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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Feature Story on Reboot Alberta Supporter Fred Martin is Worth a Read

I met Fred Martin for coffee and a chat in anticipation of Reboot Alberta 2.0 at the end of February.  We talked a bit of shop as lawyers do but mostly we talked about the need for change in the political culture of Alberta.

Fred is part of the Reboot Alberta progressive citizen's movement.  We talked about what it meant to be a progressive in Alberta in the 21st century and how it had to be different from the values that dominated the 20th century. The new progressive movements that are forming in the States are grounded in the kinds of consciousness that was so much part of the social justice movements in the 1960s.  Fred Martin was there!

Fred is featured in the Edmonton Journal today around his personal involvement and commitment to social justice issues in the States back in the day and yes, even today.  Fred's story is worth a read.  It will help those of us already in the Reboot Alberta movement and others who are still at the curious stage to get a sense of what Reboot Alberta is about.  It is an emerging citizens movement intent on influencing the direction and destination of politics in Alberta.  It is not a political party. 

I don't remember who said that "History does not repeat itself.  It rhymes."  We can learn a lot from the values, commitment and socila justice experiences of citizens like Fred Martin.  What we learn is to build on past strengths and events but do not presume tomorrow  will be a repeat of yesterday.

Modernists, like the PC Party, and Traditionalists, like the Wildrose Alliance Party make that mistake all the time.  For example, PCs seem to be waiting for oil and gas prices to return and that will be enough to attract the same old kind of economic investments of the past.  The oilsands are the exception to such short term thinking because they are long term investments.  Oilsands companies as tenants and Albertans as resource owners have lots of work to do on the social and environment impacts of oilsands development. 

The WAP wants to return Alberta to an even older and even more inappropriate set of parternalistic authoritarian social values.  They want to take Alberta all the way back tothe 1950s where government, as the father who knows best, controls our morality and defines our society on an "Us versus Them" approach.  That old-style Tea-Party kind of anger and anguish comes from people who are longing for a time that is has outlived its usefullness and effectiveness decades ago. But they are becoming a force in Alberta's politics these days.      

Progressive values for the 21st century come from a place in the hearts and minds of people like Fred Martin.  Alberta is full of such people but we have to find each other and reactivate our responsibilities as citizens in some forceful and effective way.  Progressive Albertans have to reassert ourselves and return to activistists in the political culture of the province.  Progressive values and ideas are vital if we, as a people and a province, are ever going to realize our full potential in a responsible and sustainable way. 

Reboot Alberta is trying to facilitate that renewed sense of responsible citizenship in Alberta.  Check it out and join us in helping the next Alberta to become more than the last Alberta was.  Reboot Alberta is only 5 months old so give it some time to gel and get some focus. We know the value drivers of the Reboot Alberta movement members from a recent conjoint survey that will be published soon. A new survey of what Reboot Alberta should become is being circulated to current members and that will bring some clarity of where this citizen's movement goes next.

If you are concerned about the legacy of debt, environmental degradation and social problems that we are leaving our children and grand-children you might want to get involved in Reboot Alberta.