Well, after an hour of AGM debate that can be called "exuberant", the executive of the PC Association of Alberta was reminded, quite overwhelmingly, that the membership as a whole of the party is the final authority on all things party-related. Interesting concept, that the party membership be in charge of the party - and also, it would seem, a quite unexpected reminder, as far as the Executive's reaction can be gagued. With an overwhelming majority, the executive board's decision to increase the membership fee for the Association from $5 to $10 was shot down.
Whether or not this is wise remains to be seen... but the more pressing reality is that the party membership itself is feeling the blood flow once again, and flexing its muscle when it sees what it considers to be autocratic, top-down rule. In essense, a response to "arrogant presumption" (more on that in a later post).
Listening to Premier Stelmach speak (he ended just minutes ago), one gets the impression that this man certainly knows that the role of this party as Government is not only a priviledge, but a responsibility. I certainly hope that the body politic of the party recognizes this as well, because as recent events in both the recent Federal Election (especially in Ontario and Quebec) and the provincial election in Quebec show, the presumption of the "right to govern unopposed" is being shown the door. The concept of protest vote is back in vogue, and in its heartland of Alberta, the Tories must tread carefully to avoid becoming the new SoCreds. Premier Stelmach, as I said, seems to realize this. As for the rest of the party - only time will tell. But, as one of the lesser known Feregni Rules of Acquisition states: "Expand or Die". In this instance, the expansion must also add evolution, as a failure to evolve in response to a changing world surely results in a bad ending.