Alberta Independence Party

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Alberta Independence Party
LeaderDave Bjorkman
FoundedJanuary 2001
IdeologyGreater autonomy for Alberta
Alberta separatism (Historically)

The Alberta Independence Party (AIP) was a provincial party founded in Alberta, Canada, in 2000/1. It was dedicated to increasing the autonomy of Alberta within the Canadian confederation, in part as a response to the 2000 election, in which the Canadian Alliance, a party with strong western roots, was rejected by the electorate in the rest of the country, especially Ontario, which commands 1/3 of the seats in the Canadian Parliament.

The party's founding convention in January, 2001, garnered much media attention when several prominent figures from the Canadian Alliance attended as observers, including MPs Myron Thompson and Darrel Stinson, and Alberta 'senators-in-waiting' Ted Morton and Bert Brown. At the convention, Cory Morgan, a 29-year-old geological surveyor, was elected leader.

One of the party's first challenges was to gather enough signatures to qualify as an official party in Alberta, which it failed to do. As a result, in Alberta general election, 2001, its fourteen candidates were forced to stand as independents.

2001 elections results[edit]

The party's candidates garnered a total of 7521 votes. Here is a list of their candidates, votes, and percentages.

  1. Bradley R. Lang (Calgary-Egmont) 399 (2.90%)
  2. Tom Humble (Airdrie-Rocky View) 683 (4.10%)
  3. Cory Morgan (Banff-Cochrane) 538 (4.00%)
  4. Darren Popik (Calgary Shaw) 151 (0.60%)
  5. Douglas R. Chitwood (Lacombe-Stettler) 554 (4.70%)
  6. Eileen Walker (Drumheller-Chinook) 819 (8.90%)
  7. Ron (Earl) Miller (Dunvegan,) 248 (2.80%)
  8. Dennis Young (Grande Prairie-Smoky) 380 (4.10%)
  9. Jon Koch (Little Bow) 885 (8.30%)
  10. Charles Park (Ponoka-Rimbey) 764 (8.10%)
  11. Ryan Lamarche (Red Deer-South) 203 (1.60%)
  12. Christopher Sutherland (Strathmore-Brooks) 511 (4.50%)
  13. Jeff Newland (Wainwright) 868 (8.00%)
  14. Ben Lussier** (Wetaskiwin-Camrose) 382 (3.00%)

(**Lussier began his candidacy with an AIP endorsement which was withdrawn during the course of the campaign)

The Alberta Independence Party had been the brain-child of Albertans in their 20s and 30s, and this was reflected in the youth of both its membership and executive—half of whom were below the age of 30. Differences of opinion on a variety of issues—especially whether the party should clearly back separation or merely argue greater autonomy—resulted in the break-up of the party in Dec. 2001.

Many of its members have since joined the Separation Party of Alberta or similar groups.

2018 Alberta Independence Party Revival[edit]

In 2018, the Alberta Independence Party is experiencing a revival and strives to run candidates in the 2019 provincial election and form party status. Dave Bjorkman, a welder and businessman, became the interim leader early in 2018 and will remain so until the first Annual General Meeting.[1]

In September 11, 2007 Bjorkman was instrumental in the Canada Construction Workers' protest in Sherwood Park's Petro Canada Refinery Row located just east of Edmonton, which resulted in hundreds of construction workers staging a legal walk out due to Alberta's perceived unfair labour laws. Bjorkman stated "We are not asking for a lot. We just want equal rights that everyone else should have. And we don't get them."[2]

In November, 2017, Bjorkman made opposition to Alberta's proposed Bill 24. Bjorkman responded by noting fears pertaining to Alberta's Bill 24 legislation that would encourage secrets and a lack of parental involvement.[3] Bjorkman also stated that he supports rights of parental involvement in the Alberta school system and supports the LGBT+ community.[4] "It's not about being gay or not gay, or transgender; it's about the fact that all parents should be fully aware of any extracurricular activity their children are in," Bjorkman said in a Grandin interview. Bjorkman's daughter is high-functioning autistic student attending Father Michael Troy Catholic Junior High School in Edmonton.

Similar Parties[edit]

The Alberta Independence Party is similar to but is unrelated to other Alberta separatism or similar movements in Alberta including the Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta, Alberta Independence Movement, and the Western Independence Party.[5][6]

See also[edit]