Quasi-Democracy: Parties and Leadership Selection in Alberta by Keith Archer, David Stewart

By Keith Archer, David Stewart

In interpreting political events and management choice in Alberta, this article argues that management choice presents an extraordinary chance for staring at the inner workings of the events. It analyzes elements influencing management choice and develops profiles of the supporters of the events.

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Sample text

Lessons from the 1992 PC Leadership Election In 1985, the governing Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta was forced to select a replacement for retiring premier Peter Lougheed. The party that Lougheed had led into the legislature in 1967, and into power in 1971, had become a dynasty. It had governed the province for fourteen years, held seventy-five of the seventy-nine seats in the legislature, and averaged more than 55% of the vote over the three most recent elections. Unfortunately for the party, the leadership transfer did not go smoothly.

Even more importantly, the party’s membership soared as more than 80,000 Albertans cast a ballot on one of the two weeks of the balloting. Building on the momentum of his leadership race, Klein went on to score a victory in the June 1993 provincial election. The first casualty of the Klein victory was the New Democratic Party. It went from the official opposition to virtual annihilation as it was unable to elect anyone to the legislature in 1993. The party’s leader resigned and a traditional leadership convention was scheduled for February 1994.

We received the highest response rate from the survey of NDP delegates. Given the relatively small number of people who attended the February 1994 NDP convention, we were able to send surveys to each of the 422 delegates. Two hundred and twenty responded, and an analysis of reported votes indicates that the respondents are representative of the convention at large. Initial Conclusions The three data sets provide the only comparative data on party activists in Alberta. The richness of these data allows us to draw conclusions about the parties, partisans, and leadership elections that would not otherwise have been possible.

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