Reboot Alberta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Take Time to Vote for The Grizzly Manifesto

I am championing Jeff Gailus' book The Grizzly Manifesto in the Alberta Readers' Choice Awards.  You can vote for this book - and you should - if only because I asked you to.  But you should also read the book and the other four books in the competition.  There is a rich array of genres awaiting your reading pleasure.

Here is a link to vote for Jeff's book. You have until the end of business on May 31 to vote on this book - so don't waste any time!  Vote once a day.  It is allowed!

If you want to get a sense of why I am championing this book - read this newspaper article based on an interview I did on The Grizzly Manifesto.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Alberta Party Leadership Candidate Debate

Here is the long form video of the recent Alberta Party Leadership Debate held in Calgary.  It is 2 hours long so put on a pot of coffee first.

The Alberta Party Leadership Convention is in Edmonton May 27-28 and will be Live streamed.  More to follow on those details.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vote for The Grizzly Manifesto in the Readers' Choice Awards.

The Readers' Choice Awards is a great prize and serious upside recognition for an Alberta author. The competition this year is between five terrific titles but my preferences is for The Grizzly Manifesto.  I really think Albertans are hungry for this kind of information and narrative.  We can't presume our species is in control and be oblivious to our place in the biosphere - even the carbon cycle.

Jeff Gailus teachers us, implores us and after reading this book, I know it will motivate us to take a more meaningful  look as how humanity is integrated into nature.  We have to do a much better job of being human within nature, not just consumers who are indifferent to our place in the planet.

I strongly recommend you read all the books but you vote for The Grizzly Manifesto.  It is not like an election.  Here you can vote early and often - until the end of May.

Here is the link to vote for the book I am championing.   

As for the rest, you can check them out here - but only after you vote for The Grizzly Manifesto.

Vote a bunch of times between now and May 31 and tell your friends and family to vote for The Grizzly Manifesto - but be sure to buy it and read it too.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Premier's Council for Economic Strategy Report is Some Kind of Wonderful

Premier Stelmach gathered together and challenge twelve of the most thoughtful minds you can imagine to actually imagine the reality we face as Albertans to ensure our prosperity from now until 2040.  Then they were challenged to get focused on major aspects of the challenges ahead.  That resulted in the five themes in the report.

The themes are:

  1. "Realizing the full potential of our energy resources;
  2. Broadening the economic base;
  3. Preparing to prosper in a global economy
  4. Providing a strong platform to sustain economic growth;
  5. Investing in shaping the future.

Premier Stelmach framed the focus on the future challenges for Alberta in three ways. I have described them below and added the emphasis!

"What must Albertans begin to do now to sustain prosperity through the next three decades and beyond."

Next he asked the Council to consider "How can we ensure our children and grandchildren enjoy even greater opportunity than we have - that we hand future generations a legacy of 'a better Alberta'"?

He closed with the question of "What will it take to make the Alberta of 2040 the place for creative and committed citizens to live, work, raise families, contribute to an enjoy society."

This language aligns so nicely with my sense that we have to move beyond the Alberta Advantage and into defining and designing the Alberta Aspiration.  The report of the Premier's Council for Economic Strategy is magnificently aligned with that way of thinking as it responds to the challenges posed by Premier Stelmach and points to potential and mindset adaptations we must make to move beyond the Alberta Advantage.

I am anxious to deal with the content of the report.  It is a truly terrific document and designed to spark conversations and considerations of what we must to to adapt and achieve our potential in the coming but still uncertain future. I will get into the meaning and merits of the report in other posts.  For now you need some context and a reason to read the report yourself.

I have chosen a could of quote from the introduction of the report and believe these words are more than enough to intrigue committed and concerned Albertans.

"This report of the Premier's Council for Economic Strategy is intended to inspire dialogue and action to ensure that in 2040 and beyond, the citizens of Alberta will be thriving, enjoying a desirable quality of life."

"We call on all Albertans to make intentional choices now to shape their future, the future of their grandchildren and the future of Alberta."

"In these pages,we identify opportunities Alberta has within its grasp, given its history, endowment and potential.  We also shine a spotlight on threats to Alberta's future prosperity and suggest strategies for managing these risks as well.  Our focus is on building an Alberta that is resilient and outward-looking, with all its citizens contributing to their full potential and ready to seize opportunities, a respected and strategic player in Canada and on the world stage."

If that language does not make you want to read the report, then you are clearly too cynical or to presumptive that tomorrow will be just like today, only better, with out change or applied effort.and intelligence.

Here is the link to the full report.  It is a call to action for all Albertans.  Be part of the design of the next Alberta.  This report is a provocation towards a new and more appropriate purposefulness for the next Alberta.

