Can the Wildrose Alliance dethrone Alberta's Tories?

Recent paper evaluates how party has positioned itself on issues that matter most to voters  

CALGARY, May 12 /CNW/ - A new paper from The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, examines whether the Wildrose Alliance is aligned with the political values of Albertans. Dr. Anthony Sayers and Dr. David Stewart assess the likelihood of the party being able to achieve electoral victory.

Sayers and Stewart look at voter sentiment in key areas such as western alienation, social conservatism, environmental issues and the role of government, among others, and compare these results with the Wildrose's positions on these issues.

Findings show the Wildrose occupying polarized positions in particular policy areas, thereby distancing themselves from the majority of voters. Although, Sayers and Stewart argue that the party, led by its "articulate and appealing new leader," Danielle Smith, is taking strides to appear more moderate than in the past.

"The Wildrose Alliance is identifying the central elements of Alberta's political traditions and claiming to be more in tune with these than the government," the authors write. "The Alliance must discredit the Tories' performance on those issues that are seen as central to politics in Alberta and move aggressively into Tory territory by presenting itself as more competent and in tune with Albertans."

However, based on their analysis, and an imminent PC leadership change, the authors conclude that the challenge facing the new party is more difficult than they may imagine.

"The Wildrose Party must negotiate traditional tensions in Albertan politics: strong support for individualism yet wide and deep commitment to public health care and robust government, a north-south divide, rural-urban tensions and differences in outlook between social and fiscal conservatives in its ranks and beyond," they write. "At the same time, the party must appear to be aligned with the populism and western alienation that run deep in the province."

In considering these obstacles and their own issue proximity analysis, Sayers and Stewart conclude that the Wildrose would be unable to attract a larger enough base of voters to form government.

The paper can be found by going to, then clicking "latest papers".

SOURCE University of Calgary - School of Public Policy

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For more information or to arrange an interview with Anthony Sayers or David Stewart contact:

Morten Paulsen

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University of Calgary - School of Public Policy

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