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Monday, February 18, 2008

What Question Do You Want to Ask Alberta's Party Leaders in the Debate?

Kim Trynacity of the CBC will be one of the media panellists for the Alberta Election Debates to be televised on all networks this Thursday at 6:30 pm. On the CBC website she asked Albertans to suggest questions she should ask the leaders in the debate. The suggestions started rolling in on the Comments part of her Reporter’s Notebook on the CBC site.

Daveberta, Aaron Braaten and I will be blogging on the debate for the CBC website on Thursday night. I will be doing some commentary for the CBC on the debate and on-line commentary for the CBC on election night as well.

Reading the submitted questions on Kim's Notebook, I as struck by the range, complexity and context of the question suggestions in 2 days show me just how tough the life as a politician can be. We need to attract our best and brightest into public life. We need to quit degrading and debasing all politicians in gratuitous ways…but hold them strictly accountable and insist on performance. I know my cynical readers will be rolling their eyes by now. They will take the same stance towards politicians as the old lawyer joke that said it was 99% of lawyers that gave the rest a bad name.

If we continue devalue democracy by not participating in the political life of our province, and if we continue to debase our political representatives by cheap personal affronts we all suffer in the end.

For the most part this campaign has been more on issues than personalities. The critics who liken politics to a hardball blood sport are suggesting the issues are getting attention because of the “uninspiring personalities” of the political leaders in Alberta. I am OK with that because I think charisma-based populists politics is over rated. And before you ask, no Obama is not a charisma-based populist politician. He is much more than that – he is a transformative force of nature.