Another reason I'm proud to be in the Alberta Party
I try to be pretty careful when tiptoeing through party politics. Not that I’m really afraid to offend anyone, more so because I’ve never really fit into party politics before.
I’ve never bought a membership to be a part of any particular party before last December. I’ve stood on the sidelines and cheered. I voted somewhat consistently according to my values. As I’ve said before, I’m generally lumped into the red Tories, but the line gets awfully blurry.
I will happily admit I have previously voted PC. But I felt the PC Party made me unwelcome when the Klein cuts started in the early 90’s. I’ve been driven further and further away as I’ve felt I’ve had less and less influence in government. Not that I ever particularly had any influence whatsoever, to be honest, but I’ve felt that even raising any of my concerns left me brushed aside or mocked by those in power. What started as a protest vote against the cuts became cemented as a vote to state, “They do not represent my views any longer.”
Someone along the line used a great term: I had been parking my vote with the Liberals until something better came along. Truthfully, I threw away my vote on independents or whomever I could along the way, but in practical terms that usually meant knowingly voting Liberal futilely. I even may have voted NDP when Bob Hawkesworth was running provincially, but the timing seems funny and I’m probably thinking of when he ran for Alderman.
There was no question that I looked long and hard at the Wildrose, particularly after the election of Danielle Smith as leader. I liked the populist approach, I appreciated they were willing to call out bad legislation as such and they stood up for solid values. I’m a little uncomfortable with their health care policy and I don’t fit well with a socially conservative stance for the most part. Nonetheless, I’m more willing to support someone I disagree with who will openly debate me.
What turned me off was the black and white characterizations. Ms. Smith’s take on Ms. Redford’s election is equal parts congratulatory and accusatory. Perhaps Ms. Smith hopes to never be elected and have her turn to inherit full responsibility for those messes. I hear it’s a horrible job to have to clean up.
Happily for me, the Alberta Party came along at a great time. In the Calgary Herald / Edmonton Journal forum the question was asked if the Alberta Party would fold with the PC’s led by Redford. Frankly, I don’t believe so. The Alberta Party is not a reaction to Progressive Conservative discontent, it’s a response that democracy in Alberta as a whole needs renewal. The Alberta Party has formed it’s policy and principles not in response to the PC Party, but instead in response to the Albertans we have heard through our Big Listen. It’s been successful, so much so that listening to Albertans has become the cliche of the day.
There’s no doubt, I have laid out a challenge to Ms. Redford myself. From my own personal experience I have reason to doubt her sincerity and ability to fairly and objectively listen to viewpoints differing from her own. I hope and expect a better experience in the future. I think that we are watching warily for change in the government’s direction and will actively help foster change for the better. We are not willing to just accept that a new leader will inevitably lead to positive change in government. Our government.
I’m most grateful to follow the lead of Danielle Klooster. She has masterfully found the balance I’ve been searching for between accepting the best Ms. Redford has to offer with the steadfastness of sticking with her own principles. I met Danielle this past week, I hope I mentioned how much I appreciate the example she sets for me. Just another one of the fantastic people the Alberta Party has attracted.
Lastly, even though I’ve challenged Ms. Redford, I’m more than willing to accept and applaud good ideas. Good ideas do not come solely from the Alberta Party and we are open to finding and implementing the very best for our province. Under Ms. Redford’s leadership the PC’s are about to take on some important and much overdue improvements to education, health care, politician recompense, and hopefully AISH. Should she find success I will applaud every improvement.
I don’t pretend to know anything special. I don’t allege to be smarter than anyone. I do know that the PC Party has been on a course I’ve been unwilling to follow for 20 years and that cannot turn on a dime. Tomorrow, like today, I’ll keep working to try to make this place a little bit better than it was before. In my own way, according to my own principles and cornerstones.