CALGARY -- While members of the United Conservative Party participated in the annual general meeting in northeast Calgary, residents opposed to the Kenney government staged a rally outside.

The gathering, which consisted of about 800 protesters from across the public sector waved signs placards saying "no more cuts," "I love public education," and "united nurses of Alberta."

Organizers say the crowds are opposed to proposed funding cuts and layoffs that have resulted from the recent government budget.

"Pain for gain isn’t what we need to do right now. We need to make sure we reverse those cuts, make sure things are funded appropriately so our most vulnerable in the province aren’t affected by it,” said Stephanie Quesnel, rally organizer and teacher with the Calgary Board of Education.

Meanwhile, inside the Westin Hotel by the Calgary International Airport, party faithful took part in the governance and policy plenary session.

"There’s a lot of change happening now in the province of Alberta. We’ve got a strong mandate to get our budget back to balance. We’re taking those steps now it's reasonable and measured," said Doug Schweitzer, MLA for Calgary-Elbow and justice minister.

"You know what, people still have the right to have their voices heard and they can do that outside right now."

Quesnel said she did not have any conversations with any UCP members, but says the size of the crowd sends a strong message.

“We will be heard. Albertans have spoken, they don’t want these cuts, they want these services preserved.”

The policy session continues through the afternoon discussing a fair deal for Alberta and leader’s speech with Jason Kenney Saturday evening.

The conference continues Sunday.