Carpe Diem

I have just spent an exhilarating — and exhausting — 2 days at an Alberta Party Policy Convention, in Red Deer.  Full disclosure:  I co-chaired the plenary session this morning (into early afternoon).  I co-chaired with a 25 year old.

The immediate outcome is that I want to be 25 years old again… and I feel 25 again, just because of the energy in the room.

I was 25 in August, 1971, when I was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as a Progressive Conservative M.L.A.  That election marked the last change of government in Alberta, and I had the privilege of being involved on both sides of the election.  I was involved in different ways in the 6 years before that fateful election, as a Campaign Manager, as President of the P.C. Student Federation, and as Researcher for the (P.C.) Official Opposition from 1967 – 1969.

Six months before the 1971 election very few Albertans expected the Progressive Conservatives to defeat the long-lasting Social Credit government.  Yet it happened.  And I am reminded that the Progressive Conservatives are the only Alberta party that took as long as two elections to form a government.  In 1935 the Social Credit Party formed the government after they first election they contested.  In 1921 the United Farmers of Alberta formed the government after the first election they contested.  In 1905 the Liberals formed the government after the first election they contested.  (To be fair, that was an anomaly:  the first party-fought election post provincehood, and Laurier had the fix in for the Liberals.)

This weekend in Red Deer reminded me of the energy, imagination, integrity and commitment to Alberta — the commitment to servant leadership — that characterized the mood around the Progressive Conservative Party in 1971.

For two days in Red Deer it was easy to forget the old-style politics, and the  imaginational deficit that swirled in the air just beyond the meeting room.

The number of young people in the room, and the leadership they brought to bear time after time, was great.  The rest of us felt young at heart.

Out of that room is going to flow the next change of government for Alberta.

We could cut 25 years out of the life of the province and the room today would be a continuation of the conversations that re-created Alberta between 1971 and 1985.

I heard talk about Albertans being the owners of the resources, entitled to fair rent, and entitled (responsible) to ensure careful stewardship of land, air, and water, and all the resources hidden in the land.  I heard talk about assuring that our children could have the best education in the world — good enough to be successful anywhere — and that there must be commensurate opportunities for them to choose to live in Alberta and be the best that they could be, at the vocation of their choice.  I heard talk about drawing marginalized people in from the margins, making them welcome, helping them to unpack their talents and contribute to life in the province.  I heard talk about inclusive, collaborative, open political processes that would treat citizens and communities respectfully.  I heard talk about studying best practices in other parts of the world, and working with citizens, practitioners, and researchers to assure excellent health care that is less system and more humane.  I heard talk about rebuilding the role of citizens and local communities, including better access to the resources necessary to do the job.  I heard rural people engaged in real conversations with urban people.  I heard farmers engaged in real conversations with people out of the energy industry.  I heard 64 year olds (me, and others) engaged in real conversations with 25 year olds.

Most of all, I heard passion in every conversation.  It wasn’t merely talk.  I heard a declaration that Albertans are ready to roll up their sleeves, reclaim citizenship, reclaim government, and make more of this province than we have seen for a long time.  I believe that the men and women in the room really understand and were expressing the passion and the hopes of neighbours.  It was exciting.

I wish I was 25 again.  I feel as though I am 25 again.

2 Responses to “Carpe Diem”

  1. Will Says:


    You only get to be young twice.

  2. alberta politics notes 11/19/2010 | Says:

    […] Party policy convention – Aftermath Chris Labossiere: Tired and yet inspired David King: Carpe Diem Ken Chapman: The Alberta Party is on the Move and Making Waves Max Fawcett: Mission Impossible? […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: