Sunday, June 17, 2007

Is the Alberta Advantage Morphing Into the Alberta Angst

It has been quite a week and the next one is promising to be more interesting.
The spring legislative session has adjourned until November, after the pending municipal elections. It will be interesting to see if local politicians get some heat over this in the October municipal elections.

The tobacco control legislation made it to second reading in as many days. Time will tell if Big Tobacco gets organized over the summer and tries to scuttle this legislation in the fall sitting. Interesting story is coming out of the State of Vermont who is suing Big Tobacco and some UBC scientists who apparently did some industry funded smokeless tobacco research for the defendant. The scientists are running for cover and finding excuses to not testify in the trial saying they are “too busy” to find the research studies in question.

The by-elections in Calgary and Drumheller-Stettler have focused on Alberta’s urban growth issues and rural needs as well. Alberta is a different place today compared to 1993 when the Klein era started. The political focus of Alberta is changing too and we have more questions than answers ahead of us. We have a changing political culture emerging and many are nervous…including the Calgary boardrooms, the Fort McMurray residents, the Edmonton- Calgary corridor dwellers and forestry related communities in the face of the emerging crisis caused by climate change and the infestion of the mountain pine beetle.

There is an anxiety in Alberta that is growing as the province grows. We wrote on it in our LaPresse column this week that I will post on this Blog tomorrow. Alberta is feeling kind of like the trapeze artist who has to let go of one trapeze and accept and trust that the next one will be there to grab on to when we need it. We are in that in-between place where we have let go of the past but we are not sure what we are going to grab on to for the future.

The lack of adequate planning for the past 8 years and no anticipation of the necessary adaptations needed in Alberta all add to the angst. The next Alberta will be very different than the Klein era Alberta and that puts enormous pressure on Premier Stelmach who has had a rough ride for the past 6 months...some of it deserved.

Many Albertans are not that familiar with the new Premier. I have known Ed Stelmach for more than a decade. Based on my experiences with his ability and character and his commitment to Alberta, I believe he is the right kind of man to deal with the challenges of the next Alberta and will make the changes necessary to meet them head on.

All this is very important stuff. But today is Father’s Day and it is a time to celebrate for many and to remember for some of us. My Dad passed away a few days under four years ago. I remember him, I love him and I miss him: Happy Father’s Day Dad…Love from your son - Ken!