Is there hope in Alberta Politics?

Posted: February 14, 2021 by Ty in Alberta Politics
Tags: , , ,

I will admit, my heart is raised a little in the ongoing free fall of the United Conservative Party with just shy of 2 years in office, the billions they have added to deficit/debt, the lack of response to aid citizens in a world wide pandemic, one scandal after another, one crisis after another, and the missteps, the constant barrage of negative change patterns to benefit the corporation not the citizen. The actual anti-thesis from lived experience in the New Alberta, and reporting, for the constitutional promise of Peace, Order and Good Governance. For some light reading on what got us to this point, and where we are at for those who do not toe the line of the party in power I suggest you read: The End of Alberta Conservatism, A Word to my Haters, and Laying it Out (for a quick primer). We are living, what the Wildrose Party (a source party for merger with the UCP), branded anger is (as one mentor of mine in ministry phrased it, he just could not see that much anger sustaining much good for the citizens). We are there. An election cycle in 2019, that saw the loudest voice in the room shape the life and economic recovery diversification discussion for a province, not one of vision and leadership, but rather of anger, fear, hate and a drive to reclaim what has once been.

The pitch worked. We are now living it.

I am not shocked where we are. My property was vandalized in many election cycles for not backing the anger. I have debated federal CPC candidates, who would not answer questions but simply read from their policy manual and repeat their then leader, Stephen Harper’s speeches. This is what came to Alberta for political discourse. In the local candidates forum, when the UCP candidate would not answer questions honestly–such as the opener as to why he personally wanted to represent our riding, he verbatim gave one of Jason Kenney’s speeches. A woman in the audience called him out, his party members started making threats, I raised my voice to call him and them out…the response from the moderator was silence for he could not understand why people wanted an answer. The response from the newly minted UCP faithful was to threaten my children, to state “we’ll fight you in the parking lot”. Some media spoke to me, I spoke honestly and from the heart as I always do about what engaged citizenship, and being an Albertan means to me and how this party and their behaviours were an anti-thesis to a healthy democracy, not much if any was published as the take was I was an “NDP Plant”, though my local incumbent could tell you I had not given any support to him.

See, there was change in 2015 with the NDP as the new governing party. Yet, the same challenge for me locally happened then, as with this new UCP MLA, neither of the MLA’s would respond to any communications. Mine in the NDP government was an anomaly, what I am hearing more from Albertans is with the UCP it is the normal practice. One should not have to only communicate with Cabinet Ministers, opposition MLA’s, or as one former colleague suggested, reach out to UCP MLA’s I used to work with to talk as they’d respond (the idea is based on a pre-existing relationship) which isn’t how our system is to function. An MLA is to respond to the citizens.

Then the litany of things to harm citizens, and why one asks? Is it blind ideology? Profiteering? All of the above? One thing is certain, with the constant barrage what it is designed to do, is strip away, or simply break one simple thing we need to thrive (instead of survive), that word: H-O-P-E. It is lost with a government whose actions are literally a threat to life, home and livelihood. Many are calling for our Premier Kenney to resign, that does not give me hope. He has a large caucus that has run roughshod without accountability, no, I do not want a leadership race to give this jalopy a fresh coat of paint before a snap election to continue the cycle. I want a one and done, with each of these incumbents to face the electorate on their record.

So is it hopeless in Alberta?

See, in the world of life recovery, which is where Alberta is in with this great shift away from oil and gas. It reminds me of the hard working person, that didn’t have to worry about budget or other things because they could always put in the overtime to make the gaps or cover the shortfalls, until that one day when either the over time or their physical ability was no longer there to do that. That is what our mismanaged citizen’s resource is at now.

Now it is a time, as the last gasp of the old oil oligarchs, as another colleague in Reboot Alberta, phrases it. Our quiet revolution in Alberta is not just about the last gasps of Christendom, but corporation control as well. See I find hope not just in the falling polling numbers of the UCP, I find hope in what this means for our political discourse heading to the election in 2023 (if Premier Kenney holds to the election law, sadly he can also do what PM Harper did in his tenure, and hold to the Constitution instead, which means 2024). Yes, with the way the televised debates are shaped it is looking like Mr. Kenney and Ms. Notley as we are currently a two-party province for elected representatives. But it is the other parties that can leverage the local. Strong locally involved community members and leaders, not parachutes, not just vote tick boxes for the leader’s office own personal electoral college. Let’s bring back the independence of the representative within the Westminster system.

Let the parties know you expect engaged and active candidates, encourage independent candidates as well. We have a chasm that needs to be healed in our province, we need to re-open dialogue with citizens and move beyond labels. This is the part smaller parties can play in engaging the citizens. Shaping the importnat discussions on policy for all Albertans and showing the spectrum of ideas out there to cultivate a move forward plan, a vision cast.

A plurarlity of seats for a plurality of parties and independents, released from party whips to see if they can actually work together. Build consensus, and work together to re-imagine and reboot Alberta for the next 100 years. Yes, I would love to see a few minority legislature terms as a palate cleanse from the 40 years of Tory Rule, and the toxicity of 2018-present (and yes, the passion and leadership to guide that minority I believe is Ms. Notley). One where public servants truly understand they serve at the pleasure of the constituents, but also where our Premiers, truly understand they serve not only at the pleasure of their party, but of their caucus and the gathered Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Essentially, break the echo chamber.

Create the courageous safe space to work together.

To dream and realize a new province.

These are the parties that have the ability to bridge the chasm, especially as many are in renewal of policy, rationales as to why they exist, in listening exercises on how to build connection and belonging, electing new leaders:

Alberta Liberal, Alberta Party , Green Party of Alberta , Communist Party of Alberta , Wildrose Independence Party

These are the active players on the board, outside the two. They have an opportunity to dream big, to empower local candidates, and to move our province forward by shaping the discussion at the local constituency association, local communities, local candidate forums a true grassroots up change factory.

The question is, is there enough energy for Albertans to engage with these parties, for the politically homeless to come to a home, and begin restoring, renovating and landscaping for the now, but also for seven generations from now?

Is there hope for and in Alberta politics? The power is within your community.

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