As the Second Session of the Twenty-Seventh Legislature re-convenes in Edmonton, I am finding it increasingly difficult to get excited about the kind of debates that we have become accustomed to witnessing on the floor of our elected assembly. With only 13 opposition MLAs in the Assembly, much of Hansard have unfortunately become an endless echo chamber for the chorus of backbench PC MLAs either reading pre-scripted soft-ball talking points or attempting to gain points with their political masters through flattery. Of course there are exceptions, but they remain far and few.
The debate outside the Legislature is a very different story. Over the past year, I have met an increasing number of engaged citizens who are intent on carving a new direction for our city and province outside the realm of traditional partisan politics. Evolving across the province – ChangeCamp Edmonton, CivicCamp Calgary, and even out at lunch – I have witnessed engaged citizens congregating to flesh out the next big out-of-the-box ideas to drive Alberta into the future.
I am particularly interested in attending the upcoming Reboot Alberta meeting to be held in Red Deer from November 27 to 29. Organized by Don Sherman, Michael Brechtel, former Cabinet Minister David King, and increasingly disengaged PC member Ken Chapman, the weekend event is billed as an opportunity for progressive-minded Albertans to work together to develop a vision for our province, and start to explore how to bring that vision to life (which is key).
Last week, Ken and I met for coffee and had a great discussion about the potential for re-visioning citizenship in Alberta and how to re-engage individual Albertans to participate in the way they are governed. Ken successfully pitched the concept of Reboot Alberta to me and I am excited about the opportunity that this meeting presents. While I am not convinced that a new political party should develop from this meeting (nor is it the ultimate solution to re-engaging Albertans), the leadership vacuum that our province is feeling presents an opportunity for change that Albertans haven’t seen in a long time. As I have written before, it is only a matter of time before we witness a big political shift in our province, but it will be up to Albertans to decide what this change will embody.
If you would like more information about Reboot Alberta, please email Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.