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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership Alberta Style

I had the privilege of being one of the speakers at the Speakers Series at the Banff Centre on Tuesday night this week.  It was a white-knuckle drive there with the first serious snow fall of the season but it was well worth the effort to get to speak on Citizenship, Stewardship and Leadership from an Albertan point of view.

My theme was tied to the democratic deficit and decline in Alberta.  This is manifesting itself in many ways including the sad state of citizen engagement in being an informed voter.  We have seen a bit of a turnaround over voter turnout at local municipal and school board elections this year so there is hope. Reboot Alberta is going to be come more focused on citizen engagement by the looks of it.

The theme of this presentation is also stewardship and that is tied to a wade range of ideas and concepts from environmental to natural capital, to social infrastructure and even inter-generational equity.  What kind of a province are we leaving future generations economically, environmentally, socially, culturally and even politically?  Albertans as owners of the oil sands means we have the ultimate stewardship responsibility for them and that reality touches all of the stewardship aspects.  How well as we doing in insisting our tenant, the energy industry, are taking proper care of this enormous and critically important natural capital asset beyond project investments and job creating.  Those are good to have but they are far from sufficient in themselve in meeting a social license to operate in a stewardship context.

Finally there is the issue of leadership and my main point there is everyone has some responsibility to be a leader in their community and to be careful who we select as leaders in all aspects of civil society, business and especially politically.  I agree with Daveberta when he says we do not have corrupt or bad leaders in our political culture, just a rash of mediocre leaders.  As a result we do not come anywhere close to reaching our potential as a people or as a province.  That is not just the fault of those in leadership roles.  It comes on our heads as citizens for letting this happen.  I will have more to say about this in future blog posts.

In the mean time here is a blog link to Kim Bater a friend of mine (and client) who was at the Banff Centre presentation. It will give you another perspective