To properly hold our elected representatives to account, Albertans need to get involved. With an election looming in the next year or so, it’s time for Alberta conservatives to recognize an important opportunity. A cohesive effort to put our best foot forward and offer the public choices that come from our experiences is imperative. It’s your turn to get involved and decide who will advocate for you and your fellow Albertans and not just for a small special interest segment.
As the elected member of the Alberta Legislature for Drumheller-Stettler, I feel personally accountable to every resident in the riding. That accountability came of my own free-will when I allowed my name to stand for the election in the 2012 and 2015 general elections. My responsibility and accountability is to every constituent – with no exceptions, regardless of what part of the riding they live in, rural or urban.
On December 17th, 2014 my decision whether to cross the floor with the 11 other MLAs was not something I was willing to consider. Ultimately, the decision was not mine to make. I remembered who put me in the seat and I respected their wishes. For me to arbitrarily change the vote of the majority of the people of this riding, would have been undemocratic and therefore not something I considered doing.
In recent years Albertans have been on the bad end of some very undemocratic decisions and actions by elected people we have entrusted to be in charge of our province and country.The lack of respect for democracy and accountability towards Albertans has been met with cynicism and anger from voters, leading to a feeling that the average Albertan has no influence or voice on issues that affect them personally; thus creating a deficit in democracy within Alberta.
An example of this deficiency in democracy is the lack of free votes in the Legislature by Government MLAs and the expectation for them to ‘tow the party line’ without question. The NDP failed to mention their carbon tax before the last election and their MLAs one and all shirked the responsibility given to them by the electorate, by blindly voting in favour of it. This government’s elected representatives vote in favour of Bills presented by the government, with little regard for the wishes of their constituents.
The right of the electorate to duly elect their representation without interference or manipulation should never be undermined by anyone. Special interest groups, regardless of how they present themselves, have always tried to have special influence in elections and legislative functions. Unfortunately, these special interest groups have a very narrow field of political vision.
It is wise to be mindful that the electorate have certain reasonable expectations of their duly elected representatives and that they hold the pencil and the ballot at the end of the day. In 2015, conservatives learned that very valuable lesson, and for the majority of us we received that message.
With the battle scars of having been through the 2015 election, Alberta conservatives have another marvellous opportunity to stand up and get involved if they hope to change the ideological crash course this province is on.
Let’s not waste this opportunity on special interests!