Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Alberta Election Call

Well, here we go. It's election time again in Alberta. The reigning Conservative party has been in power for 37 years - almost my entire life. Ed Stelmach is the current leader of the party and premier of Alberta -- Steady Eddie as he's known. He hasn't been elected by the people of Alberta though, just selected by members of the Conservative party at the last party convention over a year ago.

It's only been in the last several years that I was aware enough about political things to start caring about who was in government and what they were doing or not doing. As the years went on, I became increasingly disgusted, especially with the previous premier of Alberta, Ralph Klein. I was a bit more hopeful when Stelmach was appointed, but recent correspondence with him has reinforced to me that he is just the same old story in a less overtly arrogant package.

Things are changing here in Alberta. 37 years of rule by one party is a long, long time. More people, including me, are willing to stand up and say we want something different. We want a government that isn't in the pocket of the oil companies. We want to be treated as people, not just as consumers or contributers to the Gross Domestic Product. We want a government that takes seriously its mandate to represent all the people of Alberta, not just the ones with lots of money.

So when your local candidates come to your door or to a local candidates forum, ask them the tough questions. Here are some of the questions I'll be asking my candidates:
  • What steps will you take to move Alberta towards developing sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind power and move away from fossil fuel usage?
  • What will you do to encourage Albertans to conserve energy? What steps do you take in your household to conserve energy?
  • What is your view of peak oil?
  • What is your view of climate change?
  • How will your party enhance public transportation in both rural and urban areas?
  • Will your party institute a moratorium on all new oil sands leases until there is a provincial land use plan including protected areas, cumulative impact limits, integrated land management and oil companies are mandated to employ best practices?
  • How will you regulate industry such that absolute reductions in greenhouse gases can be realized at Kyoto levels (i.e., a reduction of 6% below 1990 levels).
  • What is your view of carbon taxes?
  • What is your position on building a nuclear power plant in Alberta?
  • How will you protect Alberta's water? How will you ensure that water is not considered a tradable commodity and sold in bulk to the US or other countries?
  • What is your understanding of the Genuine Progress Indicator and will your party consider it as a replacement to the Gross Domestic Product?
  • How will you support family farms?
  • How will you encourage the development of safe, affordable housing? What is your view on rent control?
  • How will you ensure that public primary and secondary education is actually free and that the numerous and burdensome extra school fees are removed?
If you haven't already guessed, I'm voting for the Alberta Green Party. Their policies are ones with which I wholeheartedly (and wholemindedly) agree. No matter who you decide to vote for, do get out and VOTE! Alberta politics are changing - be a part of it!

Picture from the Edmonton Sun

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