Sadness and Joy

Or as I like to subtitle this one, an insider’s blog on the Alberta Party Leadership Convention. 

This is the blog where I expose all the underhanded dealings, the backstabbing, the dirty mudslinging and the general nastiness we carefully hid from the public. 

Well..  A couple days ago Tammy asked if I would write and read an endorsement for her at the convention.  It took me a little while to put together.  Other than that, it really was exactly as it looked.  I’ve never seen four nicer people get together and talk with each other about our collective future.  I’ve never seen four people who were competing for such a prestigious honour work so politely with each other.  Barring my family and a select few friends, I don’t think I’ve been prouder of a group of people.  And politicians, at that! 

My story has three parts.  The trip.  The sadness.  The joy. 

My weekend schedule made it necessary to drive to Edmonton in the wee hours of the morning.  Of course I couldn’t be organized enough to make it all go smoothly.  Out the door five minutes late, choosing the route of excessive red lights, needing a short stop to check my tire pressures (they were low) and I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to speed like a demon if I was going to make it on time.

My trip up consisted of singing along to Tim Hus and Porkbelly Futures, enjoying the misty morning rain and the eventual red haze of smoke obscuring the sun.  Just as the skies began to brighten I spotted movement to my left and I spotted a hawk diving for her breakfast in the meridian.

I realized this is the Alberta that I love.  The wide open, green, safe (unless you’re a tasty rodent) world where I love to spend my days.

Probably not relevant to anyone except me.  But my drive was very serene.  Although the headwind was brutal.  I burned 34 of a tank of gas to get from here to there.  Glad I got great mileage going home.

I must acknowledge the sadness.  My choice didn’t win.  Losing sucks. 

I fully expected to be undecided until the convention today.  That didn’t happen when Tammy asked me to be part of her campaign team.  I’m not going to go half hearted into the breach, it became a full commitment and I made the early choice to contribute to Tammy what I could.

I had two fears. 

The first fear was that Tammy, Lois and I would be sitting around her table and her final tally would come in as two votes. 

The second fear was that Tammy would attract thousands of people to the Alberta Party and at the end of the night we would all stand around wondering just what we had voted for.

Tammy herself slayed both my fears.  She drew people in and genuinely connected with Albertans.  I was needlessly concerned that she might not connect with a room full of people in a speech in the way she can connect with you when you’re talking together in solitude in the middle of a crowded restaurant.  You can be one in a room of 300 and feel like she’s speaking to you in particular with all her passion intact.  One hundred and three other people agreed with my choice and I dare say that a great number more felt a connection with Tammy and an appreciation she ran the race.

Tammy’s been working on policy committees, she’s done more research than I can shake a stick at, she’s answered questions on topics both mundane and obscure.  I may know more on some things, but she is far, far more qualified than I across the board.

My regret is that I did not give Tammy enough organizing support or in selling more membership on her behalf.  Lessons I can apply moving forward.

Thank you, Tammy, for your trust and your friendship.  I look forward to working alongside you again and again.

My joy is sincere that Glenn is the leader of our party.  I have absolute faith that he is up to the task.  I admire his honesty, I admire his candour, I admire his experience.  Above anything else I have ever known about Glenn, I admire the very first time we interacted and I felt that he had truly listened to what I had to say.  He has never forgotten - how people can remember such details when they must meet thousands of others I’ll never understand.

I’m so impressed with Glenn’s organization, his ability to delegate, his trust in others to do the right thing.  When I told Glenn that Tammy had asked me to work with her I confided that I was leaning towards him as my first choice and it was with some regret that I chose to support one candidate above any others.  I made the right choice for me for the exact right reasons.  However I pledged on that day that, should Glenn win, I would support him wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

I’ll renew that pledge tonight.

I don’t mind losing to Glenn too badly, but I don’t want to be on the perpetually losing side.  It seems like even when I’ve voted PC in the past I’ve wound up losing somehow.  It’s time for better engagement and a better representation of Albertans in government.  The Alberta Party with Glenn at the helm can be the force to truly make a difference in this province.

Both Lee and Randy joined the race after I had already declared for Tammy, so I felt like I should watch them from somewhat of a distance.

Neither would have anything to do with it and they both greeted me with warmth and welcoming.  Lee has impressed me as a highly upstanding man, full of honour and a person who truly listens and leads.  Randy is stunningly intelligent and broaches depths of topics I haven’t even considered thinking about.  They both are incredible people and I am immensely honoured to work alongside them both.

The last point I want to mention is a special mention to dear friends from twitter or blogs which I have only met today.  I got to meet Will Munsey in person, I at least got to see Grace Wong, and it’s always a great day for me to shake the hand of Dave King.  I’ll be sure to give a very special shout out for shaking Ken Chapman’s hand.  When I was exploring the Alberta Party Ken was the person who presented the ideas, values and principles of what makes the Alberta Party genuine and powerful.  Thank you, Ken, for being informative, welcoming and encouraging for me to start down this path.

A very, very dear thank you must go to Sue Huff for the strong and positive first impression she made on me as our Acting Leader.  When I first met her she was open and forthright I knew I had found my political home.  She is a person I richly admire.  I owe you a signature, Sue.  Keep that placard primed for me next time we meet.

Thank you to everyone who showed up and voted.  Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to put on such a great event.  Congratulations to us all. 

I know that no one is going to read this tonight.  You people owe me a party.