Thursday, June 14, 2007

Calgary By-election Just a Tremour on the Very Shaky and Volatile Political Ground in Alberta These Days

The messages from the Calgary by-election have been heard by Ed Stelmach. Kevin Taft is being circumspect over the implications of the Liberal victory. Mainstream journalists have done a fine job of providing some context on the by-election results. Look hear, and hear for some good examples.

There is a denouement period now and some speculations on political futures starting to run amok. It will not be a surprise to see as much as a 40% turnover in the legislature from MLA retirements in the coming election. A 25% turnover is pretty usual and with leadership changes one can expect some more changes in the candidates.

What is equally as important as who is going to run is what policy issues will they run on in terms of platform for the next election? We Albertans need to address so many issues that have been neglected in the past as well as those emerging and in full bloom due to growth pressures.

My guess is the next election in Calgary will be more like Edmonton where the candidate has to win their seats on merit, organization and hard work. That has not been the case in Calgary for PC candidates in recent years. But that is changed and the Calgary candidates are beginning to understand that. Calgarians can expect provincial politicians to be knocking on doors starting this summer even with an election being as much as up to a year away.

Citizens can take back the political process and create some changes in how it works and who is involved particularly at election time. There was a big attitude change heralded almost 3 years ago in the last municipal elections when some 40% of incumbent candidates were defeated. The writing is on the wall for the up coming provincial election. Candidates, incumbents in particular, had better start re-earning our respect and trust right now if they hope to win again. Just positioning for the next election with promises and platitudes with no commitment to viable long range planning is not going to cut it.

Citizens are not a happy lot these days and whan to be assured that they can get the kind of government they want and need. Just look at all the changes in recent provincial elections aroudn the country. Alberta is even more volatile due to growth pressures – no doubt about it...the times they are a'changin.'