Of all the ways to become politically active, joining and participating in the work of a constituency association is perhaps the most direct and rewarding. You will have close access to your MLA or the potential candidates in your community. This makes it one of the best “gateways” to becoming more politically involved, including running for office yourself. Working actively for the constituency association also means that you can tackle the issues that most affect your community. You may well have valuable networking possibilities with important community stakeholders.
Participating in a constituency association is also essential to becoming more active in a political party. It shows loyalty and helps you gain influence with other party members. Moreover, involvement at the constituency level is crucial to understanding how a party operates. Many of the rules around candidate nomination, for example, are complicated. Participating in a constituency association will help you to understand the process, whether you are supporting another candidate or running as a candidate yourself.
If you choose to join a constituency association of the governing party, you greatly increase your chances of being selected to serve on a government-appointed agency, board or commission. This is interesting and rewarding work. You could sit on a board of a postsecondary institution or a hospital, work on rural development issues or serve the charitable sector by becoming involved in an organization like the Wild Rose Foundation.
The first step in participating in a constituency association is to join the party. Next, find out what constituency you live in, information you can obtain by going to Elections Alberta’s website or calling 310-0000. All you need to know is your postal code.
All of the major Alberta political parties should have active associations in each of the province’s 83 constituencies. Contact the party and ask who the representative is for your local constituency. The representative should be able to tell you when the constituency association is holding its next meeting. The best time to get involved is between elections when party politics has calmed down, and you might well be able to secure an influential position in your local association.
If your community doesn’t have an active constituency association, you should be able to start one. The party is likely to encourage your efforts given that its strength in elections depends on its strength in every part of Alberta.
Participating in a constituency association is a rewarding experience. It’s where the grassroots work of politics happens. Such participation also decides the fate of anyone—from the eager volunteer to the next premier—who has political aspirations.