A Modern Conservative Party Pathway to Success in 2019
As I travel the province, Progressive Conservative members ask, "How are you going to fix the party?"
This is my plan to get our party back on track. It’s a plan that will unite like-minded Albertans under our PC banner to ensure we defeat the NDP in 2019.
This plan for the PC party is bringing conservatives of all stripes together from across our province. As our Modern Conservative movement grows, I look forward to speaking with you about the plan for our party and welcome your feedback.
Over the coming weeks, I will also share my business plan to get our province and the Alberta government back on track. Together, we can make Alberta the most innovative and business-friendly place in the world.
Our Modern Conservative Party will focus on:
- Winning in 2019
- Earning back voters that left the party
- Growing our Membership
- Strengthening our Constituencies Associations
- Committing to a formalized engagement with our members
- Modernizing our fundraising
- Election readiness
Winning in 2019
Our province, once aging, now has a average age of 36 years old — the youngest province in Canada. Our province has seen incredible growth in recent years, with hundreds of thousands coming from other parts of Canada and from around the world. Alberta is more diverse than ever.
We lost Albertans’ trust and confidence in the years leading up to 2015. Voters were tired of political games, and arrogant politics. They wanted something new, and they were faced with two very different options - the NDP and the Wildrose. A choice between the left wing, and the right wing. A choice between socially progressive and fiscal leftists, or fiscal conservatives with socially conservative ideals. Albertans chose, and did so overwhelmingly - they chose the NDP over the Wildrose.
The numbers make this reality clear. Some have suggested that the only path to victory is to merge with the Wildrose Party. They will tell you that so long as there is “vote splitting” within conservatives in Alberta, we are handing the NDP a second term. This is simply not true, and the numbers prove it.
Those same people will tell you that the PCs and the Wildrose vote the same way in the legislature 95% of the time, so we should all just ignore the 5% and come together. Let’s be clear - that 5% matters. That 5% is why the Wildrose lost the 2012 election, lost the 2015 election, and will lose them the 2019 election. The Alberta electorate is not what it once was decades ago, and ignoring the changes in our province will be done at our own peril. Albertans were clear, they will not accept a party that refuses to address social issues as their government. This is why Albertans overwhelmingly chose the NDP instead of the Wildrose in 2015.
In comparing the results from the 2012 election and 2015, the shift of voters to the NDP is glaring. We lost 16.2% of our voters to the NDP, the Liberals lost 5%, and the Wildrose dropped 10.1% of their vote from 2012.
Contrary to popular belief, the Wildrose didn’t pick up votes from our party, they lost votes overall. The message delivered by the Wildrose caused over 10% of their voters to abandon ship and vote for the NDP.
At a data level all the PC party needs to do is gain back the 16% of voters who left us in 2015. Gaining back that 16% would mean a PC majority government, with 63 seats. This plan is how we do this and more. This plan demonstrates our rejection of arrogant, out of touch politics, that we will earn back the trust of Albertans and win a strong majority in 2019.
Earning Back Those Voters That Left The Party
We must return our party, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, to being the first choice of Albertans. We will do so by being well prepared and by ensuring this party is one that Albertans can be proud to vote for. A party rooted in strong fiscally conservative principles and modern progressive social values. A party that believes government’s role is to enable job creators and live within its means. A party that remains relevant and attractive to an increasingly young electorate. A party that protects the rights of all Albertans. A party that is welcoming and inclusive to all, no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, where you pray or who you love.
Growing Our Membership
In my first 60 days as leader, we will implement a membership growth strategy. We cannot succeed in 2019 without bringing back party members that left the party in recent years. That includes members that continue to share our values but were turned off by arrogant and entitled politics . We must also focus on bringing new members to our party. As your leader, my goal is to grow our party to over 100,000 members by spring 2018. This will be done by building a coalition of Modern Conservative Albertans and providing real engagement for our members.
I will also appoint a volunteer advisory panel to take inventory of the current roles and responsibilities of key volunteers within the party, and create a plan to strategically develop our volunteer base and how best to leverage their talents. Volunteers have always been the lifeblood of the PC party. Our foundation needs to be strong and our structure needs to be adaptable to a new political reality.
Strengthening Our Constituencies
As the MLA for St. Albert, I always used the St. Albert PC Constituency Association as my caucus. Their feedback and views informed my decisions as an MLA, and I took their views to the cabinet table. As your leader, I would expect my caucus mates to do precisely the same.
My Constituency Association had serious concerns about the floor-crossings and the early election call, as did many associations across the province. If the party leadership had been listening, things would be very different today.
Within 90 days of being elected, I will implement a formal engagement processes, using modern communication tools and technology, to ensure regular feedback from all constituencies will be heard loud and clear, including for those constituencies without a PC MLA.
Modernizing Our Fundraising
Within 100 days we will launch a comprehensive monthly giving program with a focus on raising $1.5 million annually. This monthly giving program will be the operating bedrock of our party organization and will allow us to hire at least 5 field organizers whose primary job is to support our 87 Constituency Associations. The 2019 plan is to have at least 6,000 members donate $20.19 per month.It is as simple as that. The more donors we sign up, the faster our present debt is eliminated and we can rebuild the organization.
Within 100 days we will also launch a new small donor program with a goal to raise $1 million annually from donations under $250. These funds will be set aside as our campaign fund.
Our finance committees will be tasked with clear deliverables, and measurable targets. We will have $3 million to contest the next election. We will identify key donors in each riding based on the new fundraising laws and we will make sure all our constituencies can take on the NDP.
Once we are successful in the next election, any riding not held by a PC MLA will be eligible for a new matching grant program. Funds these constituencies raise will be matched by our central party fundraising effort to ensure they are always prepared and competitive in every by-election and election.
We will also ensure that our party remains fiscally responsible -- avoiding the operational spending excesses that have hurt us in the past.
The next election will be quickly upon us. We need to be ready and we do not have the luxury of time.
We know from the experience of others that trying to merge two separate political entities is a time consuming, messy, and expensive process. This process has taken years, requires parties to empty their bank accounts and without a doubt, leaves parties vulnerable to an early election call. By uniting Albertans under our Progressive Conservative banner, we will be well prepared to take on the NDP head-on.
- We will have the strongest 87 Constituency Associations.
- Through our membership plan we will have the most volunteers.
- As responsible fiscal conservatives, we will address and payoff our party's debt.
- We will raise $3 million by 2019 by developing a comprehensive small donor program, by expanding the monthly donor program, and establishing clear targets for the finance committees.
- We will have a full slate of diverse candidates reflective of Albertans by spring 2018, allowing our candidates and our party the ability to be ready should the government call an early election.