Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Do We Want to Achieve in RebootAlberta 3.0?

My sense is people are at different stages in the Reboot Alberta community.  There is an overall impatience for taking action and a feeling that time is wasting if progressives are going to make an impact on the next election.  That frustration is going to be focused by those participating in RebootAlberta 3.0 and then framed in a way that people can take action.

In Reboot 1.0 we discovered that there were other progressive thinking people who were also concerned about the future direction of the province.  We met listened and explored our shared values, ideas and yearnings about being a progressive Albertan.  In Reboot 2.0 we had some research findings about what made a Progressive, what were our priority values and our personal potential as Influentials to use the Reboot Alberta movement to relate to others and help create positive change.

There were four distinct streams formed by the past Reboot events.  Some progress has been made in the political partisan streams for sure.  There is a new progressive political party on the scene as the Renew Alberta people aligned with the Alberta Party and getting organized and moving on it Big Listen project. 

The partisan faithful from the Progressive Conservatives, NDP and Liberal parties have been going through transitions and changes too since we last met.  Even some Wildrose Alliance folks showed up at RebootAlberta 2.0 concerned about farmland conservation and local food.  They found some kindred spirits and worthwhile conversations.

The civil society groups and independent citizen streams progress has not been as easy to monitor. However we can say many in the Reboot movement have stepped up as candidates for municipal and school board elections or have volunteered to support local government candidates.  The not-for-profit groups have been just doing their vital jobs with fewer resources and more demands. It is difficult to see how the folks in those organizations have been able to press for progressive policy changes when they are so strapped for time and spread so thin. 

But then we have RebootAlberta 3.0 where these people can come together to share and consider solutions to their concerns.  They can share the load start working together to create the progressive political culture we want to achieve in the Next Alberta.

The key question is what will accomplish coming out of RebootAlberta 3.0.   The theme is Taking Action and that means first determining what that needs doing as part of the goal.  We have very little time so the focus must be fast and energy will have to be high.  Reboot 3.0 is going to be a process about defining issues, describing successes and determining what needs to be done to win.  We then have to pick out spots and commit to personal action.  We need that to get all the effort mustered on dealing with our issues.  That focus, energy, commitment and action will have a positive impact on the progressive direction of political culture in the Next Alberta.

RebootAlberta 3.0 will provide the place for progressive thinking folks in the Alberta political party, civil society groups, ENGOs, and individuals to define their concerns and work them through to taking action.  This all starts with the insights and efforts of individuals.  That moves to informal collaborative learning circles with others who eventually join in will expand the capacity to reach out to others.  This will reinvigorate the sense of citizenship and rejuvenate progressive Albertans to take back democratic control of the political culture of the province.

The end result is more effective, active and meaningful engagement of individuals as citizens, leaders, members of groups and organizations and even within our families and friends, all working to realize a self-selected worthy goals towards a better Alberta.    

In Taking Action we will be striving for more than a few goals at Reboot 3.0. It all starts with the individual, then grows to a smaller group who work together and who engage others though their networks and spheres of influence.  Finally they all work towards creating a plan to push and pull on the levers of political power in to realize the changes they desire.  It is all done in the spirit of creating informed, engaged responsible citizenship that wants to achieve progressive democratic principles and good government.

We hope coming out of Reboot 3.0 we will see individuals identify concerns.  What need to happen next is for participants to make a personal commitment to take effective action to resolve their issues and add to the progressive voice to the political culture of the Next Alberta.  That personal commitment would include learning about the issue and gathering background information.  Then defining a personal preferred outcome and sharing that with others.

Next is to reach out and gather more support and understanding about the reason for the concern.  We then anticipate some people will take a leadership position in pursuing those outcomes by finding and engaging more to become involved in helping resolve the issue. Finally we expect that people will take personal and collective action to bring attention to the issue to advance the preferred outcome.  This can be done in many ways including through political participation and influencing policy makers.

In addition to pursuing personal concerns there are some broader concerns that may become theme areas for the wider group of Reboot progressives to pursue.  They will advance on the same citizenship engagement model of defining the concerns, getting informed on the background, designing and agreeing on the preferred outcome.  Then a plan will be designed to reach out to engage and inform other Albertans as they push and pull the political and public policy levers to realize their objective.

