Democracy — Challenges for Alberta

On the matter of democracy, Alberta faces some exciting challenges.  There is a wider and increasing awareness that our democratic practices are very imperfect, and need to be improved.  There is an increasing expectation that democracy needs to function better than it does.  There is frustration with the current political culture in Alberta, and a willingness — even a determination — to change the political culture and practices.

All of this seems to reflect a growing realization that democracy in Alberta — and elsewhere — is an unfinished revolution.

We need to attend to three essentials.

The First Essential

We need to absorb the truth that democracy is self-government.  Democracy is a system of self-government in which everyone, first of all, has the right and the responsibility to participate in making the rules about self-government, and the rules protect the minority.  Sovereignty originates with the people, who grant it to the government.  Democratic governments are not a party to the social contract; they are the product of the social contract.  Leaders and representatives are servant leaders:  they are not paramount leaders.

It would be wise to consider limiting the power of parties, and party leaders.  It would be wise to consider giving the electorate more frequent opportunities to be directly involved in decisions, and a better means of controlling rogue representatives.  It would be wise to consider different forms of voting.

The Second Essential

We must reject the politics of fear and adopt the politics of hope.  We need to reject the politics of confrontation and intimidation, and adopt the politics of collaboration.  We need to reject consumer politics and adopt the politics of participation.

It would be wise to consider how to make government more transparent.

The Third Essential

We must decide what we mean by community, and whether our decision-making community varies depending upon the political decision to be made.

I remember seeing a large billboard near Claresholm.  It read:  “Less Ottawa; more Alberta.”  A confusing message.  Does the sponsor mean “less Ottawa; more Edmonton”, or “less Ottawa; more local decision-making — in Claresholm, or in Calgary”?

It would be wise to consider how much decision-making should be made in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and in provincial government departments, and how much should be made in the local community, by municipal councils and school boards.  It would be wise to consider revenue sharing, so that local government has the resources to effect the decisions made locally.

As a new member of the Board of Directors of the Alberta Party, I look forward to the Big Listen.

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2 Responses to “Democracy — Challenges for Alberta”

  1. 7 Thoughts About The Alberta Party « Alex Abboud Says:

    […] Sunday morning update: Dave King notes his role with the Alberta Party board in his latest blog post. […]

  2. Trevor Meister Says:

    Well said…and its about time. Anything I can do when the time comes, just ask.

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