Raj Pannu graces U of C

By Ruth Davenport

Alberta’s smallest political party made big plans on the weekend.

The Alberta New Democrats held their 2001 Annual Convention in Calgary from Nov. 2-4. The convention focused on plans and policy making for the 2005 provincial election campaign.

Alberta NDP leader Raj Pannu outlined a clear direction for the party during his address to the convention.

"When social democratic parties are strong, democratic institutions can move mountains on
behalf of ordinary families," he declared. "The corporate power elites want the parliamentary process completely free of strong social democratic parties. We must not cede them this ground."

Federal NDP MPs attended and advocated proportional representation in the Alberta legislature.

"We feel that this province is approaching a real democratic crisis," said NDP Communications Offi-cer Simon Kiss. "The Tories got 90 per cent of the seats with 60 per cent of the vote, 40 per cent voted against the government and they were rewarded with nine seats in the legislature which is a total distortion."

Pannu agreed.

"We must get Albertans talking about ways to make their vote count," he said. "This province and its people are crying out for a credible alternative to the Tories."

Federal party leader Alexa McDonough was also on hand to address and congratulate the delegation for their focus and enthusiasm.

"I think your challenge is pretty clear," she said. "We have to ensure that all those progressive students and radical seniors who gathered on the steps of the legislature to fight for their beliefs are represented after the next election in Alberta, not just outside, but inside the legislature."

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