Liberal David Gamble believes the Alberta Liberal Party has a window of opportunity to rebound and fill the large gap on the political spectrum between the UCP and NDP.
The former Liberal candidate says the marriage of the Progressive Conservatives (PC) and Wildrose Party is cracking under the strain of attempting to merge two parties with very different approaches to governing.
"The new right and the old right don't match," says Gamble. "This is not your parents' Conservatives here. There's a very different set of goals, objectives, and culture."
He acknowledges there are major differences between PCs and Liberals, but believes they can work together in the same party.
"It's very clear that the province is PC, and PCs are traditionally very similar to Liberals, so there's no question there is a connection that we need to explore as a province," says Gamble. "I think there will be a great opportunity for a Liberal party to grow again with the two extremes we have right now in the province."
Speaking in advance of the Alberta Liberals' annual general meeting on Dec. 4, he believes this is the time for Liberals to return after finding shelter in the NDP and the Alberta Party.
"I think this is the right time for the party to start growing again. It's just a question of whether it will be this election, the next one, or the one after where the party will manage to grow the way it needs to. It really comes down to choosing the right leader, the right team, and properly building momentum."
He says Albertans aren't content with the UCP government and are looking at other options.
"I think the vast majority of people are asking themselves what they want out of a government. They're not very happy with what they're getting provincial, for sure, and a lot of that has to do with the treatment of COVID."
"COVID kind of exposed the difficulties of putting two very different parties together. Jason Kenney is having to hold on to that power which has been very tenuous with the public statements of incompetence and his inability to lead."
Despite the NDP currently leading in the polls, he believes that party isn't the right fit for the average Albertan.
"I would say based on their last attempt at government, I felt that they were very timid, they weren't willing to make changes or big choices, and the things they did choose were very ideological and further to the left than what would be typical in Alberta."
Tomorrow, the Alberta Liberals will be electing their new board. It will be followed by a leadership race at some point in the New Year, likely after the Fort McMurray byelection.
"There are a number of people who want to be a leader, and that will bring credibility. Other parties having leadership races with no candidates or very few is generally a bad sign."