An Important Provincial Election in Alberta

Every provincial election is important.  Sometimes we don’t appreciate the importance of an election until years later.  The election of 1993 returned a government that many Albertans thought had been ‘tired’ and was suddenly invigorated by a new leader – Ralph Klein.  It wasn’t until years later that we came face to face with the consequences of blowing up hospitals, reducing the number of medical and nursing students, regionalizing health care, centralizing control of education, eliminating regional planning commissions…

Almost 20 years later Albertans are considering whether to re-elect a now 42 year old Progressive Conservative government.

On the way to casting a ballot, citizens will be considering five different types of questions.

  1. Is the current government good for another term, or does it need to be replaced?  Criticism is heard, but is it valid?  Is the governing party tired, arrogant and bullying?  Does it have the attitude that it is entitled to govern?  Do Tory candidates have the attitude that they are entitled to have someone carry their bags, and entitled to appoint friends and supporters to various positions?  Has the bullying that is much talked about in the press originated with the P.C. government as an institution, or has it been the work of individuals acting alone and contrary to the spirit of the party?  Does the Tory party recognize the challenges facing Alberta?  Does it have new ideas for dealing with new circumstances and new opportunities?  Does it have the energy and the will for a new style of politics, a new approach to issues and decision-making, and a new relationship with voters?
  2. Did the Progressive Conservative Party enthusiastically choose Alison Redford to be its new Leader, and will the Party welcome new attitudes, new values and policies, new ways of organizing, and new decisions, or will the Party establishment and culture change Alison Redford, so that she conforms to well-established ways of thinking, doing things, and relating to the public?
  3. What is the role of an M.L.A., and how does the role do justice to the interests of individual voters, the interests of the local community, the interests of the province as a whole, and the interests of the Party the M.L.A. belongs to?  What should we consider when evaluating and comparing candidates?
  4. When thinking about the next government, could any Party other than the Progressive Conservatives govern well? What is the role of the Party Leader?  What should I consider when evaluating and comparing Party Leaders?  What is the role of any Party other than the government Party?
  5. What issues are important to us, as individuals, as family, as community?  What are the important values reflected in the issues?  What are the consequences if the issues are handled well, or badly?  What should I weigh before I cast my ballot?

During the course of the election campaign I intend to blog about each cluster of questions.  I would like these posts to be part of a conversation with you.    What values and issues and questions are important to you?  Looking ahead, how do you evaluate the prospects for each of the parties?  Is there a candidate – or more than one – whose campaign and election prospects you are specially following, and why?

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