Our future is under attack, thanks to the cancellation of the police college in Fort Macleod. And the only one to see it is the Mayor of Fort Macleod.The Alberta Liberals were the first to lambast the PCs. Oddly enough, it was in defense of another party, the Wildrose. At first I thought how nice it was that the Liberal party could show respect for another party regardless of how wildly different their ideologies were. Then I realized that the Liberals missed the point.
The Wildrose are having a difficult time sticking to their tune, asking the PCs to cut excess spending, and in the same breath crying foul when they do. Even so, they are still missing the point.
The PCs are missing the point most by cancelling the building of the police college. They did it saying we had no need right now, and so rather than spend more, save the budget by cutting it. While the police chiefs of the area might say there is no need right now, they aren't looking at the big picture the province's future, which is what we need to expect the PCs to do on our behalf.
This police college could become an incredible export for our province. Law enforcement agencies from across the western provinces, or even further, should be looking to Alberta for models of great enforcement. This college would be the key to making that happen. With the creation of this college, suddenly we have diversified our market even further, easily making up for the $122 million the PCs hope to save right now.
Imagine officers of the Lethbridge police, the RCMP, the Vancouver police, and the Toronto police getting upgrades on their training in Fort Macleod. They bring business to Alberta with them. The standardized curriculum Jonathan Denis is hoping for would be so easily implemented at a centralized location. Peace officers such as the late Rod Lazenby could get the professional development they need right in our own back yard. American police officers could learn how to diffuse situations without the use of firearms.
Less reliance on oil and gas revenue means more stability in the budget. Therefore, diversifying into the field of law enforcement couldn't possibly be a bad idea.
The mayor of Fort Macleod knows this. It's why his community has injected over $4 million into the project, over twice what the Alberta government has put in so far. $4 million which the Alberta government now expects Fort Macleod to eat. This is no drop in the bucket for the town. It staked its entire future on it. Now the PC government is killing this future.
Sure, police chiefs said it's not a police-driven initiative, and seem to have supported the government's decision. I would too, if all I was concerned about was my own jurisdiction. But it's the government's responsibility to consider more.
We should demand this project be plugged back in. It's for our future's safety and economic health. Forget the optics of the PCs maligning the Livingstone-Macleod constituency twice in 1 month. Forget the optics of the PCs cutting less than a third of a percentage of the budget to make up for lost unstable revenues. Forget the optics of police chiefs supporting the Alberta government when their primary focus is their own jurisdictions.
Instead, look at what the Fort Macleod mayor saw up until a few hours ago; a future with promise.
Calgary is all abuzz with the Canadian Progressive Conservatives selection of Joan Crockatt to represent their party in the Calgary Centre byelection. Many are expounding the "slam dunk" victory long before the byelection even gets underway. This is a marketing ploy for the Conservatives. They are marketing Voter Apathy.The Conservatives and their supporters want a low voter turnout. They want to make it so that the only people who vote are the 800 who just voted for Crockatt. In fact, they are counting on it.
And why not? It follows along the same line of contempt the Conservatives have shown for democracy this year. They attacked democracy with their omnibus budget bill, bringing sweeping changes to many laws without the appropriate opportunity for parliamentary review. Why not attempt to malign democracy by convincing non-supporters to simply give up?
Voter Apathy is a plague of our politics. It is perpetrated, as expected, by those with the power. We, as voters, must ignore this marketing ploy. We must not relinquish the right of governing to any individual. We must make each candidate earn their right to represent us.
Any provincial party that claims to value democracy would not lend themselves to this marketing ploy. Not one party, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives, the Wildrose, the Alberta Liberals, the Alberta NDP, nor the Alberta Party, should ever support Voter Apathy without due recourse.
Remember those who would attack democracy by predicting "slam dunks", and hold them accountable.
