A PC Party Make Work Project

I am a card carrying PC – you know that – and most of you know I’ve been one for years. I’ve held plenty of positions within the Party including my most recent stint as the Deputy Campaign Manager during the general election. I love my Party. I’m dedicated to its principles and core values. I’m a true Progressive Conservative.

Many of you will also remember that I am a true champion for #changefromwithin in the PC Party. What does this mean? It means renewal. It means doing things differently to ensure everyone is engaged – and by everyone I’m including brand spanking new PCs. #changefromwithin means communicating and including. It means transparency and ensuring there is a seat at the table for all PC Party members before a decision is made and a motion is passed.

I volunteered (along with @ppilarski) as Alison Redford’s GOTV Chair on her leadership campaign because I believe she was the healthy change this party needed. I took a leave of absence from my day job during the campaign to work on the PC campaign’s core team. Proud accomplishments of mine for many reasons – including the fact that I saw #changefromwithin become a reality in both circumstances. I remain a proud PC because of our strong leader and our strong roster of true, PC candidates that were elected this past April.

Do I like what Premier Redford is doing in Alberta? You bet! Family Care Clinics, public consultation, long term plans, quick action on previously ignored files (like Highway 63), no fear in doing things differently … all things I’m proud of. All things I believe represent a modern day Alberta and modern day Albertans. Changes necessary to move our province forward.

Do I believe #changefromwithin is alive and well in our Party? It’s getting there … but the fight is not over.

The PC Party’s latest “make work” project is the perfect example of my continued frustration over the Party’s focus.

Formal documentation of our Party’s political roots? What?! This sounds like a good MA thesis for a passionate young conservative … not a project you pay a consultant to do. Maybe a cool project for the PCYA wing of our Party as well not something we spend resources on. Let’s practice fiscal responsibility.

Did we not just fight the hardest election battle since 1993 in this province? We were victorious but we have plenty of lessons to learn as a Party that shouldn’t include prioritizing the documentation of our history.

What does need to be documented?
How about a debrief from the election campaign that involves all stakeholders and constituencies? Let’s learn the lessons of our political battles from the people who were on the frontlines of the campaign. Priorities should be already preparing for the next election, considering a four year strategy and learning from the mistakes of the past 4 years. Now, I expect the powers that be will tell me that they ARE doing these things. That’s wonderful – but if no one knows about it then does it really matter? Are you operating in your silos (something Redford has been passionate about breaking down in government)? Are you engaging your membership (all those campaign managers, cluster coaches, regional desks?)? How can you expect to strategize if you aren’t including the membership who fought the battle?

Now you’ll say “but Christina, they are engaging members in this project”. Let’s engage members by asking how to be battle ready and how to better represent the people of this province … and communicate that we actually are. Let’s ask them for a debrief of the election this year. Let’s engage them in fundraising, membership drives, etc. And what about engaging the thousands of new PCs our party gained after the leadership and after the 2012 election – this latest project is certainly not one they can buy into. Finally, let’s engage the PCYA in this project if it is really deemed as something that needs to be completed in the interim.

I’m disappointed. Not because we are documenting our history and asking members to get involved. I too have warm and fuzzy stories I can add to the collection – stories I’m proud of and stories that have kept me engaged as a member. I’m disappointed that this project has taken center stage and is what the party is currently highlighting.

What about the governance review? What about constitutional review? What about fundraising (some boards are in major need of support after the election)? What about board support (new MLAs, new volunteers that need backing … not to mention some serious communication breakdowns that need to be addressed in a number of boards across this province)? What about connecting the various constituency association executives so we can start collaborating? What about learning to communicate as an association – not just sharing what government is doing? Or just communicating in general?

I’m angry – I’m ranting. But most importantly I’m still waiting for #changefromwithin in the PCAA.

Because by pushing out make work projects we continually show Albertans we aren’t listening as a Party.

The leader (I’m so very proud to support) and our (capable, smart, next generation) caucus members need to stand up and get the PCAA train back on the tracks. Another 40 years is ours … but only if we learn from past mistakes and move Alberta into the future – not spend our resources and money on documenting the past and further glorifying it.

