The State of the Province speech I wanted to hear…
Over the years I’ve been mystified (read judgmental) over the speeches that politicians make. I KNOW the amount they are paying communications teams. I just finished listening to Rachel Notley’s and, while I do appreciate her public service and the inherent difficulty of leading at this time- well, I had just hoped for something different. In hindsight I can see that this was a blind hope- in no way is Rachel Notley governing differently than she said she would, in no way is she wavering from her values and ideals. What I’m disappointed about is our system of governance, party politics (dogma) and us vs. them would not be seen as the best way to steer (as the word govern originates from) anything. We are mid sea alternating between one shore and another- inevitably never getting anywhere.
This would not be a problem if there were no passengers aboard- but there are- a whole province full. A whole province full of beings with the same needs but different levels of these needs being met. We all need food, water, shelter, relationships and the ability to express in some way.
Here’s where I think the party system fails us- the actions of our governance is focused on the goal of re-election and this is where the energy on all sides is focused. The job at hand however is care and support of the people.
So, with that background, here’s what I would have liked to hear today.
Good Afternoon Fellow Albertans,
I’m here today to comment on the state of Alberta, I recognize that each and every one of you have a view on what this is from where you sit. After years of prosperity and enjoying the Alberta Advantage we are in a different reality right now. Many of you who enjoyed that advantage are now facing drastic changes and I recognize that the change in government a year ago was a shock and to many of you has been an aggravation.
Our priorities as the NDP party are different than our longstanding predeccesors but our commitment to the goal of prosperity for all Albertans is not. The ultimate goal of all parties is a thriving economy and quality of life for the people of this province. With the great privilege of leadership comes the responsibility to make decisions that matter to people. Equality in this is crucial, for too long this has been a choice of supporting the rich or supporting the poor. Well, this is no choice at all, when you don’t support the rich you lose jobs, when you don’t support the poor you cost the system more money. While this is incredibly simplified I want you to hear that in order for Alberta to succeed our people need to be supported, our people need to be cared for, we as a governing body- both those of us in leadership and those in the opposition must have one goal and that is creating an environment in Alberta where people are able to express the wealth of personal contribution that they inherently possess.
Today’s message must be one of looking forward, blaming anyone for where we are now is not a good use of our energy. What we can do with that past information though and from what we have learned in the past year governing this province is to get creative. We as a province are used to doing things different, the maverick and independence that Albertans show again and again needs to be harnessed – but not restricted. Listening is crucial, listening to Albertans, and you have already spoken, we don’t need to spend another dollar on engagement, particularly if we are going to stick with dogmatic politics.
I’m calling on ourselves as the sitting party and our complement- yes, I’m going to change the name of opposition to complement, to sit down with our viewpoints, sit down with the voices of Albertans that we’ve already heard and actually do the hard work of making a plan for our economy AND our social responsibility. A plan that is not a compromise, that is not a half way, a plan that refuses to sacrifice a perspective but an innovation- a world leader. Let’s stop talking about collaboration, stop talking about innovation and stop talking about leadership and let’s do the collaborative, innovative, leading job of actually putting it in play.
This will take a new approach, an approach that honors the diversity of Alberta – although a new idea in government this is not innovative in the realm of successful leadership and successful marriage. These alliances, which serve the greater good and those they are responsible for, are most successful when they have shared vision, communication, respect, chore sharing and the ability to rebuild – we are not currently demonstrating these qualities as a government. There is no blame in that though as party politics have always led to a winning and an opposing view – who could run a marriage or a business in this way?
The state of the province is in flux, we are having to face a movement away from relying on the instability of the energy market, our success depends on how we approach this. The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them, as businessman James Cash Penney said Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together. In Alberta we have a lot of forces. We have our conservative, liberal and new democratic views, we have our new immigrants and our first peoples and everyone in between, we are a colorful unit.
Perhaps this sounds too soft, too airy-fairy, but to work together is harder and more courageous than to continue tearing one another down. My commitment as leader is to convene a Way Forward movement. In the interest of stability we will continue on with the plans that this government and the previous government have set in motion and that are already being managed by our valuable civil service and we will also meet in a new way as a group of elected officials- as true representatives of our constituents- and we will evolve our conversations to look for the Alberta win-win.
Finally, I cannot report on the status of Alberta without talking about our assets. Our province is rich in natural resources, we are wealthy in beautiful spaces, we are abundant in technological prowess and we have the fortune of a people who come together when times are hard, people who stand up for what they believe in, people who take responsibility for their own chunk of this province and a people who care about one another. As a government we must demonstrate our worthiness to care take such treasures. I am asking you for your trust in this way forward and that you will continue to use your voice to keep us accountable to all perspectives. Thank You.