The Communist Party – Alberta has come out of its recent provincial convention (August 4-5) ready to take on new challenges. The party and the Young Communist League are both growing in Alberta, chiefly in Edmonton and Calgary, but also in other areas.
The main focus of discussion and debate at the convention was the energy sector. It is crucial in Alberta, where the energy sector dominates the economy and the mainstream political arena, to have a clear program for change and to promote it vigorously. We have come out of the convention with a confirmed overall strategy and several specific policy decisions about managing the downsizing of traditional energy and diversifying the economy with full employment, in line with the inescapable need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions locally and globally.
We had the benefit of the contributions of several friends and allies in the environmental and other mass movements in the discussion at the convention. Inevitably, we had to address the issue of what should be our attitude towards the NDP government of Alberta. Although we can and do criticize them where they fall short – capitulation to tar sands and pipeline corporate interests is a striking example – we also recognize what they have done to improve working conditions and human rights in Alberta. And we must never lose sight of the far greater threat posed by the United Conservative Party (UCP), led by the far-right Jason Kenney, which would be catastrophic for human rights and workers’ rights, and worse still for the environment and the economy.
The next Alberta election will take place in 2019, and Communists will be on the ballot in Edmonton and Calgary.
Another main focus of the convention was peace work and the potential for greater involvement in both Edmonton and Calgary in developing connections with other activists. Building and revitalizing the peace movement is vital at a time when the US is demanding that Canada and other NATO countries raise military spending to four percent of GDP.