24. September 2012 04:14
I received an email August 11th that I was unprepared for.
It was a simple, one liner. "Would I be interested in letting my name stand for the Alberta Party Board?" I had some concerns.
Foremost is that I have very publicly questioned the effectiveness, the equitability, and the very operation of the Alberta Maintenance Enforcement Program. I believe it is broken, our divorce laws urgently need upgrading and the government remains 30 years behind our circumstance. We need to have a serious, comprehensive discussion and to fix not simply the problems with money, but with access, with the high cost of divorce, with the willingness to retain a contentious system at large.
I am not driven by a single issue, but I clearly have an interest in getting an issue fixed. I am open about it, I believe we need a society-wide conversation and we need to find better answers. However I'm much more than a single issue, and I'd hate to have the Alberta Party unfairly painted into a corner on account of my preoccupation.
My second concern is one of time and emphasis. Where do I wish to focus my energies? Local or on a provincial scale? I am bound firm and constant to the local. My friends are my neighbours, my neighbours are my friends. Do I wish to go beyond my neighbourhood?
And what of time? I chose 2016 because my eldest will be 18, my youngest will be 15. How much time will I be willing to give away in the meanwhile?
My third concern is a question of resources. I can't offer a lot, I do not have a lot of reserve to fall back upon. That is actually part of the reason I'm trying to make things better.
In discussions, I was convinced the first would never matter because my solution to the MEP issues lies in discourse, based in finding equity and effectiveness for all parties. Time was never answered, and whether I could focus locally and provincially at the same time remained a concern. I remain a member of the Alberta Party Builder's network, apparently I remain above average and I'm happy to stay right where I am. Yes, yes I would be willing to stand.
So the list of candidates came out and, to my surprise, I wasn't on it. I should have asked up front, I guess. I was put forward from the floor, we voted, and I lost.
I thank everyone who voted for me, I also thank everyone who did not vote for me. My mother firmly believed that everything happens for a reason. Yesterday I saw 28 people stand up and say firmly and clearly that we are not willing to quit trying to make things better, we are dedicated to working towards a progressive future, and we are bound and determined to do things differently, to do things better. Best of all, we were promised that every board meeting would be open to members and that, board member or not, we would all participate and our ideas would all be used to advance the Alberta Party.
I saw around 100 people recommit to the Big Listen. We had wonderful arguments about how to best reach our objectives while still obeying our own rules. The magical part was that, in the end, the final resolution was forged stronger than before and we are well served. We had our nail biting moment when the elephant in the room was addressed; every hand in my view supported working to maintain party status. We attended in order to get back to work, not to bury something special that we love.
So I was freed from the responsibilities of the board and can trust 25 other wonderful, talented people - no, friends - to take care of directing us with my whole-hearted support. I have already started work for Calgary East and will continue. Because I love my neighbourhood, and because I love Alberta. We aren't shedding even a fibre of our principles, we are weaving an even more fantastic fabric with all the richness and diversity of Alberta itself.
Look for more Alberta Party Big Listens coming soon. I can promise that, I'll be organizing at least one of my own.