Graham Thomson makes a series of good points in his column today. Why buy a PC membership to participate in the leadership selection process? This is a fundamental question underscoring the current leadership campaign for each and every candidate and each and every eligible Albertan. I am encouraged that the Doctors are seeing the significance of this process and starting to engage. The teachers are quietly there already. The disability community is getting engaged and focused. The evangelical Christians and the Preston Manning old line Reformers are clearly in the game. Environmentalists are forming coalitions and will soon be making their move to influence the outcome. The Arts and Culture as well as Sport and Recreational people are getting their acts together wanting to be sure their agenda is given some priority. Municipalities are focused as well. Post secondary students and school boards and parents have issues and are starting to organize and are looking at ways to getting their messages out to candidates. A powerful group of community and aboriginal leaders held a new conference recently to focus on the shortcoming of the education system on aboriginal education. They will be exerting political force as well. PC Leadership Candidate Dave Hancock wa the only politician at the news conference, sad but not surprising given he the author of the Alberta Aboriginal Policy Framework.
In the end the best way to make it happen is to buy a membership, find the candidate whose platform, principles and character best aligns with your aspirations and concerns. Then help promote that candidate’s campaign by telling your friends, colleagues and contacts why you support him or her. Finally show up and cast your ballot accordingly. Everything else is theory, posturing or positioning. Voting makes it all happen.
A lot has already been said in the conventional media and political Blogs, including this one, about the significance of this “opportunity” to pick the next PC leader, a fine thing indeed. More importantly the process selects the nest Premier…someone who could have the next 2 years of Klein’s mandate to rework Alberta into his or her “own image.” There is no compelling need to for any new party leader go to an early election. Many feel it would be a waste of money and add to the political uncertainty of the province and the country. The likelihood of any perpetrator of a cynical political pre-emptive election strike, in Alberta or Canada, will result in the party who causes it, being punished at the polls. Today Graham brings it all into focus for us again…especially since the campaign has now really started and the public will begin to pay more attention.
I only quibble with Graham’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion about maybe not participating and just letting the two years lapse. The idea is to have the PC party “bash away at each other” as some kind of political sporting event until the next election. This may be fun for journalists but it is much too dangerous a strategy for our future stability and progress as a province. Albertans should engage and make a conscious and informed decision as to our future. That, to my mind, is a much more practical an enlightened approach for our own individual and collective good.
We must be vigilant and careful who we choose because who we select will, in no small way, go a long way to defining Alberta and what it means to be Albertan – at least for the remainder of this mandate A lot of good, or a lot of evil can be done in the two years until the next election.
So bring on the special interests groups and let them get involved. In a democracy we always get the kind of government we deserve because it is our individual participation in our free and open collective choices that generates the end result. The world is still run by those who show up. If you’re ready will and able to “show up” – I have memberships available at firstname.lastname@example.org and for $5 will be happy to facilitate your positive act of citizenship.