By David Schneider
* The following article was co-compiled by a small group of Official Opposition MLAs who each week, get together to talk through a legislative policy issue. As part of the process, a short commentary is compiled and then edited.
2015 was certainly not a year that lacked political news in Alberta. It was a year that saw unprecedented political change, both federally and provincially.
After 44 years of single-party rule, Albertans took a jump into the unknown. A jump very much like skydiving — once you jump you can’t change your mind until you reach the bottom. In this case, the bottom is still three and a half years away.
It’s said, “there is nothing that motivates an Alberta voter like good old fashioned anger.” The anger expressed at the polls in Alberta towards a 44-year-old government, measured a 10.0 on the Richter scale that saw the scale tip from the right to the far left. The anger towards the Alberta government in most cases was justified. It came from a tired and worn-out bureaucratized organization that simply lost touch with the average Albertan’s values.
Just like when an earthquake occurs, the landscape changes, sometimes it changes drastically. The drastic change we saw in Alberta appears to have changed the landscape from one unstable formation to another formation that is equally as unstable.
In the short time since the political landscape in Alberta has changed, we’ve already seen a few aftershocks that are showing just how unstable things remain. The failure of representatives to pay heed to the wishes of their constituents on Bill 6 has been causing unnecessary aftershocks that are causing damage to an already unstable landscape.
Not to be lost in the shaking and shifting of this new era in Alberta politics is the instability that has taken a firm hold in the energy industry. With prices already at lows not seen for decades, the Alberta government is adding to the uncertainty by delaying their review on Alberta’s energy royalties. The uncertainty is acting like a fault line that is moving Alberta further away from economic stability.
Alberta’s Wildrose Official Opposition is striving to be the voice that brings common sense and stability to the Alberta taxpayers.
Collectively, Alberta’s Opposition MLAs represent almost 60 per cent of voters? — voters that deserve to have their voice heard in the Legislature on matters that affect their lives.
As Wildrose Official Opposition members we are encouraged to express the views and opinions of our constituents by having the ability to vote freely in the house on legislation without being tied to a party ideology. Wildrose remains the only party in Alberta that allows free votes in the Legislature.
The goal of the Wildrose Official Opposition in 2016 is to continue to hold the government to account and make sure the 60 per cent of Albertans are not drowned out by the 40 per cent.
In order to have democracy as it was intended, a voice other than that of those in power, must be heard — otherwise it is not democracy at all.
On behalf of the entire Wildrose Official Opposition caucus, we would like to wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2016.