Strategic voting, as Albertans were exposed to last election, is useless when all you're considering is a Pot and a Kettle.People in Alberta were scared of a number of Wildrose candidates in the last provincial election. Candidates like Allan Hunsperger (author of "lake of fire" comments), Ron Leech (whose radio comments outlined how he could speak for everyone because he was white), John Carpay (legal representative for people who produced anti-gay hate literature, and proponent of private healthcare), former Senate candidate Jeff Callaway (removed as a candidate due to not following election rules), and of course leader Danielle Smith (waffled on "conscience rights" position, claimed climate change science was unsettled, showed contempt for cities regarding Edmonton's Airport and Calgary's GreenTrip issues) gave voters cause for pause. Following the election, newly-elected Gary Bikman blamed his party's loss on urban voters not having enough "common sense". Of course he was rewarded for these comments by being named Advanced Education critic.
So what do you do when the most vocal proponent of change is so scary? Stick with the status quo. And that is what Albertans did. The problem was that the PCs have just as questionable ethics as the Wildrose do. They're just a bit more subversive about it.
A quick list of examples for you to consider;
So keep track of what you are stuck with. In four years, when we try this all over again, don't let your memory be as short as it was during this last election. Don't get stuck with it again. Think long and hard about where "strategic voting" has gotten you, and get it right next time.
I have kept it no secret that I'm a supporter of the Alberta Party. Others have made it no secret that they think anybody who supports the Alberta Party is short a few marbles. Maybe they are right.However, what if they are wrong? What if the only way to get back to responsible, accountable and transparent government is to stop voting the same way we always have been? How do we get to responsible, accountable and transparent government? The party must be responsible, accountable and transparent to begin with. You might need to be short a few marbles to be committed enough to make this happen.
We need a party who will make promises they can keep in a timely fashion. We need a party who will be made up of resident MLAs (not parachute candidates), so they can be held most accountable. We need a party made up of intelligent people who can be trusted to speak their mind and work on their constituents' behalf. We need a party who is open to criticism, and ready to improve themselves from it. We need a party who will aim to work under the principles of constructive and collaborative approaches, and not the divisive and sometimes belligerent approaches of the past.
For a long time, I didn't think this was possible in politics. Certainly I saw some individuals exhibit these characteristics, some of them even in Alberta's legislature today. But not on a party-wide scale.
Then I heard about the Alberta Party. I was intrigued when it said it was rebranding itself. I read some. Then I studied some. Then I read some blogs about the party from outsiders. Then I met some people involved. Then I was sold.
I have to admit, however, I don't know what its future looks like. The message sent to the Alberta Party in the last election was a combination of "we don't know enough about you" and "we need more detail". Gone are the days of uninformed upsets such as the one that saw the Socreds take power in 1935. People want to see an Alberta Party that is clearly defined.
If the Alberta Party does more than its "Big Listens", and pulls out its jiffy marker and creates a clear outline, then it will become relevant. Once it has some outlines, it then needs a megaphone to let Albertans know.
On September 22, I am coming to the Alberta Party AGM with a jiffy marker and a megaphone. I hope you join me too, so that we can work together to define the party, and let the world know about it.
I laughed when I read an article in the Okotoks Western Wheel, followed by the editorial regarding the release of flood mitigation reports, but I didn't laugh for the reason many may think.I could have laughed because the reports were released 6 years after they should have been, and most of the recommendations have already been completed or at least started, making its release a waste of time.
I could have laughed because Wildrose leader Danielle Smith was among the first to jump on the tardiness of its release, even though she had no involvement in its actual release. I will concede, however, that she made a very valid point in that the report, had it been released 6 years ago, could have made resulting projects eligible for federal funding.
I could have laughed because Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, the guy who is supposed to be in charge of this type of report and its release, told reporters that he had no idea it wasn't released. This is worth a solid guffaw, because people from the Highwood constituency, including retired MLA George Groenveld, have been begging for its release for approximately 6 years.
None of these are the reasons I laughed. I laughed because one person who promised during the election to get these documents released was our new MLA Danielle Smith. Smith had no hand in it. Who did get it released? The Okotoks Western Wheel staff. Who was on that staff? John Barlow, Smith's biggest opponent as PC candidate in the last election, and Editor of the newspaper (One could say he made good on his campaign promise to see the report released). Who did the Okotoks Western Wheel's editorial staff blast? The PC government.
When you can't get your Wildrose MLA to do her job representing your consituency, even if she is the leader of the opposition, and you can't get the PC government to get one simple document release right, who do you have left?
Apparently you have the Okotoks Western Wheel. Good job, guys!