Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is Alberta Ready for a New Political Narrative?

There is a relatively true myth (sic) that Alberta sustains a one-party state politically for decades and then, seemingly, overnight changes its mind and goes with an entirely new set of politicians and a new government.

From some new research we have done at Cambridge Strategies, it appears that Alberta is on the verge of another a dramatic political shift.  For sure the ground is moving.  Not sure yet if the seismic indications are strong enough to have another political earthquake.  There will be more details on the survey findings in my blog posts over the next few weeks.  I suggest you subscribe or follow this blog to ensure you get notice of those posts when they happen.

The other macro-variable is to consider if the values and attitudes of the Alberta population of today is akin to those of the past.  It is a lot more urban, educated, wealthy and secure these days.  Not sure we can rely on history to repeat itself with how different Alberta is today form the past.

There is a sense of a social shift that is happening now that has some similarities to the revolutionary attitudes and hunger for change from the 60's.  That enabled Peter Lougheed to take the Progressive Conservative Party from nowhere to the overwhelmingly popular choice to replace the old, tired and out-of-touch Social Credit government.

What the conventional wisdom is the lack of a viable political alternative.  Kevin Libin did an interesting piece in the National Post looks at the Alberta Liberal party in this context.  He could do the same kind of analysis of the NDP and even the Wildrose Alliance.  Neither one has been able to capture the angst or the aspirations of the next Alberta.  There is a yearning, longing and hunger for a new narrative for the next Alberta that is just as strong as the anger and frustration with the current state of politics and governance in the province.

The rise of the Wildrose Alliance is an indication of some of the unrest and moving political ground in the province.  It is far from the mainstream values or majority point of view of everyday Albertans. There are many more conversations happening around the province these days about what kind of place and people we are and want to become.

The sentiment that is emerging in the conversations I am involved with and monitoring is not about Alberta being the best place in the world but about the potential and promise of Alberta to be the best is can be for the world.  That is a much more generative and engaging mindset than the banal boosterism we get from so many sectors in Alberta these days.

Reboot 3.0 is in the early planning stages and will happen in Edmonton this fall.  It will be focused on what it will take to get a more comprehensive and integrated progressive set of values in Alberta's political culture. It will be a focused conversation about how to use the aggregate political power of progressive thinking Albertans to Press for Change in the politics and governance of our province.  Stay tuned.  There is going to be a lot of changes in Alberta politics between now and the next election - I can assure you.