Calgary

Want to start an Alberta political party? These party names may soon be up for grabs

Political hopefuls with plenty of ideas how to lead the province, but less creativity when it comes to naming their fledgling political party, could be in luck, as 10 reserved party names are set to expire in the next six months.

Reservations on names like YES and the Earth Continuity Party expire in coming months

Here's a look at what Alberta political party names are currently reserved, and when the names could go up for grabs. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Political hopefuls with plenty of ideas how to lead the province, but less creativity when it comes to naming their fledgling political party, could be in luck, as 10 reserved party names are set to expire in the next six months.

Names like YES, the Earth Continuity Party and — this one's a mouthful with an unfortunate acronym — Albertans for Swiss Style Direct Democracy (ASSDD), could be up for grabs as early as April 15.

What's in a name?

There are a few ways to register a new political party in Alberta, one of which is gathering signatures on a petition supporting the founding of a new party.

While those signatures are being collected, Elections Alberta allows an applicant to reserve their chosen party name for six months, with two three-month extensions allowed. 

If the name is both "appropriate and distinct," that is, unique enough that it won't be mistaken for another party, it'll be approved.

All of the prospective parties currently on the reserved name list are likely too late to make it on the ballot for the upcoming spring provincial election, which is legally required to be held by May 31, 2019.

But if the aspiring parties do gather enough signatures, Albertans could potentially see AlbertaNation on the ballot, joining the province's 12 registered political parties.

If not, and the party doesn't apply for a renewal, the name's free for the taking.

Here's a list of the currently reserved names and expiry dates:

  • Albertans for Swiss Style Direct Democracy (ASSDD), April 15, 2019.
  • New Populist Party (NPA), April 26, 2019.
  • YES, April 26, 2019.
  • The Precariat (WTP), July 11, 2019.
  • Alberta Independence Party (AIP), July 15, 2019.
  • Earth Continuity Party (E.C.P.), July 21, 2019.
  • Alberta Patriot Project (APP), July 30, 2019.
  • Alberta Freedom Alliance (AFA), August 14, 2019.
  • AlbertaNation (AN), August 23, 2019.
  • Progressive Canadian Provincial Conservatives (PCPC), Sept. 1, 2019.

Little information is available about some prospective parties (YES), while the names of some others offer clues — The Precariat is a phrase popularized by a 2011 book by economics professor Guy Standing, describing an emerging social class of people facing job insecurity. Standing has used the concept to make a case for universal basic income.

Other parties vying for official status have been more vocal about their mission like the Alberta Independence Party which, you guessed it, has a platform centred around the idea of a separate Alberta. That's also on the agenda of the Alberta Freedom Alliance. 

While it might seem easy to overlook small parties with targeted platforms, don't count them out.

While only five political parties have ever held government in Alberta, some now defunct niche parties have captured seats in past elections, including the United Farmers of Alberta, the Socialist Party of Alberta and the Veterans' and Active Force.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said parties on the reserved name list would be too late to run in the 2019 election. The story has been corrected to say they would likely be too late to run.
    Mar 05, 2019 2:48 PM MT

About the Author

Sarah Rieger

Reporter

Sarah Rieger joined CBC Calgary as an online journalist in 2017. You can reach her by email at sarah.rieger@cbc.ca.

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