By Rick Strankman MLA Drumheller Stettler
Over the last 12 months, the landscape of Alberta politics has once again taken a dramatic turn, this time it’s for the better. Since March 18th when Jason Kenney won the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party of Alberta, he racked up four consecutive successful campaigns on the promise of delivering people a simple principle – democracy.
Democracy is a system of government based on representation by the population of eligible members of a jurisdiction. In a true democracy, those representatives present a platform that will act on the wishes of the majority; however it is up to the person seeking election to inform voters of their intent should they be successful in their pursuit.
Unlike the Alberta Government’s method of introducing policies from out of nowhere and without electoral consent, Jason Kenney is offering United Conservative Party members the opportunity to set the legislative course Alberta will travel into the future. Kenney explicitly laid out that the direction the United Conservative Party takes will be determined by its members with his Grassroots Policy Guarantee;
“The policies of the United Conservative Party must be developed democratically by its grassroots members. Not imposed by its leader.”
By initiating this kind of input, Jason Kenney is allowing the people that live in Alberta to decide what kind of province they want. When a government implements legislation that will have a profound effect on every aspect of the province without informing voters of their intention prior to being elected, it is simply an undemocratic act on behalf of that government. With the passage of their job killing carbon tax that is exactly what the NDP accomplished, whether they are willing to admit it or not.
As the United Conservative Party members move toward a May 2018 founding annual general meeting, members are hard at work democratically bringing forward ideas and policies they feel will benefit Alberta. The process is open to anyone that feels strongly about the extreme ideological policies we saw being hurried through the house in the last days of the fall sitting of the legislature.
The open approach to policy development is something that will better reflect the wishes of the most important people in the political equation; Albertans. The detractors have heralded the lack of definitive policy platforms by Kenney as a weakness when in fact it is exactly how grassroots involvement is supposed to work. The Alberta government has illustrated what the antithesis of grassroots policy looks like and how not to engage the grassroots.
Under the leadership of Jason Kenney, the United Conservative Party of Alberta is embarking on a journey to create a true bottom-up platform that Albertans themselves will participate in. Albertans can participate simply by purchasing a membership and attending constituency association meetings. As we move forward toward what most people realize will be an historical provincial election in Alberta, the opportunity to be heard has never been better or more important.
Jason Kenney has repeatedly expressed his wish for policies from the grassroots that will reflect the people he represents; this is called democracy.