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Thursday, November 26, 2009

rebooting citizen engagement and democracy in alberta.

Earlier this month, when I asked what an empowered Alberta would look like, it became clear to me that the majority of Albertans do not see value in participating in the traditional liturgy of our established democratic institutions. I also made two reflections that have stuck with me since:

1) As our society has changed in monumental ways, we have seen very little change in our democratic institutions.
2) Creating value in citizen participation is key to re-engaging the millions of Albertans who have disengaged from our democratic institutions and the process governing them.

Because of these two reflections, I am excited to be attending Reboot Alberta in Red Deer this weekend. I have no clue what ideas the discussions at this weekend's event will produce, but I am excitedly anticipating meeting, debating, and sharing stories and ideas with other Albertans who are passionate about the future of our province. Bloggers Alex Abboud, Chris LaBossiereAlexander Muirthe Unknown Studio, and Ken Chapman (among others) have written passionately about why they are attending this weekend. You can follow Reboot Alberta on Twitter at #rebootab.

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. I love Alberta and I am eager to continue participating in the debates that will shape this change.


Ian said...

Let us know if any politician's show up. I'm doubtful though.

Anonymous said...

This idea is insufferable. A meeting with no stated purpose except talking about re-engagement? And what does "creating value in citizen participation" mean?

Can we drop the self-important internet-driven debating societies and actually get to work getting rid of these idiots in power?

Roll up your sleeves!

Gauntlet said...

To be fair, at least two of the topics that have been suggested for discussion at the conference are of the 'roll up your sleeves' variety. I'm sorry it's not more, but I'm hopeful at least one of the two will get onto the agenda, and that Sunday will give the attendees the opportunity to think about action.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that you Dave, and others involved at Reboot are smart, responsible people, filled with integerity.

My worry is that how do you get ideas in Alberta's political reality to get any tracton ?

Bring somthing back Dave and share it with us for our own growth, and action.

On another note I had to reboot my computer I ended up replacing the hardware. . .

Anonymous said...

Oh good, more post-partisan nonsense! The same crew of Twitterites that attended ChangeCamp can once again get together to discuss... how smart they are?

You could have organized a handful of constituencies for your new centre-left party by now. That probably would have brought a few existing Liberal and/or NDP MLAs on board.

But have a nice time discussing change without causing any.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 9:20.

You are obviously hurting.

You want to contribute something somehow but feel the only way that you can is by posting something negative and unconstructive.

Yet you want to contribute otherwise you would have not posted your comment.

Do some thinking about how you can repackage your anger and frustration into constructive and rewarding action.

Just my 2 cents cuz I've been where you are now!

Anonymous said...

All this talk about rebooting bores me.

Derrick Jacobson said...

Hope that the RebootAB meeting can live up to the hype and provide some insight. I am not interpreting it is a movement in the party sense rather a group of progressives sharing their thought on how to improve things in AB.
I will not be attending as I felt that it was not for those who support the way we develope our resources, disagree with Satya's green oil views, or have the conservative mindset.
I do however support the ideas behind it and look forward to hearing on the findings. Have a great weekend.

Brandon J said...

Wasn't a guy talking about creating a new centre-left party that would be a big tent for progressives of all stripes, what happened to him?

I hate the fact that people always talk about these ideas on how to re-energize Alberta's political scene and then no substance comes along with the hype. David Swann could have done a great many things to change the political arena, instead he went back to the status quo in a matter of weeks after winning the leadership of the party.

Albertan's in general tend to be a pragmatic lot. The problem is that both the Alberta Liberals and the NDP don't offer much of an alternative to people. The job of an official opposition is not only to criticize the government, but also present themselves as an alternative to the government, in the latter respect they have failed. In many ways it seems that they're content with being restricted to the opposition.

Here's what I suggest, the Alberta Liberals should just disband and create a new entity from the ground up. Start building up the membership base, create new grassroots policies based on the concerns of Albertans from right across the province, build constituency boards, and reach out to disaffected Tories, Liberals, Greens, and New Democrats. Instead of campaigning during a 30 day period once every four years, see it as something that needs to be done 365 days a year.

We've seen political movements out on the prairies [CCF, Progressives, Reform, Social Credit, UFA, etc] that have been able to get enough momentum to bring about change in governments and have lasting effects. If it's happened before, theirs no reason it can't happen again.

If that doesn't happen, then progressives would be better off joining the Progressive Conservatives or Wildrose Alliance and attempt to bring about change from within.

Berry Farmer said...

I planned to attend a day of "Reboot" but CN's engineers are effectively being locked out Friday at midnight... and I have been put on a Yardmasters' spare board to help keep the railway moving... with managers behind the throttle.

As Progressive as I want to be, I'm afraid I cannot say no to CN without risking my job.

Still... I am ready to "roll up my sleeves" and "get off the pot."


Anonymous said...

Dear Skepticts and nay-sayers:

Can't you jerk-offs realize that these people are sacrificing their weekend to make Alberta a better place? Who cares if they come up with a tangible plan or not. Their ideas will eventually lead to change, which is more than I can say about your pathetically negative comments.

What are you doing to make this province better?


Anonymous said...

This province is a great place as it is. Why do we need to talk about Obama-esque mantras like "change we need" when this placfe is already the envy of Canada? Look at the inmigration rates for one.

jerrymacgp said...

Although I think the intentions behind this effort are laudable, I share the opinions of many other commenters here who have suggested that it will not amount to any substantive change. In my view, the reason for this is simple: any changes to the political system in Alberta will require legislative and regulatory change: to the electoral system, to the political financing scheme, to the legislature itself, and so on. If any of those changes are going to be made, they will have to be made from within the existing system. Therefore efforts towards reform must be made from the inside: by working with and for political parties and candidates that support reform, and by pressing those reform-minded candidates who get elected to follow through on their pre-election positions.

Anonymous said...

Why do we need change at all?

Brandon J said...

//Can't you jerk-offs realize that these people are sacrificing their weekend to make Alberta a better place?//

If you're interested in politics it really isn't much of a sacrifice. Not to bash them, but whenever I've attended political meetings or seminars I never considered it much of a sacrifice.

//Who cares if they come up with a tangible plan or not. Their ideas will eventually lead to change, which is more than I can say about your pathetically negative comments. //

The problem is we've heard this all before, nothing came about. In my riding [one of the fastest growing ridings in the Edmonton area] there is absolutely no activity on the part of the left to build inroads.

Read my previous post when a new centre-left [and it will be centre-left] was proposed and soon died off. Until I see an actual movement take place or better yet a new centre-left party with some populist sentiment we won't see any "change" come about. Largely due to the unfortunate fact that many on the left [Liberals, NDP, and Greens] are content with having less than a dozen seats instead of aiming for being in government.

To the angry Liberals who claim they're actually the "government in waiting." No, you aren't. If you were the government in waiting you would have constituency organizations built around the province, a strong membership base, and an ability to attract people from across the province. If the Liberals were actually aiming to become the government they would have taken advantage of the missteps of the PC's, they failed and now we have the Wildrose Alliance polling in second. Wanna take a guess why they're polling in second, because they built up their organization right across the province and viewed political campaigning as something that takes place 365 days a year instead of the current pitiful Liberal virtue of campaigning only 30 days per year once every four years.

I want change, it's just that the centre-left alternatives are so inept that I'm better off going with a current right wing party and moving them towards the centre.