August 22 marks the one month anniversary of conservative unity in Alberta.
It has now been four weeks since members of our legacy parties voted overwhelmingly to create a principled, compassionate and united party, restoring the conservative coalition in our province for a new generation.
With broad public support, one thing is clear: We are not looking back. We are looking forward.
The real work of building basic party infrastructure is well underway. Constructing a brand new party from scratch and preparing it to compete in a matter of just three months is a challenge unique in Alberta’s political history. Thankfully, we have the expertise, the institutional knowledge and the desire to get the job done. Our leadership campaign has begun, and includes some excellent candidates. In addition, over the next few months we will adopt a constitutional framework, consider policies and focus on other aspects of basic party infrastructure. This is important work which will define our success for years to come.
However, it is also important for folks to know that our commitment to holding this government to account remains absolute.
Our UCP caucus has been formally recognized as the Official Opposition and we have a strong leadership team in place. I am delighted to have been chosen to serve as Interim Leader over the next two months and am incredibly thankful that Mike Ellis has agreed to take on the role of Deputy Leader. My goal during the interim period is to be a servant leader and a team builder, and I know Mike to be a man of principle and action. I have said repeatedly that I do not want to take the UCP to the left or the right during my interim leadership – the only direction I want to take our party is up.
I can also report that our caucus is stronger than ever, deeper than ever and more motivated than ever. In this past month alone, we have challenged the government for willfully violating trade agreements, exposed the NDP’s horrendous fiscal and economic record and fought for transparency to ensure Albertans are made aware of the true costs of the NDP carbon tax.
Our team is also focused on reaching out to Albertans and gathering input on the issues that matter to families and communities. I have been travelling the province as part of my summer tour and, unlike the Notley administration’s so-called “consultations,” my tour actually leaves pavement. Some of my first stops included visits to Alberta’s coal communities, which have been almost totally ignored by the NDP. In addition, our Economic Development and Trade Critic Prasad Panda toured northern Alberta to hear first-hand how NDP policies are impacting investment, trade, jobs and the economy. When it comes to consultation, we are doing more than talking the talk. We are walking the walk.
If you have any thoughts, ideas or concerns about provincial matters, we want to hear from you. We are also extending an invitation to all Albertans, from every walk of life, to take an active role in shaping Alberta’s future. If you are interested in politics, there has never been a better time to get involved.
The one month mark is an opportunity to reflect on the legacies of the two parties that formed the UCP, but also an opportunity to look at the exciting times that lay ahead for our party, and for our province.
This is a great time to be a conservative in Alberta, and our best days are yet to come.
Nathan Cooper is the Leader of Alberta’s Official Opposition, the Interim Leader of the United Conservative Party and the MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills.