In the comments of daveberta’s blog, ministers mel knight and luke ouellette crash landowners rights meeting, people object to this video “intentionally spreading misinformation to conjure up fear and confusion.” In other words, they want the truth.
I was at this meeting and although the video is edited to show the Ministers in a bad light, I can confirm that Luke Ouellette did admit to not understanding the bills (“I have one heck of a time understanding a lot of the real legal stuff within bills and how it works.”) This comment was not taken out of context and Ouellette answered no questions pertaining to the bills. Mel Knight, although obviously more well-versed in the bills, also did not answer questions from the landowners in the audience.
Joe Anglin presented one side of the story and willingly gave the uninvited Ministers an opportunity to share their side of the story. Unfortunately neither Minister chose to articulate the valuable and important parts of the legislation that benefit Albertans. Instead they went on the defensive, shut down questions from the audience and visibly showed their frustration.
As a 2011 Alberta Party leadership candidate I attended this meeting, as well as the debate in Eckville between Keith Wilson and MLA Ted Morton, with an open mind. I gained little insight from the PCs at either meeting. Some of the most de-politicized conversations I’ve had have been with people who were part of a Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). From their perspective there is a lot of great planning and collaboration that will be lost if we repeal the bills.
My search for truth in this situation has been a frustrating and time-consuming effort because politics, at every turn, has gotten in the way.
The question I’ve been asking along with my fellow Alberta Party leadership candidates, Randy Royer and Lee Easton is: “How do we restore in Alberta productive debate that elevates the conversation, seeks and discovers the truth, and moves our Province towards its full potential?”
Good debate in Alberta sometimes happens in different blog comments or over a pint, but we need to unite and get each debate in Alberta that matters in one place online. Albertans need a place to go to find both sides of every issue presented. We need a community that thinks critically, speaks from the heart and is motivated by a search for truth, not votes. (Perhaps this already exists somewhere? If it does, please let me know so I can start contributing to the conversation. I have notes that give the pros and cons of many different issues that I would love to share.)
If it doesn’t, there are people willing to invest in getting a “One-Stop Alberta Debate Shop” going online. This could be coupled with face-to-face discussion groups, research and formalized debates between citizens, not politicians. Across the province we could use this as a tool to become informed, learn how we personally feel about different issues and explore bold ideas.
In the grandest vision, it could evolve to crowdsourcing solutions that reflect the majority of Albertan’s values and beliefs. This could move us away from the divisive nature of partisan politics towards a place where politicians/public servants spend their time facilitating collaborative and responsive efforts between our civil servants and communities that move Alberta towards a shared vision of greatness.
When I lived in Europe and Nigeria, I participated in true debate daily. After being home for over 2 years I’ve come the conclusion our quality of life and our ability to address social issues is being seriously affected by our inability to openly debate without being persecuted for our opinions. This is perhaps why we are behind on many fronts. (For example, social entrepreneurship, micro-financing, appreciation of architecture etc.)
I may have been a member of the Alberta Party, but the reason I joined a political party for the first time was so I could go beyond ideology and safely explore all sides of an issue. After 8 months, I have come to the conclusion that people currently won’t allow a political party to remain non-partisan. I therefore want to be a part of something outside of a party that restores debate and discovers our Province’s truth.
We are getting Alberta nowhere closer to its potential attacking each other in Twitter, so let’s unite and get a real conversation going. Let’s build a community where we can freely talk about taxes, royalties, land use bills, economic diversification, pros and cons of carbon capture and storage, reviving our film industry (or not), reviving our natural gas industry (or not), homelessness, the value of triple bottom line approaches … a community where you name it, we can freely talk about it … where we can figure out when deregulation helps Albertans and when it doesn’t … where we can safely explore both public and private healthcare solutions that work and those that don’t … a community where we use a collaborative and holistic approach and blend knowledge, ideas and expertise from all sectors and all walks of life.
Let’s unite and build a community outside of the political realm that seeks to understand, not to be understood. This simple shift is the key. If you agree and want to be a part of a group that creates a “One-Stop Alberta Debate Shop” going, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment on this blog.
As an Albertan that cares deeply about our Province, all I want is the truth … and I know I’m not the only one.