I am a former Federal and Alberta Progressive Conservative. I got involved in federal politics to help Joe Clark win the PC Party leadership in the mid 70s. I became an Alberta Progressive Conservative to help Peter Lougheed replace the social Credit government of Harry Strom.
I saw the demise of the federal PC starting with the second election of Mulroney, the reduction to 2 seats in the mess he handed to Kim Campbell and the betrayal of the PC brand by Peter McKay to the Reform Alliance types of Stockwell Day and Stephen Harper.
I left the provincial PCs with Bill 44 as the last straw and after years of frustration with Ralph Klein. I did not suppor this leadership but did applaud his Premiership in the early years. He was good at one job – getting rid of debt and deficit and then put his feet up and got lazy for 10 years until he was ousted by his own party.
I did not support Ed Selmach’s bid to lead the Alberta PC until the second ballot but it was an easy choice to make at the time considering the alternatives. For the first year Stelmach was a great Premier but then he went off the rails and now is in survival mode running hard to the right in fear of the Wildrose Alliance.
All of this is background to the great column byLawrence Martin in the Globe and Mail today “Is the an old-style Tory in the House?” His conclusing is federally there is not any left. Provincially there are few but they are marginalized and isolated from influencing the thinking of the right-wing reactionary conservative mainline thinking of the “evolved'” Stelmach government.
There is a reason right-wing governments have taken over. A great deal of it is the indifference and disillusion and disengagement of progressive in the political process. I was guilt of that in the federal PC Party and share the blame for its demise as much as any other part member.
Since I left the Alberta PCs I have worked hard on establishing Reboot Alberta as a place and space for progressives to meet and talk about what they want to see happen to have a more progressive political culture in Alberta. RebootAlberta is welcoming regardless of political affiliation but is dedicated and focused on progressive political principles. Go to http://www.rebootalberta.org and read what some Albertans consider progressive political principles.
I do not want to make the same mistake of presumptive indifference again like I did in the federal PC Party. Progressives are partially to blame for the reckless and abusive nature of how power is used in the governments in power in Canada and Alberta today – because of indifference.
I am not committed to the PC Party but have joined the Alberta Party to help them grapple with their idea of doing politics differently and progressively. I am especially committed to the idea of a progressive citizen’s movement like Reboot Alberta as a way to get political control back in the hands, hearts and minds of thoughtful, informed active and effective citizens. Come and see this in action at Reboot 3.0 Nov 5-6 in Edmonton. Click here to register.
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