Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear from somebody who is worried about the direction of the NDP Government in Alberta. It’s hard to find anybody around here who admits to voting for them, and yet there they are, with a firm majority to boot. They have elected members, some even in cabinet who have actively lobbied against our oil sands. They promise royalty reviews to an industry that is struggling to keep Albertans employed. They make no bones about piling up debt to unprecedented levels. Debt which our children will be left to pay off, along with the interest payments which will be in the billions of dollars. This is all so troubling to Conservative minded Albertans who believe in approaching things a different way. Clearly, I count myself as one of those.
I firmly believe the majority of Albertans do prefer another approach. The thing is, over the years we Conservative minded folk have managed to splinter into different camps, often focusing on our differences and disagreements.
So how are we going to fix this? Let’s start by acknowledging that if the PC’s and Wildrose don’t come together in some fashion the NDP are quite likely to win the next election. Remember, in the last Provincial election, 28% of Albertans voted PC and 24% voted Wildrose. In this riding of Chestermere – Rocky View, 37% voted Wildrose, 36% went PC. Combined, those numbers would most certainly lead to a majority Government
That’s why I was encouraged and yet discouraged by the comments of Wildrose leader Brian Jean at the parties AGM in Calgary last weekend. On one hand Mr. Jean appealed to Conservative Albertans to come together for the betterment of Alberta. On the other hand, he referred to some of the divisive events of the past which only manages to fuel resentments.
Most Conservatives believe in balanced budgets and eliminating debt. They support parental choice in education and a grading system that objectively grades a student’s skills and knowledge of the provincial curriculum. They believe decisions in health care are made best by those closest to the action, those on the front lines. Conservative minded Albertans also care about the size of Government and recognize that as stewards of public dollars, Government has to be lean and still take care of vulnerable Albertans.
I do want to point out that the above principles and many more were presented to me last December as an agreement of “aligned values and principles” with which we could go forward together. And while that process never went forward as I and many others had hoped, the vision for a united Conservative Alberta was the desired outcome.
I think it still is.
So going forward, my hope is we focus on our similarities not our differences, on what unites us, not what divides us. I am fortunate to have good friends in both parties. If you were to take the partisan flag away, the values of most are pretty similar. So let’s do that. Let’s stop talking about past mistakes and frustrations and talk about how together we can make this great province even better.
I’d love to hear your opinions on all this. On how we go forward, not how we look back. Please feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org