100 3,511 0.272 –0.53
Social Credit Len Skowronski 3 294 0.0228 –0.19
Communist Naomi Rankin 2 210 0.0163 +0.01
Separation Bart Hampton3 13 68 0.00527 0.00
  Vacant 1
Total 429 83 83 87 +4.82 1,290,223 100.00%

Notes:

  1. Results at the count.[47]
  2. Results change is compared to the Alberta Greens in 2008.
  3. Elections Alberta lists Bart Hampton as leader of the Separation Party of Alberta, however the party's only candidate is party president Glen Dundas.[48]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer". Elections Alberta. p. 8. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "2008 Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer". Elections Alberta. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Constitution of the Wildrose Alliance Party". Wildrose Alliance Party. 2011. 
  4. ^ Kleiss, Karen (April 8, 2012). "Alberta election pits PC's 'red' versus Wildrose's 'blue' conservatives, experts say". The Vancouver Sun. 
  5. ^ "Wildrose drops 'Alliance' from name". CBC News. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Wildrose Alliance Party born in Alberta". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  7. ^ "Alta. parties could merge for anticipated election". CTV News. 2008-01-02. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  8. ^ "Wildrose Alliance unveils Alberta election platform; targets premier Ed Stelmach". Canadian Press. 2008-02-09. Retrieved 2010-01-03. [dead link]
  9. ^ "'Ed, Ed, Ed,' chant triumphant Tories". Calgary Herald. 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  10. ^ "Wildrose Alliance shut out". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  11. ^ "Participants and results of the 2008 election" (PDF). Elections Alberta. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  12. ^ "Paul Hinman will step down as Wildrose-Alliance party leader after losing seat". Canadian Press. 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  13. ^ Dormer, Dave (2009-06-07). "Alberta Wildrose party to name leader". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  14. ^ Cotter, John (2009-05-06). "Former Canadian independent business leader considers Alberta party leadership bid". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  15. ^ Steward, Gillian (2009-05-12). "Wildrose watches its garden grow". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  16. ^ Libin, Kevin (2009-07-09). "Wildrose Alliance sets sights on Alberta conservatives". National Post. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  17. ^ McIntyre, Doug (2009-09-10). "Ralph's dad 'changing stripes'". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  18. ^ Diotte, Kerry (2009-08-12). "Many former Reformers backing Wildrose Alliance: leadership hopeful". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  19. ^ Kohler, Nicholas (2009-09-10). "Sending Ed a message". Macleans Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  20. ^ Bell, Rick (2009-09-13). "Ed no help to Tory candidate". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  21. ^ "Wildrose Alliance wins Calgary-Glenmore by-election". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  22. ^ Audette, Trish (2009-10-09). "Wildrose success attributed to governing Tories". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  23. ^ a b White, Tarina (2009-10-19). "Wave of change could topple Tories". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  24. ^ "Wildrose Alliance leadership candidates face upbeat crowd". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  25. ^ Audette, Trish (2009-10-08). "Wildrose suppor blooms". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  26. ^ "Smith elected Wildrose Party leader". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-10-17. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  27. ^ D'Aliesio, Renata (2009-10-14). "Stelmach poised for speech amid sagging polls". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  28. ^ Fekete, Jason (2009-11-05). "Alberta Tories slide, Wildrose gains in new poll". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  29. ^ Liebrecht, Richard (2009-12-13). "Wildrose growing strong: party rep". Calgary Sun. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  30. ^ "Albertans eyeing Wildrose Alliance". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  31. ^ "2 Alberta MLAs join upstart Wildrose party". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2010-01-04. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  32. ^ Fekete, Jason (2010-01-04). "Alberta Conservative dynasty erodes as Tory MLAs defect to upstart Wildrose Alliance". National Post. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 
  33. ^ "Wildrose Alliance gains official party status". CTV Television Network. 25 June 2010. 
  34. ^ McLean, Archie (25 June 2010). "Wildrose Alliance kicks off coming-out party". Edmonton Journal. 
  35. ^ "Wildrose Alliance, mayor square off over airport". 30 June 2010. 
  36. ^ "Wildrose Alliance policy platform". Wildrose Alliance Party of Alberta. Archived from the original on December 29, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  37. ^ McLean, Archie (2010-01-06). "Stelmach leadership vote 'little third world'". Global Television. Retrieved 2010-01-09. 
  38. ^ a b Fekete, Jason (2009-11-10). "Wildrose unveils its vision". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-06. [dead link]
  39. ^ D'Aliesio, Renata (2009-12-22). "Wildrose becomes unlikely contender". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  40. ^ "Wildrose party leader to run for Calgary seat". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  41. ^ Steele, Andrew (2009-10-19). "Safe change". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  42. ^ "Wildrose continues to make Alberta inroads poll". National Post, from the Calgary Herald. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  43. ^ "Alberta PCs on track for another massive majority, poll shows". Calgary Herald. 29 July 2011. Retrieved 1 Sep 2011. 
  44. ^ "Wildrose Party would form majority Alberta government: Poll". CANOE. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2012. 
  45. ^ "2004 General election report". Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 19, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Nominated Candidates". Elections Alberta. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  47. ^ "Unofficial Results". Elections Alberta. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Parties". Elections Alberta. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]