Alberta First Party
|Active provincial party|
|Founded||July 13, 1999|
|Colours||Yellow & Black|
The Alberta First Party is a minor right-wing political party that has operated in Alberta, Canada since 1999. It used the Alberta First name from 1999 to 2004 and the Separation Party of Alberta name from 2004 to 2013, after which it reverted to the Alberta First name.
The Alberta First Party emerged from a conflict regarding religious freedom (Mormonism in this case) within the Alberta Social Credit Party. Randy Thorsteinson resigned as leader of the Social Credit Party and helped found a new conservative provincial party. With about 120 supporters, including federal Member of Parliament Rob Anders, they held an initial meeting in June 1999 where they selected the name Alberta First Party and adopted fiscally conservative policies similar to the governing Progressive Conservatives but with more socially conservative policies, as well as a position to support the creation of a provincial senate as a means of balancing the power held by the existing provincial legislature. The party was incorporated under the society act under the legal name The Society for the Advancement of the Alberta First Party on July 13, 1999. It gained registration with Elections Alberta on November 2, 1999. With more than 500 members now, the party held a convention in Edmonton on January 22, 2000, where they elected their first permanent party leader, John Reil who defeated Neil Wiltzen from Calgary. At the convention, the party adopted policies promoting free votes in the legislature, regular provincial referendums on contentious social issues, and privatizing Alberta health care.
In their first attempt gain a seat in the provincial legislature, the party nominated candidates in two by-elections in 2000. In Edmonton-Highlands, party leader John Reil placed fourth with 3.30% of the vote while, several months later, their candidate in Red Deer-North placed third with 8.15%.
In the 2001 provincial election, Alberta First nominated 16 candidates, who won a total of 8,851 votes, or 0.87% of the provincial total. No candidates were elected. The party's best result came in Cardston-Taber-Warner, where leader John Riel picked up 2,500 votes, to the 5,000 by then incumbent Broyce Jacobs.
The party contested its last election under the Alberta First name in the electoral district of Wainwright on April 8, 2002, when Jerry Barber won 1,659 votes, 25.9% of the total, for a strong second-place finish in the by-election.
His departure left the leadership of the party vacant. It was temporarily de-registered by Elections Alberta after the party failed to file its 2003 financial statements by the March 31, 2004 deadline. It filed past the deadline and the registration was reactivated by Elections Alberta. Shortly after the party was granted a name change to the Separation Party of Alberta on May 1, 2004.
The renamed party ran 12 candidates in the 2004 general election under the leadership of Bruce Hutton and had mild electoral success in some rural constituencies. The party fielded 12 candidates in the provincial election, held on November 22, 2004. These candidates won a total of 4,680 votes, or 0.5% of the popular vote in the province. Here are the candidates, their ridings, votes and percentages:
- Calgary-Fort, Leo Ollenberger, 212 (2.7%)
- Calgary-Shaw, Daniel Doher, 171 (1.6%)
- Airdrie-Chestermere, Bob Lefurgey, 394 (3.3%)
- Drumheller-Stettler, David Carnegie, 465 (4.5%)
- Highwood, Cory Morgan, 299 (2.8%)
- Little Bow, Grant Shaw, 432 (4.8%)
- Livingstone-Macleod, Jim Walker, 339 (3.4%)
- Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, Brian Vasseur, 746 (6.1%)
- Red Deer-South, Judy Milne, 261 (2.2%)
- Rocky Mountain House, Bruce Hutton, 505 (4.9%)
- Strathcona County, Roberta McDonald, 297 (2.1%)
- Strathmore-Brooks, Jay Kolody, 559 (6.1%)
After the election the party stagnated and only filed one candidate which was Hutton in 2008, who received only 119 votes, or 0.01% of the popular vote in the province. This was fewer votes than any of the Separation Party candidates in the 2004 general election.
Sometime in 2012 the party changed leaders when Bart Hampton took over the party prior to the 2012 general election. The party's president, Glen Dundas, was the party's only candidate in the 2012 provincial election and received only 68 votes, or 0.006% of the popular vote in the province. The party changed its name to the Alberta First Party on May 13, 2013. The party was granted approval to return itself to the Alberta First Party name on May 14, 2013.
|2001||Alberta First||John Reil||
16 / 83
0 / 83
12 / 83
0 / 83
1 / 83
0 / 83
1 / 87
0 / 87
1 / 87
0 / 87
|||June 12, 2000||Alberta First||John Reil||Edmonton-Highlands||270||3.30%||4th||John Reil|
|||September 25, 2000||Patti Argent||Red Deer-North||338||8.15%||3rd|
|||April 8, 2002||Jerry Barber||Wainwright||1,695||25.9%||2nd|
|Mladen Djekic||Alberta First||1999-2000||Interim leader|
|John Reil||2000-2004||Elected at convention in Edmonton|
|Bruce Hutton||2004-2012||Changed party name to Separation Party|
Relationship to other separation movements
The Separation Party was not the first separatist party to make a foray into Albertan politics. The Western Canada Concept (WCC) achieved success in the early 1980s, winning a by-election in 1982. The WCC's popularity declined before the end of the decade. The Alberta Independence Party ran 14 candidates in the 2001 general election, but these candidates were designated as independents because the party had not been registered with Elections Alberta. The AIP eventually disbanded.
The Separation Party had informal ties with the Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan and its website included links to the website of that party. The Separation Party was not affiliated to the Western Canada Concept Party of British Columbia or the British Columbia-based Western Block Party and has distanced itself from Doug Christie, the controversial leader of those parties.
- Elections Alberta
- Geddes, Ashley (June 15, 1999). "Alberta senate touted". Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. p. A18.
- "Albertans create new party of the right". Star - Phoenix. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. June 14, 1999. p. A5.
- Bragg, Robert (June 16, 1999). "Alberta First party stands little chance with the voters: New team somewhat Klein-like except on social issues". Calgary Herald. Calgary, Alberta. p. A23.
- "Part 1. Proclamation". Alberta Gazette. August 14, 1999.
- "Reil chosen to lead Alberta First Party". CBC News. January 22, 2000.
- "Edmonton-Highlands By-election". Elections Alberta. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25.
- "Red Deer-North By-election". Elections Alberta. Archived from the original on 2013-10-20.
- "Wainwright By-election". Elections Alberta. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25.
- "28th Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer" (PDF). Elections Alberta. 2004. p. 2.
- . Elections Alberta http://www.elections.ab.ca/public%20website/746.htm#2012. Retrieved 2014-12-19. Missing or empty
- "2004 General election report". Elections Alberta. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- Elections Alberta 2015 General Election unofficial results Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine.