Alberta Party

The Alberta Party (French: Parti de l'Alberta, Parti albertain), formally the Alberta Party Political Association (French: L'Association politique du Parti albertain), is a political party in the province of Alberta, Canada. The party describes itself as a centrist and pragmatic party that is not dogmatically ideological in its approach to politics.[1][2]

Alberta Party
Active provincial party
LeaderJacquie Fenske (Interim)
PresidentConrad Guay
FoundedSeptember 24, 1985 (1985-09-24)
HeadquartersEdmonton, Alberta
IdeologyGrassroots democracy
Social liberalism
Political positionCentre
ColoursBlue, green, and gold
Fiscal policyModerate to Conservative
Social policyProgressive
Seats in Legislature
0 / 87


Early historyEdit

The Alberta Party began in the early 1980s as an alliance of small separatist political parties. The right side of Alberta's political spectrum was fragmented by parties spawned in the wake of the National Energy Program and feelings that Premier Peter Lougheed had done little to prevent the economic collapse it allegedly had caused. Some of these parties had already achieved some small success in attaining seats in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, though in the 1982 general election Social Credit, the Alberta Reform Movement and the Western Canada Concept lost their representation in the Legislature. The Heritage Party of Alberta, Representative Party of Alberta and the Confederation of Regions had been founded in the preceding years, which made for a total of five parties to the right of the Progressive Conservatives in 1985.

On October 30, 1990, this alliance of parties gave way to the creation of a new political party, the Alliance Party of Alberta.[3] This change marked a transition away from trying to build a coalition of parties to full participation in electoral politics. The party participated in two by-elections, and fielded a handful of candidates in the 1993 general election but received only a small percentage of the popular vote in each case.[4] The party did not contest the 1997 provincial election.[5]

Alberta Party logo from 1998 to 2008

In 1998, the Alliance Party followed the example of the Saskatchewan Party and the Manitoba Party by changing its name to the Alberta Party Political Association, or the Alberta Party for short.[6]

Shortly before the 2004 election, the Alberta Party attempted to merge with the Alberta Alliance Party (a different organization from the old Alliance Party of Alberta). The merged party would have adopted the Alberta Party platform, and the Alberta Party provincial council would have had seats on the Alberta Alliance Provincial Council. The deal fell through because the Alberta Party would not agree to de-register the Alberta Party name with Elections Alberta.[citation needed] On October 1, 2004, shortly before the general election, the party shortened its registered name to "Alberta Party" from "the Alberta Party Political Association".[7]

In the 2004 provincial election, the party nominated candidates in four ridings, winning a total of 2,485 votes, or 0.3% of the provincial total. The party fielded one candidate, Margaret Saunter, for the March 3 2008 provincial election. Saunter placed last out of a field of six candidates in Edmonton-Centre.

Ideological shift and party renewalEdit

Alberta Party logo used after the ideological shift from 2009 to 2011

After the rise of the Wildrose Alliance as Alberta's main right-wing alternative to the governing Progressive Conservatives, the right-wing members of the Alberta Party left to join that party. This left a small group of centrists in control of the party. In 2009, former Alberta Greens deputy leader Edwin Erickson, who had been organizing a new "Progress Party", was invited to run as a leadership candidate for the Alberta Party and won by acclamation. In 2010 the Alberta Party board voted to merge with Renew Alberta, a progressive and centrist group that had been organizing to form a new political party.[8]

During the merger process, the party's board agreed to suspend its old policy platform and start anew. To create a new platform different from its more right-wing history, in 2010 the party launched a campaign called "The Big Listen" in order to canvass the public for new policy ideas.[9][10] The party held its first policy convention on November 13 and 14, 2010 to develop substantive policies from the ideas heard during "The Big Listen". At the convention, Erickson stepped down to make way for an acting leader until a leadership contest could be held. A first set of policies was released on November 23, 2010, to coincide with the announcement of the appointment of an acting leader, Sue Huff. These policies centred on five key areas: economy, health, environment, democratic renewal, and education.[11] On January 24, 2011, former Liberal MLA Dave Taylor announced he was joining the Alberta Party, becoming the party's first MLA.[12]

2011 leadership electionEdit

Alberta Party logo used from 2011 to 2016

The party announced in January 2011 that a leadership convention would be held in Edmonton on May 28, 2011.[13] Four candidates contested the leadership of the party: Glenn Taylor, mayor of Hinton; Tammy Maloney, a social entrepreneur; businessman Randy Royer;[14] and Lee Easton, chair of the English program at Mount Royal University.[15] Chris Tesarski, CEO of Sandbox Energy Corporation, was also a candidate early in the contest,[16] but on April 15 announced he would not seek the party's leadership, citing disagreements with some aspects of the party's philosophy and some party members' attitudes towards his candidacy.[17] Dave Taylor, the party's only MLA, was also expected to run for the leadership,[18] but did not join the campaign. At the convention, the election was decided on the first ballot when Glenn Taylor won just over 55% of the votes.[19][20]

2012 Alberta general electionEdit

The party nominated 38 candidates to run in the 28th Alberta general election.[21] None were elected.

