Who does the MLA represent?

We need to take a serious look at who does your MP and MLA really represent.

Are they representing the people who elected them or are they representing the party?

It seems to me that the last three Alberta premier’s were promoting the aspirations of either the bureaucracy and/or the party.

I did not see any demand from the public for them to be running deficit budgets.

Your MLA is told how to vote by the party whip on government policy.

I believe in most cases even opposition MLA’s are told how to vote on “party” policy.

For the two terms that they were official opposition some Wildrose MLA’s did vote in the interests of their constituents.

Perhaps a bit of history would be in order for us to understand what has been really happening politically in Alberta.

While we have consistently had majority governments, we have not had what I would describe as good government since the beginning of Ralph Klein’s fourth term.

He had us back to a balanced budget and the debt paid off by the end of his third term.

After that accomplishment, he lost his focus and issues went sideways to the point that he only received 54 per cent of support at an annual meeting.

He stepped down and was replaced by Ed Stelmach.

Under that leadership, we started running deficit budgets that have consistently grown worse since that time.

He quit after one term and was replaced by Allison Redford.

She thought she was entitled to spend money like she was a sovereign.

Her spending (especially for herself) was so outrageous that she was forced to resign after 2 1/2 years by her own caucus.

Redford and Stelmach were compromised candidates as they were elected on the second ballot by a proportional voting system in their leadership contests.

Jim Prentice, a former Conservative cabinet minister from the Stephen Harper government, won the nomination to replace Redford and was sworn in as premier.

He called an early election saying that he needed a mandate to deal with the deficit.

What he really thought was that there was no way the NDP were a serious election threat and the Wildrose were not yet a threat due to the defection of Danielle Smith and most of her caucus to the PC Party.

In other words, he was looking over his right shoulder instead of his left and saw an opportunity.

Well, we all know what happened. He won only 10 seats to the NDP’s 55 so he rightly resigned his seat.

What Prentice and his advisers did not see was that the public was so sick and tired of the old PC politics that people held their nose and voted NDP just to get rid of them.

However, what we did was jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

You can see that the NDP are using the old party mould for developing policy, implementing policy from the top and feeding it down to the people.

The MLA’s were told how to vote.

This was not grassroots policy. They knew what was best for us. Maybe it is time to look at a different model.

Independent MLA’s do not have to tip-toe on a party line, they would vote for policy that is in the interests of the people that elected them.

It is obvious that the UCP under Jason Kenney has gone back to the old model and is ignoring the policy and constitution passed at the UCP founding convention.

I think we may have the opportunity to vote for independent candidates in some ridings in this election.

If Independents held the balance of power like the Green’s in BC that would sure change the way business is being done now.

To get real democratic policies, there does need to be change.


by Herman Schwenk

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ECA Review