Reboot Alberta

Sunday, February 05, 2023


This post is part of the series for Alberta Rebooters to consider their personal situation as we approach our voting decisions in the May general election.

I’ve posted on the importance of elections as a chance for change, and charting our way as citizens in uncharted economic, social and environmental times for Albertans.


Now I am sharing a 4-H framework tool for you to use as you consider what you will be voting for, and why, in the election. The framework starts with what is on your mind, individually, for your family, and your various communities and organizations you connect with. Do you understand why these are concerns for you?  What’s in your Head? 

Then we asked you to consider what is in your Heart about those concerns.  What are your feelings, fears, and sense of what better would look like if you could make changes? Next is to look seriously about what you are doing about pressing for the changes you see as needed.  This is the Hands on part.  What steps are you taking to be, and bring about, the change you want to see?  

The final step in making a better voting decision is about Hope.  What is your big picture view of what the next Alberta could, should and would be if we were effective, engaged, active and aspirational as citizens?  What are the core principles and values we should live by as persons and and as a people?


The top of mind issues in Canada, and I suspect in Alberta as well, are Inflation/Recession, Healthcare, and Housing, and Public Safety is also emerging. So this post will explore how to use the 4H Framework in terms of Economic perceptions and concerns from data in an series of recent national polls. Where are you in relation to the survey data?

Abacus Data finds that perceptions are that 46% of Canadians think the  economy will shrink in the next 12 months. Only 28% believe there will be growth while 26% say it will do neither.  Consumer behavior can be self- fulfilling prophecies.  But add in the fact that 20% of Canadians could only cover one week of expenses, and 43% say they would survive a month from their savings if they lost their job. 

That reality has to be a big Head and Heart driven issue for many Albertans too.  The Leger poll done in the same timeframe shows 48% of Albertans hold cynical pessimistic expectations of future declines in the economy, the most in the country, but not by much.

Leger finds the big personal economic worries are sustained value of investments (64% - Albertans 71%), safety of savings (61% - Albertans 68%), able to pay bills (53% - Albertans 60%), carrying credit card debt (46% - Albertans 53%) and ability to meet mortgage payments (40% - Albertans 42%).

As for our sense of a recession, a year ago 34% of Albertans said we were definitely in a recession, and now 30% believe that to be true.  Asked Iif we are probably already in a recession, a year ago 63% believed that, while now 74% perceive that to be the case.  Again, the highest numbers in the country.


Most of these issues are global in nature and way beyond the scope of governments to do much about,  them other than to help with adaptations and mitigation.  But we should expect some pragmatic, honest and actionable strategies from the Alberta political parties for us, as independent citizens, to evaluate, support or reject with our ballots this election.

So are these worries your worries too, on a personal and on a bigger picture level?  As individuals all we can do is adapt our discretionary spending and seek more revenue through wages and otherwise.  We may have to reduce our personal investment risk and look at other behavioral changes to meet our fiscal obligations.

Of course there are many more concerns about healthcare, education, public safety, uncertainty over climate change and energy transition impacts on Alberta jobs, to name a few.

I hope this information is helpful in your efforts to focus on your 4H process in your Citizen’s Journey. So stay tuned, stay attuned, tune up your citizenship and do not tune out!  There are Authoritarian forces organizing to take over Alberta this election. 

Our democracy is at risk.  Use it or lose it.

Sunday, January 22, 2023



A sextant was an indispensable navigation tool in the early days of European ocean going discovery.

Unlike Heisenberg's Theory of Uncertainty, a sextant could tell you both where you are and where you're going. Are you on or off course and what do you need to do to make necessary changes and corrections.
But to do this you needed an irrefutable constant to determine where you are. For those using a sextant, that constant was the North Star.
As you navigate through your Citizenship Journey, as Rebooters, or as independent citizens and voters, do you have your personal North Star? What facts or articles of faith do you use as your known and reliable constants? Have you considered and calculated what is happening in your life-experiencing reality? Do you know where you are as an Albertan? Are your clear on how you got to you current reality? And are your clear about what you want in your future and how to find your way forward?
Alberta is entering into uncharted waters caused by events and issues beyond our control. Pandemics, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Energy Transition, Economic Recession, and so many more changes are coming at us as Albertans.