Ready, reflect and respond.  It is within our grasp to create the future we want and avoid the dangers of continuing the current mindset.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Meet Glenn Taylor Alberta Party Leadership Candidate

The Alberta Party has done some short videos of the leadership candidates so the people of Alberta can get to know them better.

Here is the Glenn Taylor video.  He is my choice to be the next leader of the Alberta Party and the kind of fresh thinking and collaborative politician I believe we need so Alberta can realize its full potential.

Glenn Taylor, Alberta Party Leadership Candidate from Alberta Party on Vimeo.

To learn more go to

Coming to Grips with the Election Implications

So here we are, in a "stable majority government" in times of enormous uncertainty in the world.  Democracy has spoken and the collective wisdom of an ever diminishing number of democratically engaged citizens sets Canada on a new course.  It looks like voter turnout was even lower this time than the dismal showing in the 2008 election with early indications showing we are flirting with 50% turnout.

We have the results and they are impressive.  Mr. Harper is the clear winner and deserves congratulations for such an impressive tactical accomplishment.  With Mr. Harper's absolute majority he now has absolute personal power and is now personally entrusted with the future of the country.

The check and balance on Mr. Harper's absolute power is the NDP who have been blessed and burdened with official opposition status.  Again congratulations are in order but to Jack Layton personally, not the NDP. This is Jack's victory as much as the majority government is Mr. Harper's victory.

Those who voted for Mr. Harper seem to have been attracted by the need for the stability of a majority government.  However, the stability promise of the "Harper Government" is unlikely given the economic, social, political and environmental instability of the world and in the country we now live in. The majority given to Mr;. Harper will more likely result in quicker more decisive political decisions but that is no guarantee of a future that is steady-state stable and certain.

The promise to balance the budget quickly but still undertake enormous spending projects without raising taxes in an economy that most likely a flat line growth profile means money will have to come from serious cuts many other government programs. That is the clear, unequivocal and well articulated game plan of the Harper government. There is no hidden agenda here.

The NDP has been entrusted to be the caring and compassionate conscious of Canadians and to keep the Harper Government honest and accountable.  I have no doubt of the integrity of the Layton lead NDP and its capacity to play that role.  However, much of the reality of the NDP political fortunes are embedded in the nationhood aspirations of Quebec.  It is unclear to me if the death of the Bloc and the resurrection of the Dippers in Quebec means a rejection of separation for federalism.  Or is the shift to the NDP just a smarter political tactic by Quebeckers to have fresh faces to push an entitlement agenda in Ottawa?

How beholden is the NDP going to be to the Quebec agenda given that all politics are local at the end of the day?  Will we see a return to the focus on Ontario and Quebec as the political power bases that determines the direction for the country like we had in Trudeau's time?  Will the west feel like it is "in" or "out" as the country stumbles into a new narrative or returns and retreats into an old one?

As for the Liberals, the writing is not only on the wall it is all over their political structure.  Humility was the tone I heard in Mr. Iggnatieff's concession and confession speech last night. It is only one of the key lessons the Liberals have to take to heart as they rebuild from the grass roots up. They have to pick up on Mr;. Iggnatieff's comment that "democracy teaches hard lessons" and the Liberal political challenge now is one of showing character and courage.  Are they able to rethink everything and rebuild with a new sense of purpose with an open heart and mind that resonates with  Canadians?  Time will tell.

The Bloc is done but what is the Quebec agenda for the NDP?  Is it separation or federation? We still don't know but we will be enlightened on what the shift to the NDP from the Bloc means for Canada sooner than later.  How Mr. Harper responds to Quebec is also uncertain?  Will he punish them of appeal to them?  He has done both in the past.  Again the future is uncertain.

As for Elizabeth May and Linda Duncan, we have the best indication that at the end of the day all politics are local.  The coalesced citizens and engaged them in ways that encourages people like me who are worried about the viability of our democracy if citizenship means disengaged cynicism instead of informed activism.

Congratulations to Mr. Harper and Mr. Layton.  Condolences to Mr. Iggnatieff and Mr Duceppe.  Thumbs up to Ms May and Ms. Duncan for bucking the trends and showing citizens that they can make a difference.

So no federal election for four more years.  I wonder how much economic and social stability we will actually have?  I wonder how much Canadian politics will change by then too?  As for me I see more uncertainty than stability, challenges that are more about complexity than simplicity.  I see a fiscal and environmental fog in the future and no clear path forward.  So one with the day as we stumble into the future where stability actually means no near term elections but uncertainty in all other aspects of being and becoming the next Canada.