I run some non-scientific surveys on this blog from time to time. I don't call them polls. They are not. I call them burning questions. Stuff that citizens need to pay attention to and ought have an opinion about. The last burning question was anything but that. It was a fizzle.
The not so burning question asked blog readers their intentions to participate in voting for the various party leadership races that are happening in Alberta right now. The response was underwhelming at 49 participants. It was the lowest level of participation in any burning question I ever asked on this blog. I know most blog readers are lurkers not commenters and why would they be motivated to respond to a simplistic curiosity like the burning question. I can discount the low participation and shrug it off. But I think there is something vital at stake here. That is our democracy and our freedoms.
CAN WE STILL TAKE DEMOCRACY FOR GRANTED IN ALBERTA?
OK my ego is not so out of control that I think my blog is vital to democracy. It is not. But my right of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and all the rest of my citizenship rights are foundational to the fact that I can write this blog and express my opinions openly. There are consequences for speaking out against authority and power even if you have those attributes...just ask Raj Sherman.
There is lots of intimidation, threats, bullying and coercion that powerful forces will try and apply to silence or discredit you. I will be blogging on that in coming days. I will be starting with the reasons I feel we need a public inquiry on health care to uncover and expose any abuses of power in that area. I will expand the discussion into other areas of government and the power structure in Alberta that I have knowledge of or have been informed about.
ARE YOU SURE IT IS YOUR DEMOCRACY?
Back to the core concern. I have serious fears about low citizenship participation rates in Alberta's democracy. I think indifference, cynicism and skepticism is dangerous. The consequences of not speaking out, not getting informed and not fully participating as a citizen are more dangerous than any "damage" any petty-minded power-preserving political bully might be able to do to any of us for being responsible citizens.
In the spirit of responsible citizenship I strongly suggest every adult Albertan take full advantage of a unique political game changing opportunity that is alive right now. That is the change in leadership of three of our political parties in Alberta. If you want the political culture in Alberta to change making changes at the leadership levels seems to be a pretty good place to start. To change the kind of person we have to choose from to be the next Premier of Alberta seems to me to be an offer we ought not refuse.
(photo credit: Shane Becker, veganstraightedge in Flickr)
TIME FOR A DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION IN ALBERTA?
So here is the "revolutionary" idea. For $20 bucks you can buy a membership in the Alberta Party, the Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party. Then you have a direct say in the selection of the leader of all three of those political parties. You can decide which candidate you want to support and even have a serious influence and make a real difference in the future direction of Alberta. By supporting progressive thinking politicians in all the contest you can also set an example for others in your networks to step up and become a $20 Buck Revolutionary.
It is simple to get started. Here are the links to join on line: Alberta Party - Liberal Party - Progressive Conservative Party. Get involved Alberta. Be the change you want to see. Be a responsible citizen.
BTW the burning question response was not only low, it was not very supportive of the $20 Buck Revolution. But that can change if people really want change. Remember these results are merely conversation starters. They are not conclusive of beliefs or behaviours - even of my blog readers. Percentages of participants who said they will participate in the current political leadership campaigns were:
- Alberta Party 30%
- Liberal Party 18%
- PC Party 12%
- All of Above 6%
- None of Above 32%
Not promising starting place for the $20 Buck Revolution - but hey - you have to start somewhere. Mayor Nenshi was at 1% support three months before election day. It could/should happen again. Join the $20 Buck Revolution and be the change you want to see.