There are still many things we can still do personally and in groups to respond actively and positively to these macro-dynamics, and to make the changes we want to actually happen. We do have personal agency and can take control of some aspects of our political culture up to, during and after this critical election.
The question for us then is will we take back Control? Will we set out on an Alternative course from the failing of the past? Will we be wise enough to Delete the harmful actions and assumptions of the past? Will we explore and Reboot ourselves and our province to co-create a Better Alberta?
Elections are prime times to define new directions and get moving into new future-fit destinations. Are you getting ready, as a citizen, to take effective election-time action to make the changes you want to see in public policy, government programs and political processes? Do you accept that an informed citizenship and purposeful voting is a personal duty in a Free and Democratic Society?


We will not get a better Alberta until we become Better Citizens and, in the process, become Better Voters. Are you willing to do what you can to become a Better Voter this election and beyond? That means investing your time to decide what is important to you and your family in these uncertain times for Alberta. It means taking the time to step up and raise your awareness of what's happening, and improving the quality of your information on issues and events.

Then are you able to invest and donate into the democratic process? You donate to a local candidate, or a political party, or even an interest group who is active in pressing for change in a policy area.

Remember, democracy is influenced and run by those who show up.



We are rapidly approaching the May 29th Alberta General Election.  Elections are those rare times when political power actually shifts from the elected to the electors.  Citizens as electors, can actually make a difference up to and through the election period.  This can only happen if we are focused, purposeful, politically aware, issue informed, effectively engaged and assertively activated. 

Political leaders, party operatives, advisors and volunteers plus local candidates know that at election time, they have to pay serious attention to the issues, attitudes, needs and aspirations of We the Citizens.  That is simply because they want and need our votes in order to win and keep or take power.  

But there is real political power in our citizenship.  Our power over the political system is always exercised through purposeful application of our personal agency.  Our personal agency power is never more effective than in the time leading up to and on election day.  But very few of us realize this, and if we do, we often do not take advantage of this power shift to citizens as electors.


Elections are about change through individual choices.  The world is run by those who show up and engage.  Voting is the most obvious way we have to show up and exercise our personal political power. That means you have to be serious about the role and responsibility you have as a citizen. 

Unfortunately, most of us do not show up, stand up, speak up, and act up  to exercise the power of our citizenship.  The chronically low voter turnout at election time proves this point.   That can change if voters are motivated in a common cause.  

In the 2015 Alberta election, voters were motivated to send the arrogant and entitled PC government a message.  The result was a dramatic shift from over 40 years of rightwing government to a surprising election of a leftwing majority government. 

In the 2019 election the percentage of voter turnout was the second highest in Alberta history.  The incentive of the United Right, through the newly minted Kenney creation of the UCP, was to motivate others who lean Right to ensure the NDP did not get a second term to govern.  They didn’t. 

What will motivate us to turnout and vote in 2023?  For sure many on the Left and Right will be voting “strategically” against the “Other” side.  Beyond that, will voters become motivated to be more focused and aware of  issues and personal concerns?  Will the moderate majority of non-partisan Albertans be committed enough to vote affirmatively in what they see as a way forward to a better Alberta? Let’s hope so!



Will we have to do more than hope better voting will happen this election! Are you ready, willing and where able, do the work of citizenship to help make the change you want to see in Alberta happen?  The only change you can be assured will happen is the changing we do about ourselves. 

Do you know what you can and will do to become a better voter?  That requires that we personally commit to become better as citizens by actively participating in this election and in our political culture afterwards.

The change we are usually offered by political parties at election time is about leadership and promises made based on partisan ideology.  The changes many citizens want are very personal and local.  They are often specific concerns about public policy issues, individual anxieties, and aspirations about preferred futures.  

Individual citizens often organize to collectively press for policy, program, and process changes in government.  This  common cause approach to impacting change at election time is how positive pro-social differences can be achieved. But this takes leadership and other organizational skills. 


