My Alberta Party hopes - move forward.

by Mark Zaugg 31. July 2012 13:45

 I wasn't ready to write a blog on the Alberta Party yet.

My good friend, Glenn Taylor, has resigned as the leader of the new Alberta Party.

First, I'm sorry Glenn.  I've done my best, if I had the resources I'd love to be able to dedicate enough so that Glenn could work full time without stress on building something that this province desperately needs.  I consider you a close and personal friend and I will stand beside you in whatever we tackle in the times ahead.

Secondly, I want to address some of the discussion that's been formed since the last election.  According to some, the Alberta Party has already folded and faded from the electorial map.  According to others, it never existed.

With Ms. Redford's election as leader of the PC Party, there has been much conversation that they have sucked the void the Alberta Party hoped to fill.  I have no difficulty saying that although Ms. Redford's policies somewhat align with policy the Alberta Party has brought forward, I do not support her government and will continue to advocate for change, more forward thinking, more attentive attitudes and behaviours towards Albertan citizens and more respect paid from the government to the people it is supposed to serve.

Alberta has been poorly served with a big tent party where discussion is meted out according to the wishes of it's leader.  Alberta has suffered when our government has shied away from difficult discussions when it endangered how the government is viewed and when it risked future election prospects.

Social justice demands that difficult discussions take place.  It remains crucial that we have fair and open conversations about policy.  The Redford led government is every bit as guilty as the Stelmach led government before it and the Klein led government before it of passing laws and setting policy that has not been discussed and reviewed thoroughly to examine the full effects.  AISH recipients left to scramble to survive.  Distracted driving legislation, or the 0.05 BAC legislation that does little to encourage safer driving but does much to create an environment of fear with more laws that are extremely difficult to enforce.  We have better means at our disposal, but they are NOT being talked about in public discourse.

Good economic policy demands that difficult discussions take place.  We need to proceed beyond a reliance upon oil and gas revenues for many reasons.  We have no Heritage Fund to speak of, we've had a government of spendaholics who cry poor when revenues dip.  We need sustainable financial planning and we haven't had it for 25 years.  As a fiscal conservative, it makes my heart cry.

Alberta has been very poorly served when only one party is seen to be capable of governing and the wings of the party wrestle back and forth for control of the agenda for the next four or eight or twelve years.  We need discussions about budgets, about environmental monitoring, about expenditures, about government programs opened up and we need to hear from every Albertan.  It is not happening now, it will happen with the Alberta Party because the Alberta Party is built upon it.

We knew that the Alberta Party was not going to be a pied piper and have the rest of the province accepting our message.  We have to prove it and sustain our message of positive action and open discussion.  That's going to be very hard work, particularly difficult without a single Alberta Party MLA elected in the past election.

But my discontent remains, I am not heard by Ms. Redford nor her government and I must look for better solutions that I can believe in.

I hereby formally announce my intention to run for the Alberta Party in 2016 in Calgary East and dedicate myself to listening to my neighbours and trying to present their opinions and concerns.  I may not be elected either, but we need to keep trying to find ways to advance open, public discussion.

Comments (5) -

7/31/2012 7:34:33 PM #

I applaud your decision!!!  I recently (like past 24hrs) signed up on the Alberta Party website to volunteer. I hope my offer of help is heard!!!  We DO need more accountability, and more transparency within our Government, and we need a Government that represents US, not their own interest. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need help, ideas, or support. TOGETHER change can be made. And some of the other parties out there scare the hell out of me...

Reiko Koyama Canada | Reply

7/31/2012 11:40:29 PM #

Sigh. How should I say this...? (Sorry if I'm hard to understand. I'm on Twitter if you'd like to talk directly)

I always liked the message of positive collaborative politics that the Alberta Party (ABparty) spreads and stands for, to the point that I volunteered for the party this past election. But, (and maybe it's just because of the disappointing results Alberta Party got in the election), after I've taken a step back, and forced to choose one party to give my vote to (ABparty wasn't an available choice), it seems that ABparty is lacking something; it's not good enough.

I think one way to describe what ABparty lacks, is that it attempts to propose new ideas and approaches, but it's (willingly or not) confined to the bounds/norms of our existing political system.

For example, with electoral reform, it's disappointing to see that the ABparty didn't explicitly support at least holding a citizens' assembly on reforming our outdated first-past-the-post system. That would've fit perfectly with the party's messages of collaboration and building consensus.

Another example comes from Glenn Taylor's responses to the Leaders' Debate. (And yes, I know that ABparty isn't leader-centric, but what he said still disappointed me.) Here's his quote: "The Parliamentary system is not based on referendums. We elect representatives to government, we can’t do anything as complex as running a province via yes or no questions." I can understand that Mr. Taylor might just be expressing his concerns with referendums, but the ridiculous way he put it, he seemed to be against the idea of letting citizens have more direct say in government matters. Which could be interpreted as him favouring our existing political system, where ultimately, power rests with the government, and where collaboration doesn't actually mean power-sharing with citizens.

So, it's really somewhat frustrating for me, to see that, ironically, that other party that so many people seem to fear, might actually be more, let's say, open to citizen empowerment and better democracy, than the Alberta Party.

Stratyos Canada | Reply

8/1/2012 2:48:18 AM #

You should say it however you wish to express yourself.  Particularly here.

Electoral reform was one of the basic planks of the Alberta Party platform.  How we express that principle and what the parameters we need to include in election reform is very dependent upon people just like you.  Get it into a Big Listen, filter it to the policy committee, express your views and be willing to discuss and defend your ideas.  Good ideas have always been welcomed.

I won't speak on behalf of Glenn directly, but I'll give my personal belief.  By the time an issue reaches a referendum it's far, far too late to have the meaningful discussions we need to collectively have.  We need to make the suggestions, the improvements and amendments, or express dissent long before we ever get to the stage of putting a Yes or No on a ballet.

The Alberta Party most certainly stands for more citizen involvement.  We insist that the involvement happen sooner than simply putting an x on a ballet, we want comprehensive involvement so we can be sure we fully represent constituent's views.

Everyone, agree or disagree, ought to be welcomed to every discussion.  True leadership involves being able to summarize all opinions and explain clearly why the final decision was made.

If you're concerned that your voice has not been heard well, tell me.  I want to be sure that we get this right, because citizen empowerment and a more representative democracy is the most important principle we face right now in this province.  If I don't get it right, be sure I explain why I hold my opinion and let's have the discussion together.

Mark Zaugg Canada | Reply

8/2/2012 1:37:56 AM #

If there are more Big Listens scheduled in the future, I'll make sure to try to attend one Smile
And I do agree with what you say about referendums, but I still hold my belief that popular votes like plebiscites and referendums should be allowed in a healthy democracy. The way I see it, in both ordinary government votes and popular votes, the ultimate decision still rests on a single Yes or No vote; the difference is about who makes the decision, and to an extent, who leads the suggestions/amendments before that vote is taken. (That said, I'm mostly basing this on what I've seen happen in my municipal government, particularly with LRT.)

Stratyos Canada | Reply

8/11/2012 3:02:24 AM #

Excellent comments.  I really hope Mark considers stepping up to an Alberta Party Board position.  We need writers like this.  

William Munsey Canada | Reply

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