2013 leadership electionEdit

After Glenn Taylor stepped down on September 22, 2012, the party remained without a leader for some months. On May 29, 2013, the party announced that it would be holding a leadership vote to coincide with its Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2013, in Edmonton.[22] Entrepreneur and 2012 Calgary-Elbow election candidate Greg Clark, and self-employed consultant and 2012 Calgary-North West candidate Troy Millington, sought the leadership.[23] Clark won the election, receiving 87% of the 337 votes cast.[24]

2018 leadership electionEdit

A leadership election was triggered when Greg Clark stepped down as leader on November 18, 2017.[25] The election was held on February 27, 2018, after originally being scheduled to be on February 7.[26] Stephen Mandel became the new leader of the party after achieving 66% of the vote.

Floor CrossingsEdit

On October 30, 2017, it was announced that former NDP MLA Karen McPherson who had left the Government Caucus earlier in the month would cross to join the Alberta Party as their third ever, and second current MLA. McPherson cited the need to make transformative change in healthcare and management of the economy, as well as the feeling that she could better advocate for her constituents and use her skills and abilities better in the Alberta Party.[27]

In January 2018, former UCP MLA Rick Fraser announced that he would be joining the Alberta Party and running for its leadership race that had been triggered when Greg Clark stepped down. Fraser cited the divisive politics of the UCP for his departure, and the need to find "common sense policies" that "don't divide Albertans, but rather bring them closer together."[28]

Fraser's joining of the Alberta Party tripled the caucus size from the results of the 2015 general election, leaving the Alberta Party as the third largest representation in the Legislature.

2019 Alberta general electionEdit

The Alberta Party ran a full slate of candidates for the first time. Although the party gained 9.09% of the popular vote, an increase from 2.29% in 2015, it lost all three ridings it held going into the election and won no seats in the Legislature.[29]

2021 leadership electionEdit

On June 30, 2019, Stephen Mandel resigned as leader of the Alberta Party.[30] Former PC MLA Jacquie Fenske became the interim leader on February 10, 2020.[31] The Party has announced a leadership contest, with a new leader to be elected on October 23, 2021.[32]


For most of its history the Alberta Party was a right-wing organization, until the rise of the Wildrose Alliance as Alberta's main conservative alternative to the governing Progressive Conservatives attracted away the Alberta Party's more conservative members. This left a small rump of comparatively less conservative members in control of the Alberta Party. In 2010, the Alberta Party board voted to merge with Renew Alberta, a progressive group that had been organizing to form a new political party in Alberta.[8] The Alberta Party thus shed its conservative past for a more centrist[33] political outlook. The party has been cited in The Globe and Mail[34] and The Economist[35] as part of the break in one-party politics in Alberta, with the Economist calling it "a split in Canada’s most powerful right-wing political machine."


Picture Name Start Finish Notes
Howard Thompson 1986 1993
Mark Waters 1993 1997
George Flake 1997 1999
Fred Schorning 1999 2001
George Flake 2001 2004 Second time as leader.
Bruce Stubbs 2004 2009
Robert Leddy 2009 January 28, 2010 First leader of the ideological shift.
Edwin Erickson January 28, 2010 November 22, 2010 Leader for merger with Renew Alberta.
  Sue Huff November 23, 2010 May 28, 2011 Interim leader.
  Glenn Taylor May 28, 2011 September 22, 2012 Elected at a convention in Edmonton; stepped down after failing to win a seat in the 2012 Alberta general election.
  Greg Clark September 21, 2013 February 27, 2018 After remaining leaderless for a year, the party elected Clark at a convention in Edmonton. Clark stepped down as leader on November 18, 2017, and became interim leader until the upcoming leadership election.
  Stephen Mandel February 27, 2018 June 30, 2019
Jacquie Fenske February 10, 2020 present Interim Leader