So how can that hard work of thoughtfully and purposefully deciding your vote be done in a logical and methodical way?  I think a framework based on  Head, Heart, Hand, and Hope can help you determine what is important to you that will help you drive to a conclusion on how to mark your ballot.  


What is in your HEAD?  What is keeping you up at night?  Are you worried about inflation, or recession and job security? Will healthcare be there should you or your family need it? This is obviously personal even though the issues are broadly public policy or program related.  Ask yourself, what are you paying attention to and why?


Where is your HEART? What are you feeling and believing about the matters that concern you? Do you feel your concerns are on the political agenda this election?  If so, which leader, party or candidate is aligned with and focused on your concerns? Do they “get it?”  Are your feelings driven by fear, uncertainty and doubt? Or are you feeling confident that your concerns and aspirations for change can influence the narrative, political agenda, and outcomes in this election?


Next is your HANDS? What are you actually doing to impact change this election year?  Are you going to commit some of your time, talent, money and other resources to make your concerns known to those seeking your vote and your consent to be governed? Will you volunteer for a local candidate?  Will you donate to a campaign?  Will you speak to your friends, family and others in your orbits about your concerns and your efforts as a citizen and encourage them to participate too?


Finally and most importantly is what do you HOPE for as an engaged, politically active citizen?  Have you determined your answer to the “then what” aspect of the fundamental question at election time?  What exactly does better look like in your areas of concern?  What do you want to see your government keep doing, stop doing and start doing in your policy, program and process concerns?  


Reboot Alberta will convene some online events for our community to share experiences and efforts to be the change they want to see as citizens using this framework.  We will focus on the interest areas in Reboot like health, education, economy, social justice, environment and good government.  We can share, learn and even collaborate in pressing for change in our political culture and how we are governed.

How will you let your views be known to the potential lawmakers who are seeking your support in this election?  How will you make an effort to make a difference? More on how to do that is coming.  Stay tuned, stay attuned and do not tune out!  Our democracy is at risk.  Use it or lose it.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Thoughts on an Alberta By-election




There will be lots of chattering-class speculative and extrapolative commentary on the consequences for the UCP and Jason Kenney over the Brian Jean victory in the Fort McMurray Lac La Biche By-election. Media and partisans will have a lots of click-bait baises to feed.


I see today as a new Baseline for Alberta to measure our progress in our economy and our society, and how we will now see ourselves al Albertans.
I see the byelection of Brian Jean as a trailhead and the starting place of another path for yet another Citizenship Journey. With the Jean victory and the April 9 UCP Leadership Review Vote, I now have a sense of urgency about the political path we are now heading down.
This Citizenship Journey is upto and including the May 2023 General Election. I am reminded of the African Proverb: "If you want to go fast walk alone. If you what to go far, go with a group."

Regardless of your intent, fast or far, This Citizenship Journey will not be a walk in the park on a sunny day for us as persons nor us as the people we call Albertans. The political processes and election outcome may well define and determine what it means to be an Albertan for the foreseeable future.


I strongly believe the next year or so will be a march into the darkness of tribal political battles with the blessing of a robust, and at least for now, Democracy. The battle fields will polarized hyper-partisan inter-party UCP vs NDP ideological assaults and leaders personal punch-ups .

Then there are the Far-Right interpersonal Kenney vs Jean clashes, regardless of the results of the April 9 UCP Leadership Review Vote.. That will aid and abet a UCP vs Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta - WIPA hostilities. that promises to be vicious and vile.

There will be lots and lots of skirmishes and conflicts. They will seen as crusades by the combatants over many different issues and concerns in many places and spaces. But in reality they will all be about the same thing, achieving and allocating political power to impose a doctrine, a dogma and a Ruler, if you are battling from and for the Conservative Right.
The Political Ends of those Battles will be the Taking of Power. Those Ends will justify using whatever Means "necessary" for those who are fixated on the fight and singularly focused on winning at all costs.
Values like honesty, trust and integrity will become distorted battle cries. They will be touted as goals of being or becoming better for the benefit of everyone. There will be cliches paraded but they will be nothing more that reassuring charades to divert attention from the truth of what's really going on, the pursuit of power.
The real goal of these political battles will be an Ideological Victory for the winner and the Vanquishment of the enemy loser.

