Opinion Column by MLA Rick Strankman. FILE PHOTO

What’s the goal?

While politicians want unity, ordinary Albertans want more than that.

Rick Strankman/MLA Drumheller-Stettler

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step,” is the famous proverb by Chinese philosopher Laozi, and describes how an involved complex process starts with a relatively easy task. Conservatives in Alberta have been on the fairly complex and contentious task of trying to unite the majority of Albertans into one consolidated effort.

Much of the effort to unite Albertans has been concentrated on moving towards one conservative entity; however, there is something that has yet to be clearly defined. What is the ultimate goal of unity?

While politicians want unity, ordinary Albertans want more than that. Albertans want a government that facilitates their dreams and fosters an environment that is conducive to developing their full potential. Before the journey of consolidation of conservatism in Alberta begins, it’s vital that we know what direction we need to turn, to start that journey.

In seeming contradiction to Laozi’s intuitive words, a journey must begin with a direction. Like any mission we set out on, it’s important to know as we pull out of the driveway, which way we need to turn to get to our destination. Many of the discussions around unity have revolved around the journey instead of our ultimate destination.

Equally important to our destination, is an examination of where we’ve been and where we’re beginning our journey from. Conservative Albertans have been hindered by a lack of direction and a lack of a defined goal due to leadership that has been at times, counter-intuitive and self-serving.

The success or failure of unity will in large part be directly related to the vision of the leaders we chose to guide us through the process. Ordinary Albertans need to step up to the plate and verbalize what the goal should be and what it should look like. This is a case where free speech needs to take control and controlled speech must be suppressed.

A lot of the Albertans I have discussed unity with, have related to me how they feel disconnected and disaffected by the process that has led us where we are today; which is obviously not where we want to be as conservatives. As we watch the government ranks swell, as we lose freedoms and as we see our overall tax burden for Alberta families rise, we realize how important it is to get this province back on the right track.

At this point in the process it is important that ordinary Albertans like you make their feelings known. It’s important that the direction of where the people in leadership attempt to take us is where we want to go.

There are a number of individuals vying for the leadership of a new conservative party. The grassroots have yet to define what that goal will look like in the end. That’s where the politicians need to step back and the people need to step up. The goal of where the people need to go can only be defined by the people.

The goal must be more than power; it must be to guide Albertans where they want to go.