Alberta’s PCs are in the penalty box.
That’s the message from interim Alberta Progressive Conservative party leader Ric McIver, speaking at Thursday night’s PC Alberta Calgary Leader’s Dinner.
“When we sat on the player’s bench, there was a lot more of us around,” he said.
Over 1,500 people packed the Telus Convention Centre to hear McIver’s remarks, preceded by former party leader Jim Prentice, his first speaking engagement since his election-night resignation as party leader and MLA for Calgary-Foothills.
“Albertans were determined to send us a message in this election,” Prentice said.
“In response, I say ‘message received.’ ”
Prentice accepted responsibility for his party’s historic loss, saying he will live with the decisions he made for the rest of his life — including the controversial early election call.
“The purpose of the election was to equip Alberta’s government with the moral authority to do what needs to be done,” he said.
“I won the leadership of our party last summer, but the Alberta public did not at that time confer the authority on me to do any of the things that were outlined in the fiscal and strategic plan we tabled in the Legislative Assembly this March.”
As for his resignation, Prentice said it was time for the party to move forward.
“Under the circumstances, I don’t feel that there is much more I can contribute as a member of the legislative assembly,” he said.
“It is for that reason, coupled with the fact that my presence would serve as a distraction for the party, and arguably for the province, that I should not sit as the MLA for Calgary-Foothills.”
McIver, who took the stage to a standing ovation, acknowledged his party’s accomplishments over its 44-year reign, but said they had nobody to blame but themselves for how the May 5 ballot turned out.
“We were too quick to blame others, and too slow to take responsibility ourselves,” he said.
“We were too quick to defend our friends and too slow to stand with ordinary Albertans — what Ralph Klein called ‘severely normal Albertans.’ ”