Posted by: edwinerickson | November 14, 2010

Moving right along, then…

When I made my initial attempt at breaking into the blogosphere over eight months ago, I never dreamed that I would only be at post #3 by November!  But, I’d like to think that my excuses for faltering have been good ones…

Indeed, work as leader of the Alberta Party has been both challenging and rewarding since starting this blog back in February. However, looking back, much has been accomplished with limited resources in a very short period of time. Membership in the party has over quintupled since then, and many extremely talented individuals have come aboard. The BIG Listen project can only be described as a huge success, through which the Alberta Party has begun to develop a whole new culture of politics in this province – a culture in which true vision and creative thinking supersede worn-out labels and attitudes.

We have recently conducted our first AGM under the new regime, where nearly 260 members were represented. A new Board of Directors and a new constitution were adopted, and the kick-off of the discernment process for the BIG Listen was well-attended and very productive. The ultimate fruits of those arduous and committed efforts were savoured at the Policy Convention on November 13-14 in Red Deer. A healthy serving of policy resolutions were passed that many Albertans have been waiting for, for a long time.

On Saturday at the policy convention, I stepped down as leader of the party, to help pave the way for a leadership race early in 2011. As we have grown, so has the mandate for the party leader. Now, with still more exceptional talent on the Board and among the membership, it seems only reasonable to reassess the leadership, as well. To truly attain our vision and to fully respect the value of the democratic process, we must be continually willing and prepared to adapt.

The past 16 months of helping to build the Alberta Party have been joyful ones. Working with highly motivated and capable people instills that kind of joy. But, most of all, I am encouraged by the efforts and abilities of an enviable number of members and participants who are still in the early decades of their lives. Throughout my political experience, my biggest concern has consistently been for my children, grandchildren and their grandchildren, and their peers. To actually see rapidly growing numbers of active youthful participants stepping up to the plate on behalf of their province and fellow citizens casts an incredibly warm and sunny glow on my departure as leader.

My most heartfelt thanks to all I have had the privilege of working with in the past months. What an incredible start – I can’t begin to imagine how the Alberta Party will look at this time next year, now that the ball is really beginning to roll!

Edwin Erickson, Outgoing Leader

Alberta Party

Posted by: edwinerickson | February 19, 2010

“The BIG Listen”

It has been a long and arduous political journey since the 2008 provincial election.

An unfortunate incident, which developed several months after the election, at the AGM of the Alberta Green Party, eventually led to the party’s de-registration by Elections Alberta in March, 2009. Even after having been their most successful candidate in 2004 and #2 in 2008, I had already come to the conclusion that the Green Party was unelectable in Alberta, and had left the party on February 24, 2009.

I immediately went to work on gathering the necessary signatures to form the Alberta Progress Party. Part way through that exercise, we found the Alberta Party, a party that had been around since 1985, but that had done little to make a place for itself in Alberta politics. But, we soon found that our two groups had much in common, and we were warmly welcomed into the fold of the Alberta Party in June of 2009. Five of us from the Progress element soon became members of the Alberta Party board of directors. On January 9, 2010, I became leader of the party.

But, the real magic happened in Sylvan Lake on February 7, when we were joined by yet another capable and ambitious group called Renew Alberta. That meeting will undoubtedly go down as a major turning point in Alberta’s political history. Along with the joining of forces of these two groups came the inspiration for “The BIG Listen.”

The BIG Listen” will kick off on March 1, and it is our intention to sit down and talk with many thousands of Albertans at their own kitchen tables. This initiative will pave the way for doing politics in a completely new way in Alberta, a way in which everyday Albertans will really have an opportunity to voice their opinions and expect to be heard!

We think that, by starting with “The BIG Listen”, we can build an Alberta that all of us can be proud of!

We need to talk to as many people as possible over the next few months, and I ask all of you to consider being part of this exciting challenge. Please contact me if you would like to host a kitchen-table listening experience, or if you would be interested in working as a volunteer facilitator.

Meanwhile, our new temporary website is now up and running www.AlbertaParty.ca.  This launch will be followed by a more complete website near the end of February.

Alberta is at an important crossroads, and we all have an opportunity to be part of it!

Posted by: edwinerickson | February 10, 2010

Provincial Budget

Today, February 9, 2010, marks the kick-off of this blog, and the release of the Alberta government’s 2010-11 budget. With a $4.78 billion dollar deficit and a corresponding reduction in the Sustainability Fund, we are again reminded of the shortsightedness and poor planning of this government. Severe cutbacks to many of our essential and much-needed services only add further support to my ongoing argument that this government has been mismanaging our province for decades.

Here we sit, in the middle of yet another economic bust, with a savings account (sustainability fund) that can only last 3-4 years, while our essential services continue to deteriorate. We are continually told that our province is #1 at almost everything, but when we travel outside the province and abroad, it gets more and more difficult to recognize the truth in those kinds of statements.

Our resources are finite, at least if we continue to mismanage them the way we have. There is huge opportunity to make much better use of all our resources, both human and otherwise, but our current legislators seem intent on turning a blind eye. We can do better – a lot better. But we need to get involved in our own destiny, and part of that destiny involves holding our government to account.

This province belongs to its people – to those who have worked to build it, and who continue to do so. I think it’s time we reclaimed it.

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