2021 AGM Leader's Speech
The following is the speech given by Interim Leader John Roggeveen to the 2021 Alberta Liberal Party AGM
Thank you, everyone, for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here today.
You are critical to our party's future success.
This is a time for us to celebrate what makes us Liberals — and why we need to get MLAs back into the Legislature.
As Liberals, we believe in individual freedom. Freedom to be ourselves, pursue our dreams and strive for success as we, ourselves, define it.
We also believe in opportunity. Meaningful opportunity. The opportunity that allows us to make our own choices. Opportunity without unfair barriers.
We know that freedom and opportunity for all will lead to prosperity.
Prosperity defined by a sustainable world and fulfilling lives for everyone.
That, to me, is the essence of what makes us Liberals.
That's the message that we need to bring to our fellow citizens. That's the message we need to talk to other Albertans about.
So, as a party, we have a mission.
We must listen to our fellow citizens and have conversations with them about how we can make Alberta a place where they can fulfil their dreams, pursue their passions, and live full, happy and prosperous lives.
We must convey to Albertans what we can achieve by getting Alberta Liberals back in the Legislature.
Winning seats in the Legislature would give us a seat at the table in the conversations about Alberta's present and future.
The type of honest and productive conversations missing in Alberta politics right now.
Today, it seems that the UCP and NDP are treating politics not as a conversation but as a sport.
I love hockey and football as much as the next Albertan. And I can't wait for Edmonton or Calgary to win the Grey Cup or the Stanley Cup again.
But politics isn't sports, and we've got to stop treating it like it is.
I'm not talking about being a pushover.
We can be firm in our beliefs and still have a reasonable conversation about building a better Alberta.
Some so many people feel left out of today's political conversation. They aren't satisfied with this polarized political environment. They want a political option focused on helping them, not fighting the other guy.
They need a political home.
They need a voice.
That's our job right now as Alberta Liberals—to turn down the temperature, dial back the rhetoric and find the people who are sick of the fighting and that just want to address the challenges we're facing.
We need to have conversations about what it means to build opportunity for every Albertan.
We need to talk about building a future for our economy beyond the foundation laid by the oil patch.
We need a conversation about how we can take advantage of the growing diversity in our province and build on it.
We need a conversation about meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
We need to address the challenges facing our public healthcare system.
We need to make sure we're delivering a world-class education for students of all ages.
We need to think more than four years ahead.
We need to ask: "What does Alberta's best future look like, and how do we get there?"
In the New Year, we'll be electing the next leader of the Alberta Liberal Party. I don't know who that person is yet, but I'll tell you what I hope they are like.
I hope that person embodies things we aren’t seeing today's leaders.
An Albertan with strong Liberal values.
Someone willing to listen to others.
Someone willing to cooperate and collaborate.
Someone respectful of others, even those they disagree with..
In short, someone who can have honest conversations with Albertans about making our province better for all of us, not someone who governs on behalf of wealthy friends or special interests.
For this leader to succeed, it's going to take all of us. We need to build a party together that can support that Leader.
So we have a job to do.
The job isn't just to find our next leader.
It's to find our next leaders-plural.
Let's find the leaders in our communities.
The ones who don't see politics as a sport and understand that leaders' job is to make a difference - for everyone.
Find those people. Let them know they have a home here in the Alberta Liberal Party.
When talking with friends and family over the Holidays, ask them to get involved.
Our job together isn't just to find our next leader-it's to find the next 100 leaders.
We need leaders who will join the new, revitalized Alberta Liberals -- decent, caring and forward-thinking people who will stand up for our beliefs and strive to make Alberta better.
That, I'm sure, will inspire others to join us.