Finally I hope to get some input and ideas on what those in the Reboot community want next from Reboot Alberta itself.  Should it continue as a loose convener of events and a communications conduit?  Should it become more substantial and sustainable as an on-going organization to pursue and promote the idea of creating a progressive political culture in Alberta?  Or is the Reboot Alberta job done if the goals of Reboot 3.0 are realized and civil society, political parties and progressive citizens take up the various causes in their own ways and means?

Does Reboot Alberta grow and reach out to other Progressive and encourage them to engage and become empowered as citizens again?  Do we need a place for Progressive to congregate and share time and ideas or are we comfortable to continue living individually and in our heads?  Where do the resources and leadership come from for this work and what does success look like if there is agreement to continue Reboot?  These are key questions about the direction and destination of any effort to sustain a progressive citizen's movement in Alberta.

It is premature to draw any hard conclusions about Reboot 3.0 but one thing for sure; we should not come to Reboot 3.0 just to talk.  We need to identify issues that are worth the effort and justify our commitment to determine and seek solutions.  We have very little time to make a difference or impact the public policy agenda and even the possible outcomes for the next election and for the Next Alberta. 

We need to find ways to seek out, empower and re-engage other progressive citizens who have opted for non-engagement in democracy.  We need to give them a reason to believe again – even in the face of controls, coercion, fear and resentments we see all too often the current political culture of the province.  

If you want a progressive political culture in the Next Alberta register now for RebootAlberta 3.0 at  Dates are Nov 5-6 in Edmonton at the Delta South hotel.  Space is limited and the early bird reduced rate of $110 goes to the first 75 who register.  See you soon.


  1. Anonymous11:22 pm

    Do we need to achieve anything? The first two were great.

  2. Anonymous
    Agree the first two were great, but time for meditation is over. Thought without action is useless, Action without thought is dangerous. Time to get thought and action lined up and make Alberta the best place for the world. Looking forward to RebootAlberta 3.0.

  3. Hi Ken,
    I know you've been talking a lot about Albertans waking up and realizing they are owners of tremendous resources and with ownership comes responsibility. Maybe I'm just a slow learner, but I'm starting to grasp the magnitude of this idea.

    I had a very interesting conversation last night at Christopher Spencer's campaign launch with a man who presented the following ideas. Can you confirm or correct this info?

    Venezuela holds 85% of the profits from their oil. 15% goes to the oil company. The companies were told if they didn't like the "deal", they were free to leave but that Venezuela would assume control of all their assets, infrastructure,equipment, etc. None of the companies left. Norway also controls most of its oil profits. By contrast, Alberta only charges 14% in royalties and there is talk of wanting to reduce it to 7%. (??!)

    Why are we, as Albertans:
    (1) happy to have someone else assume the control, the risk and the profit of our resoruces?
    (2) convinced that getting jobs out of our resources is good enough?
    (3) largely ignorant, as a public, that billions of dollars of profit leaves our province every year made from the resources we were lucky enough to be blessed with but reluctant to take ownership of?
    (4) complacent in allowing these same companies, who are turning such a tremendous profit, to leave behind huge lakes of toxic waste which we will have to deal with when they breach their containment, as everyone knows they eventually will?
    (5) so short-sighted in using our boom or bust oil revenues to cover the basics, rather than investing this money so that future generations will also benefit from the resource taken from them?

    And why, am I, a university-educated, 29-year resident of Alberta, only just NOW waking up to this?

    What's up, Ken??

    I'm trying to think of an analogy that would make sense to most of us. Would it be like like winning the $1 million lottery and then allowing an investor from Texas to take over control of the money? She invests it for you and multiplies it many times over. You, as owner of the windfall, receive $140,000 (14%) and she gets all the rest: she's doing all the work after all and, oh, your kid can have a job at the office, cleaning the windows and learning about investment banking.

    So, that's fair, right? There are so many lottery winners out there and we don't want her to take her expertise somewhere else.

    Are we too nice, too insecure or are we just immature? Maybe it's time for us all to grow up and put our big girl panties on.



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