Take a step back – what do you think the average Albertan cares about? Long term planning or a historical document of how great we used to be? I stand by Premier Redford because she campaigned on stable, long term planning for our province – let’s take a hint and do the same for the party. Remember when the tables turned in the election – when Albertans started to realize Wildrose wanted to move Alberta backwards and that the PCs were capable of moving Alberta forwards. Let’s not lose that mandate. You may remember a few of my tweets during the election … “never trust a party that offers you the past” …

Thank goodness government is listening – hoping for a trickledown effect asap.

And, yes, these are qualities I will be looking for in the next PC President. The race is on. Who represents the face of #changefromwithin?

CR

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8 thoughts on “A PC Party Make Work Project

  1. Alrighty, I’m with you….let’s figure out a way to continue to engage all of our new members (and older members too) 🙂

  2. Those that do not remember the past are destined to repeat it… yes there needs to be more work done to build a stronger, healthier, more 21C ready political party, but it cannot be done without reflecting on the values, attitudes and ACTIONS that got us and kept us there. Or are you just angry cause you didn’t get the contract??

    1. Blog doesn’t say we shouldn’t document the history – points out IMO this isn’t a priority to contract out to do for money. I know plenty of keen volunteers (a lot from PCYA) who would be up to the challenge and do a terrific job. Save hard working consultant dollars for learning from our most recent past (2012 … and arguably the 2008 … elections).

      And no – I don’t want a contract – I have an excellent FT job that I’m proud to work at – and a social media company. Both keep me plenty busy.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

      CR

  3. Way to go! While I think that this is a very interesting project. I think you are absolutely right that renewing the party and getting it prepared for more and greater sucesses in the future should take more precedence over celebrating the accomplishments of the past. Like you I’m hoping for more change from within!

  4. You’re right about a hotly contested election but, from one card-carrying PC to another, I’m not sure I’d be bragging about having such senior titles on a campaign that almost drove our party into the ground.

    The election wasn’t won by genius strategies employed by the minions in the war room. Rather, it was won thanks to hard working everyday volunteers (sans title), a stellar group of candidates, and the actions of the chap who uncovered the Hunsperger story.

    Change from within is a noble cause. Perhaps some of those responsible for the campaign mentality that nearly drove PCAA off a cliff should be “changed” as well. Food for thought.

    1. We are on the same page!

      I completely agree it was won on the ground – and I was privileged to see that first hand. My role was primarily managing organization – I was on the ground with our 90 campaign managers and all of our incredible volunteers. I organized training sessions, and deployed extra volunteers when needed. Susan Elliott (campaign manager) organized the entire campaign around ground game – amazing!

      I also got to have some fun on the Jansen campaign since PP was managing.

      Getting to the doors is what won it for this team in MANY constituencies. I know that and saw it … and it made me proud to be PC. It was incredible how many new volunteers came out to lend a hand … we need to keep them engaged.

      Maybe my role is another blog post … thanks!

      But you’re right the party needs less “minions in the war room” and more engaged volunteers on the ground. That’s a big part of my #changefromwithin vision.

      CR

  5. Excellent post!

    It seems clear to me that the party has no sense of priorities/direction internally. If they did, how could this possibly be a main priority? Even worse, a priority of such importance that it is worth spending hard fundraised election warchest dollars to complete.

    Does the party have no faith in its own? As you said, could a student/youth or general volunteer not tackle this piece of work? If an individual or group of individuals were provided the opportunity to speerhead this “important” piece of party work, I’m sure they’d actually consider it an honour. It would be a badge of pride for them, a bragging point, and something that would bring them closer to your party.

    I believe some of the “powers that be” in the PC party may be even more tired, out of ideas, and soaked in the thought “look how awesome the past has been, why should be change anything” than its currently elected officials.

    It’s time for a changing of the guard and in a big way. Maybe CR can be that refreshing change?

    Troy

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