Election resultsEdit

Election Leader Candidates Votes % Seats +/- Place Position
1993 [a] Mark Waters
4 / 83
3,548 0.36%
0 / 83
  0   7th No seats
1997 Did not contest No seats
2001[b] Fred Schorning
12 / 83
5,361 0.53%
0 / 83
  0   6th No seats
2004 Bruce Stubbs
4 / 83
2,485 0.30%
0 / 83
  0   8th No seats
1 / 83
51 0.01%
0 / 83
  0   9th No seats
2012 Glenn Taylor
38 / 87
17,172 1.33%
0 / 87
  0   5th No seats
2015 Greg Clark
36 / 87
33,867 2.29%[37]
1 / 87
  1   5th No status
2019 Stephen Mandel
87 / 87
170,872 9.09%
0 / 87
  3[c]   3rd[c] No seats


Banner Election Date Vote %
Alliance Party Little Bow by-election March 5, 1992 399 7.14%
Three Hills by-election October 26, 1992 566 5.47%


  1. ^ For 1993 election, the party was known as the Alliance Party of Alberta
  2. ^ During the 2001 election, the party formed a Coalition with the Social Credit Party[36]
  3. ^ a b c Despite losing all their seats (both elected in 2015 and gained during the 29th legislature), the party did receive the highest number of votes in its history.


  1. ^ "About the Alberta Party". Alberta Party. Archived from the original on April 6, 2011. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Kolafa, Pat (February 11, 2011). "Alberta Party talks policy with Drumheller Councillors". Drumheller Mail. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Thirteenth Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta. Elections Alberta. 1991.
  4. ^ "Calgary Currie Official Election Results 1993". Alberta Heritage. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved March 22, 2008.
  5. ^ "1997 Alberta Provincial General Election Information". Elections Alberta. February 25, 1997. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
  6. ^ Nineteenth Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta. Elections Alberta. 1999.
  7. ^ "28th Annual Report of the Chief Electoral Officer" (PDF). Elections Alberta. 2004. p. 2.
  8. ^ a b Archived June 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ daveberta on February 21, 2010 (February 21, 2010). "breakfast with the new alberta party. | Breakfast with the new Alberta Party". Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  10. ^ "FFWD – The Alberta Party coming soon to a living room near you". March 13, 2010. Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  11. ^ Alberta Party announces Acting Leader and releases first policies to Albertans Archived March 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Dave Taylor, MLA for Calgary Currie joins the Alberta Party
  13. ^ Alberta Party kicks off leadership race
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Randy Royer
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Lee Easton
  16. ^ Oil exec to run for Alberta Party leadership
  17. ^ Chris Tesarski (April 15, 2011). "I Love Alberta". Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  18. ^ Braid: Ex-Liberal Calgary MLA Dave Taylor to join Alberta Party Archived January 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ @midgelambertBRW (April 10, 2012). "Leadership election results announced". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  20. ^ Hinton mayor elected first Alberta Party Leader[dead link]
  21. ^ "Alberta Party 2012 election candidates". Retrieved April 14, 2012.
  22. ^ "Alberta Party announces Leadership Race". Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  23. ^ "Two candidates vie for Alberta Party leadership". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  24. ^ "Alberta Party elects new leader". Global News. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  25. ^ Tait, Carrie (November 10, 2017). "Alberta Party leader Greg Clark to step down, opening door for leadership campaign". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  26. ^ "Alberta Party releases rules for leadership race, extends contest date".
  27. ^ "Calgary MLA Karen McPherson joins Alberta Party after leaving NDP". Global News. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  28. ^ "Former PC Rick Fraser running for Alberta Party leadership". Edmonton Journal. January 9, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  29. ^ April 17, Dustin Cook Updated; 2019 (April 17, 2019). "Alberta Party has sobering night as leader Stephen Mandel denied seat, all ridings lost | Edmonton Journal". Retrieved April 18, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  30. ^ June 28; 2019. "Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel steps down to pursue his role as Chancellor at Concordia University". Alberta Party. Retrieved August 27, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  31. ^ February 10; 2020. "Acting Leader Appointed - Welcome Jacquie Fenske". Alberta Party. Retrieved August 27, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  32. ^ February 06; 2021. "Alberta Party Announces Leadership Race Dates". Alberta Party. Retrieved April 3, 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  33. ^ Campbell, Ian (March 31, 2017). "Alberta Party makes strides as it looks to #BringCentreTogether". 660 News. Calgary.
  34. ^ Simpson, Jeffrey (February 2, 2011). "Alberta's one-party system is cracking up". Globe and Mail. Toronto.
  35. ^ "Prairie fire: A split in Canada's most powerful right-wing political machine". The Economist. January 27, 2011.
  36. ^ "Political parties to merge". CBC News. February 7, 2000. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  37. ^ a b "Alberta Party has sobering night as leader Stephen Mandel denied seat, all ridings lost". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved March 22, 2020.

External linksEdit