As an Albertan, I am more than a little interested in the recent resignations high in the Government. As a former Progressive Conservative, I am more than a little interested in the impact of these on the Party.
I am reminded that, while driving a car, we often slow down suddenly and precipitously, to survey the serious accident on the other side of the road. The problem is, we should really be paying attention to our own driving, on our own side of the road. We can actually learn more about the accident if we just attend to our driving, get safely to our own destination, and read the news story the next day, or listen to the car radio 60 minutes and 100 klicks down the road.
Regardless of what happens in any – or every – party one day or one week, there is an underlying shift going on. The big shift has nothing to do with one party or another, but it is causing the tremors – of destruction and opportunity – in all the parties and in the community as a whole.
The shift is in public – personal – awareness of the opportunity citizens have to make a difference. For years, citizens have been essentially passive recipients of whatever government would visit on them. The shift sees citizens recognizing that the idea of democracy makes every one of us citizen politicians, almost like every Swiss is a citizen soldier. We – citizens – are not consumers of government: we are producers of government. At just the same time we are discovering this, so are the citizens of Tunisia.
One of the really important implications of this is that we will move away from inter-party “competition” as the driving force of the political process and into an era in which collaboration will be the driving force. Even now, and in the future, the product of political action will not be determined by competition between parties: it will be determined by collaboration between a party and the public. The party that lifts up the best that Albertans can be, and demonstrates the greatest capacity to collaborate most closely, most constantly, with most Albertans, will be the party that will govern. And, when it governs, Albertans won’t say that the “X” Party has formed the government: they will say that Albertans have used the “X” Party to form an Alberta government.
I am now an active participant in the work of the Alberta Party. I would like to see Albertans use the Alberta Party to form the next government of Alberta. In order for that to happen, we who are in the Alberta Party need to keep our eyes on the road as we drive by other party’s accidents. We have our own work to do, and it isn’t helped by rubbernecking.
We need to keep on listening to Albertans — not simply to the words but to the tone, and the body language. We need to listen as much for what is unsaid as for what is said. We need to draw out of people their own sense of confidence, their own best aspirations, and dreams. We need to draw out their imagination, and their energy, and their self-discipline, and their generousity.
We need to keep on drawing Albertans into the Alberta Party. We need to keep on treating people with respect and assuring them that the Alberta Party will never make loyalty to the Party more important than common humanity.
We need to involve more Albertans in developing the very pragmatic policies that will solve problems, resolve inequities, reduce the impact of our footprint on the earth, create opportunities, and move this province forward.
We need to organize constituency associations, and sell memberships, and recruit potential M.L.A.s, and complete our own leadership selection process, and make sure that leadership is more than one person deep, and develop policy that is the product of many minds, not one or a few. And the list of our work goes on.
The future of the Alberta Party does not lay in belittling or berating or beating the P.C.s, or the Liberals, or the N.D.s or the Wild Rose at the task they have set themselves – whatever that task is. Our future lays in knowing and remembering and completing the task we have set for ourselves — creating a movement of citizens who trust their fellow citizens and are prepared to offer themselves as the means by which progressive and democratic government can come to Alberta.
From time to time in the months ahead I will post about the work and challenges facing other parties. Those will be “downtime” posts – speculative, reflective, idly curious about someone else’s work. They won’t be any part of my own “getting from here to there”. I don’t want to be distracted from my driving.