Edmonton

Alberta PCs launch plan to renew interest in their party

The $50,000 Engage campaign features a 38-page full-colour booklet and a dedicated website for collecting feedback from the public.

$50,000 campaign includes a full-colour booklet and a website for collecting feedback

PC caucus members announced a new campaign to engage voters. (CBC )

The Alberta PC caucus has launched a new project to try and renew interest in the party again after last year's election that ended the party's 44 years in power.

Interim Conservative Leader Ric McIver and the other eight members of the PC caucus launched the "Engage" campaign at the Alberta legislature Monday morning.  The $50,000 campaign features a 38-page full-colour booklet and a dedicated website for collecting feedback from the public. 

"The purpose of Engage is not to prescribe specific policy actions but to spark a public conversation and to seek feedback from our most important stakeholders: Albertans. The people we work for," McIver said.

Since last summer, the party has held meetings about its future in constituencies across the province. The PCs were buoyed after Prab Gill retained their seat in last month's byelection in Calgary-Greenway.

McIver said his party lost power to the NDP last year because they failed to live up to the progressive conservative values they shared with Albertans. 

However, a number of groups on the right are seeking to unite all conservatives under a single party to defeat the NDP in the next provincial election.

While Wildrose Leader Brian Jean has invited all "right-thinking" Albertans to join his party, other groups are discussing the need to create a new party. That idea has been openly rejected by PC MLAs like Sandra Jansen, who believe her party offers more of a centrist vision for the province. 

McIver said the latest initiative is separate from efforts to fend off these unite-the-right efforts. .

"What this does is give Albertans, I think,  a reason to have that conversation with our party," he said "It would be a nice thing, as a result of that, they see how hard they're (PCs) working for them, how closely we're listening to them and decide to join with us and support us."

With declining government revenues due to the energy price slump, McIver is challenging the NDP government to find $4 billion in savings over two years. The PC caucus also wants the government to set up a debt repayment plan, stop funding operating expenses through borrowing and sell all underused and obsolete public assets.

One of those public assets is a cottage owned by the government, McIver said. The building was once a residence for forest rangers on Wabamun Lake. 

Infrastructure Minister Brian Mason says the government regularly identifies surplus buildings and puts them up for sale. 

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