Membership in one political party should not require membership in another.

Albertans who want to join the Alberta NDP should get to decide if they also want to become a member of the federal NDP.

Membership in one political party should not require membership in another. Albertans who want to join the Alberta NDP — and so many of them are excited to join us in shaping our future — should get to decide if they also want to become a member of the federal NDP.

I joined the Alberta NDP in 2018 because I believe in its values: a strong commitment to public healthcare and education, a pragmatic approach to governing, and a force for compassion, hope and optimism. The Alberta NDP was – and continues to be – a champion for the continued success of our province on everything from climate change to equity to economic growth.

When I first bought a membership, I was surprised to learn that by doing so, I automatically became a member of a federal political party, the federal NDP. I had never held a membership in any federal political party before that time, and in 2018, there were already many issues on which I could see a real difference between the positions of the Alberta NDP and the federal NDP.

Many current Alberta NDP members support the federal NDP. Many do not.

Some support other federal political parties, and some do not support any.

Each member should be able to make that choice for themselves. Our party should not decide for them, and it should not be a requirement that you are a member of the federal NDP to support Alberta’s NDP.

In running for leader, my goal is to build an inclusive party, one that supports opportunity for all of us. So many Albertans share our values, and we should welcome their participation. We limit our ability to grow our party and to bring more Albertans in by forcing a federal political party affiliation on them.

The decision to make joining the federal NDP a choice, rather than a requirement, of membership in the Alberta NDP is ultimately the decision of party members, not the leader of the party.

But it is time to start the conversation. I believe it shouldn’t matter how long you’ve been a member or whether you support a federal party or stay out of federal politics altogether. What matters is you’re here to be part of this movement to build Alberta.

Let’s break down barriers to participation. Let’s offer choice, let’s grow our party and let’s write the next chapter in Alberta’s story.