My commitment is to frame this blog around Citizenship, Ownership and Stewardship in Alberta and Canada. It is so easily accomplished when I look at the volunteer work being done in the spirit of those principles by a group of citizens coming together in the Reboot Alberta movement.
The Reboot Alberta Launch in November 2009 was an overwhelming success and a unique political experience in citizenship for most, if not all, of the participants. People with a progressive personal philosophy came to Reboot Alberta at their own expense and on their own time. They came to explore some ideas about how to change the political culture and improve democracy in Alberta.
Reboot participants decided amongst themselves what they wanted to discuss and they self-selected how and where they wanted to participate in the conversations. The result was not chaos and cacophony. It was all about people being reflective, thoughtful and respectful as they listened and shared with each other. It was about authentic conversations, and as one participant noted, "Conversations are game-changers."
The event created a citizen's movement that has taken off and is now creating a life of its own. It is based on citizen engagement with people parking their cynicism about politicis and then coming back to participate in the political culture of the province. Some Rebooters want to start a new party. Others want to enhance the impact and effectiveness of civil society organizations on the political culture of the province. Others want to change the existing political parties and institutions to a more progressive mindset. Others are simply individual citizens who want to be better informed and more active in how they undertake their responsibility of citizenship.
The well worn cliches that "politics is all about perception" and "all politics are local" are being revived and taking on a renewed sense of reality because of Reboot. When individuals come to realize that their citizenship is more than about their rights, it also has an individual responsibility aspect, then the "local" nature of politics now becomes "personal." When individuals are starting to rethink their feelings about their government and how they are being governed, then the perceptional reality about politics becomes more personal too.
Citizens are starting to pay attention to politics again. They are seeing unacceptable things being done by THEIR government by the people THEY elected, or allowed to be elected becasue they could not be bothered to vote. When citizens come to realize those political decisions are not being made to serve the best interests of the public but rather to enhance or sustain the personal power interests of political leaders, political parties and the politicians, something snaps and people start pressing for change.
For progressive Albertans who are joining the Reboot Alberta movement, part of what has "snapped" is the realization that it is OUR government and what they do is in OUR NAME. After all we elected them and in a democracy you always get the government your deserve. When we elect a government we give our CONSENT for those chosen politicians to use their best judgement to make decisions on our behalf about the serious issues we face as a province.
When we see the decisions being made based on the pure preservation of political power and that trumps good government and democracy, we have to respond as citizens and press for change. We need to take back the political responsibility part of our citizenship. What does that mean and what does it look like for progressive minded Albertans? Reboot Alberta's launch started to frame the new questions we need to ask and set up a process to seek some new answers.
The first question the Reboot movement want explored was "What does it mean to be a Progressive in a 21st century Alberta?" A number of people in the movement have taken the time to share their thoughts on that question. The Reboot Alberta website as a link to those provocation papers. I encourage you to login to Reboot Alberta, read the the papers and comment as you see fit. Reboot will no longer allow anonymous or username comments. Engaged and effective citizenship demands courage of conviction and a new openness. Otherwise abuses, fear, and intimidation will continue to be used as political weapons against individuals and organzations to demand compliance to serve the personal political ends of those in power.
If you are intrigued, encouraged or just curious about what you see in Reboot Alberta, then register here and come to the next event in K-country Feb 26-28. I guarantee you will meet some of the most interesting people in Alberta from all over the province. They will be from all walks of life, ages, interests and experiences. They will come from every kind of community and with a common hankering to share their experiences and stories as citizens of Alberta. I can assure you at Reboot Alberta 2.0 you will be part of conversations with ordinary Albertans who have some of the most inspirational and aspirational stories imaginable - all focused on creating a better future for Alberta.
There truth is there is good news and bad news about the future of Alberta. The good news is we have all the pieces in place to not just be one of the best places in the world, we have the capacity to be one of the best places for the world. The bad news is, we as Albertans, will have to do the hard work to design and deliver a different sense of what is means to be an Albertan from what we have today. We need to change a lot of things currently going on in the governance, politics, economy, environment and how we serve the public interest if we are going be successful in defining and pursuing such a vision.
If you want to be proud Alberta again then join Reboot Alberta. Reassert yourself . Dust off your citizenship and become part of the Reboot Alberta movement. Reboot is all about Albertans being intent on recreating a province that we can all be part of - and proud of once again.