Where does that leave the nonpartisan, or should I say non-combatant, citizen?There are so many known unknowns, both immediate and emerging. There are the inevitable unknown unknowns as well. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity will be the New Normal for many.
We are not sure where this march into battle will lead us nor leave us. We are not sure about what will be obstructing our way as we each try to understand and adapt to new realities, many of which are beyond our control.
We are not even very clear about what will be achieved at the end of this journey. What is the collective consensus about our preferred future? How can that be established on a battlefield?
Could we, in the heat of battles, strive to define, design, direct and decide that preferred destination given our polarized political culture? Can Influence be Powerful in the hearts, heads, and hands of Citizens devoted to Democracy?


The time from now up to the next election are Days of Living Dangerously as an Albertan. As a citizen you have choices to make. Either step up, as a Citizens and,get engaged. Or choose to be be passive, complacent, and compliant. Take a seat at the political table. If you don't then expect to be on the political menu.
You can have an impact or be impacted. But don't be duped and mislead into Indifference. There is too much is at stake to unconcerned or disengaged.

Sunday, February 06, 2022

What's Going on in Alberta?

What's Going on in Alberta?

First a Disclaimer:

Angus Reid Institute does good work when it runs surveys.  They are far from perfect because there is no assured randomization in the sampling as they use online panels for responses. 

That said, their poll results are “true” for those who answered the survey.  But be careful in extrapolating any poll result in Canada as representative of the hearts and minds of your fellow citizens. 

That Said:

Angus Reid recently published a Three-Part morbidly fascinating poll of Canadian's attitudes about our politics and the state of citizen disengagement. 

I’m going to focus on Part 2 “More Believe Electoral System is Weakening than Becoming Stronger.” The survey asked, “...whether as series of  significant pillar of a strong democracy…were strengthening or weakening in this country.”  Spoiler Alert! Albertans are far and away in the belief that the pillars of Canadian democracy are growing weaker.

When asked “Thinking about each (pillar) would you say they are growing stronger or getting weaker in Canada, the Weaker responses were reported, and here are the comparative numbers:


The UCP has passed a plethora of anti-democratic laws and erosion of the fuel of law. Think the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act and the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act for two primary examples.

53% of Canadians believe this is weakening and 67% of Albertans see this is weakening.


Reboot decries the excessive influence of dark money donors, the potential for extremists' takeover of political parties, and Political Action Committees' self-serving capacity to take over and control candidates.

51% of Canadians believe this is weakening and 69% of Albertans see this is weakening.


The UCP is becoming increasingly Authoritarian and Fascistic in how it is governing. Look at the abusive Allan Public Inquiry into UnAblertan activities and the secret heavily funded, secretive, and unaccountable Kenney War Room designed for political propaganda purposes. Also, consider the abuse of LGBTQ students in public education and the destruction of GSA groups.

35% of Canadians believe this is weakening and 44% of Albertans see this is weakening.


This is a serious concern for citizens and citizenship. We see the Republicans undermining this principle of Democracy. We have the UCP previous leadership election under Criminal Fraud investigation by the RCMP. The General Election has numerous Elections Alberta fines against illegal UCP campaign financing breaches.

34% of Canadians believe this is weakening and 58% of Albertans see this is weakening.

46% of 18-34 year old men say elections have become less free and fair. That is a dangerous group if they stay seriously disgruntled, feel excluded, and are disregarded.


Reboot Alberta is, at its essence, about the Citizenship Journey to enhance, enable and empower civic participation in politics and fixing our political culture.

24% of Canadians believe this is weakening and 35% of Albertans see this is weakening.

In all these questions  Albertans were rated the lowest on these beliefs.

  • Only 62% of Albertans, again the lowest in the land, are “proud to live in Canada.” 14% are Unsure, the highest in the nation.

  • 31% of Albertans agree that we have a “good system of government in Canada. 

  • A mere 53% of Albertans feel that “Canada is a prosperous country.”

  • Some 57% of Albertans believe Canadians are a “caring society.”

We are on a downward spiral in Alberta by the looks of this.  And this is only part of the survey findings.