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14 April 2012

Democratic Renewal Policy: We need to reimagine our democracy.

brandonbeasley.pngBetter policy comes from the living rooms and not the backrooms. As we travelled across the province during The Big Listen, we had conversations with Albertans about their hopes and dreams for the future. It was clear that too many Albertans feel disconnected from their government and are longing to be engaged in a meaningful and authentic way. 

Let’s build a citizen-centred democracy.

For years, “public engagement” in Alberta has simply been a term used by the government to sell its policies to Albertans. From power-lines to impaired driving legislation, we have seen the government make decisions without having an honest conversation with the community. As a result, creative ideas, such as building smaller gas powered generators near major cities to meet future electrical demand or increasing the number of check-stops to catch impaired drivers, never get considered.

The Alberta Party will make our democracy more citizen-centred by:

  • Implementing meaningful public engagement for all major government decisions before the decision is made, by using a combination of on-line and in person engagement techniques.
  • Opening up the budget process to actively engage citizens about how they want their government to use their tax dollars.
  • Eliminating the Public Affairs Bureau, the government’s public relations department. 

Better government requires better MLAs.

Most Albertans wouldn’t recognize their MLA because they are usually missing in action.  We believe that your MLA has a significant role in rebuilding our democracy.

The Alberta Party will:

  • Adopt the Alberta Party’s Guidelines for MLAs, which require MLAs to engage their constituents on a regular basis.
  • Increase the number of free votes in the Legislature so that decisions better reflect what MLAs are hearing from their constituents.

Fix the MLA compensation system.

The “money for nothing” scandal has revealed that the MLA compensation system is anything but transparent. It’s virtually impossible to figure out how much your MLA gets paid because they get additional money for serving on committees or doing other work (or, in some cases, no work at all). This system is designed to hide the actual amount of compensation your MLA takes home and it has to stop.

The Alberta Party will:

  • Eliminate the tax-exempt portion of MLA salaries.
  • Implement a more transparent compensation system for MLAs and publish what each MLA actual earns on the Internet.
  • Create an independent committee to set MLA compensation so that MLAs get paid a fair wage for the work that they do.

Politicians have to earn back your trust.

The vast majority of people who serve in public office are decent, hardworking and honourable people. Incidents such as the recent “money for nothing” scandal and the Progressive Conservative’s “flexible” fixed election date law, have tarnished our political system. 

In order to restore confidence in our political system, the Alberta Party will:

  • Legislate real fixed election dates in order to have a level playing field for all political parties.
  • Lower the donation and spending limits for political parties and candidates in order to reduce the influence donors have on our politicians.
  • Mandate full disclosure of donations prior to Election Day, so that citizens will know who is funding their candidates.

Improving the way our democracy works is the key to improving how government works. With a few simple changes, Alberta can become the most open and transparent government in Canada.  

Watch this video overview of our democratic renewal policy by St. Albert candidate Tim Osborne:

Learn more:

All of our hard work is starting to pay off and the Alberta Party's message is spreading faster than ever. Please use the buttons below to share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Google +.

Have a wonderful weekend folks!

Glenn_jeans_5.pngGlenn Taylor
Leader, Alberta Party
Candidate, West Yellowhead

PS - In case you missed it, we also released a video of my responses to the questions posed during the recent televised leaders' debate - please watch it now and pass it on to your friends and family.

Help us spread our message to more Albertans - please make a donation to the Alberta Party, any amount you can afford from $5 - $250 will be gratefully accepted.

10 April 2012

Alberta Party MLA Guidelines - Our MLAs will behave differently

In response to some of the recent attention paid to the issue of how MLAs conduct themselves in the legislature, the Alberta Party issued the following statement today.

EDMONTON - April 10, 2012 - The Alberta Party has a firm commitment to openness, transparency, democracy and innovation in the way our party conducts its business. With other parties starting to discuss their ideas for the behaviour of MLAs it is worth reminding everyone that the Alberta Party released guidelines for the behaviour of Alberta Party MLAs in November 2010.

Highlights from our guidelines include: 

  • Alberta Party MLAs will be required to engage their constituents on a regular basis using a combination of on-line and traditional communication tools, including Twitter, Facebook, coffee parties and town halls.
  • Alberta Party MLAs will conduct themselves in a professional manner. This includes treating all other members of the legislature with politeness and respect.
  • Alberta Party MLAs will be free to vote their conscience on all votes except 1) an Alberta Party budget or 2) a bill that was a published part of the Alberta Party’s platform.
  • Alberta Party MLAs will post their voting record and reasons why they voted for or against a particular resolution on their websites.

“The role of an MLA is not to represent the party to their constituents; it is to represent their constituents to the party and the legislature.” Says Alberta Party Leader Glenn Taylor.  “However, that doesn’t mean that MLAs are simply polling and voting machines.  Rather, Alberta Party MLAs are to ensure that they consider their constituents views prior to casting their vote in the legislature."

Learn more about the Alberta Party’s Guidelines for MLAs


06 April 2012

Alberta Party salutes Rural Innovation

Glenn_jeans_2.pngDuring the first two weeks of this election campaign, there has been an underlying debate between the PCs and the Wildrose parties about the role of government in our society (you may have missed it given the billions of dollars of spending promises made by them). Those parties are debating about whether there should be “less government” rather than talking about how government can work.  This debate is particularly important if you and your family live in rural Alberta and if you want your children to have the ability to continue to live in places like Peace River, Hanna and Lacombe.

Government has a role.

The honest truth is that many parts of rural Alberta are in trouble because businesses and jobs are disappearing. As the former Mayor of a rural community, I understand the positive role that government can play in fostering an environment where businesses and entrepreneurs can succeed. 

One example of an innovative way that government can help keep our rural communities vibrant is the Rural Alberta Development Fund (RADF).  I was a founding board member and past chair of the RADF, which is an organization that manages a $100 million dollar fund created by the Government of Alberta.  This fund helps kick start projects that strengthen our rural communities.  They produced the great video below that tells their amazing story.

Smarter government, stronger communities.

Our rural communities policy is focused on helping our rural communities to thrive and prosper.  We will: 

  • Extend the RADF program beyond its 2014 expiry date so that it can continue its works in rural Alberta.
  • Work with rural leaders to design and implement programs that assist young entrepreneurs based in rural communities.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to ensure that residents and businesses in rural communities have access to broadband Internet services.
  • Work with rural communities to develop and implement economic development strategies that are specifically tailored for those communities.

The Alberta Party is committed to making Alberta the best place to live, and that includes rural Alberta.   The debate is not about whether government should be bigger or smaller - it’s about making the government work smarter.

Learn more:

Read our full Rural Communities policy document

Read our full Municipal policy document

Read our 2012 Election Platform - We can dream bigger

Glenn Taylor

Leader, Alberta Party

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