Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Time for Rethinking and Reforming How Albertans Govern Themselves

I just read an interesting blog post by Sue Huff. She is a School Trustee with the Edmonton Public School Board and, obviously, a Blogger. She has just posted a thoughtful and practical piece on the controversy surrounding the recent comments by Minster Evans and MLA Doug Elniski. I really like her comments - because she agrees with my own views.

She ponders in her post about the impact these politicians who were "speaking their minds" will have on political discourse in our democracy. Will party discipline trump free speech? Will focus group tested safe messaging replace personal opinions of politicians? Will our governing class become incurious about new ideas? Will politicinas get spooked and become insecure in their values and beliefs? Will they respond by retreating to a political foetal position in the face of the realities of new media?

Sue Huff exemplifies the kind of leadership and trusteeship I was calling for in my paper presented to about 250 Alberta school trustees at the recent Alberta School Boards Association Summer General Meeting. In the paper entitled "A Contented Oyster Never Made a Pearl" I called up school School Trustees to take a leadership role in rethinking and reforming how we govern ourselves. She gets it and her recent blog post is all the proof you need to support that conclusion.

I think we need a more mature governance model in the face of Alberta's declining democracy. Sue makes a reinforcing point when she speaks about "The voting process in Alberta seems shallow to me; people vote for whoever showed up at their door, the party their family has always voted for, based on a 1/4 page flyer or the recommendation of a friend who is deemed 'up' on politics." We elect our governors. If we do a bad job in choosing who we grant our consent to govern us to, who is really to blame?

Citizens of Alberta have to re-imagine their place and what is accepted practice for politicans in our representative democracy. I applaud the kind of "unguarded" personal thoughts we have recently seen from two Alberta politcians. They have created forums for a broader and deeper discussion about Alberta society. For me it's all about free speech. I say use it wisely or lose it to mediocrity or mendacity!