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Sunday, July 24, 2005

In Search of Leaders

Who will provide leadership for an Alberta leading or leaving Canada? Which voices will rise above the bitterness to offer concrete suggestions? Many people speak of their dissatisfaction with Alberta's place in Confederation, but who has a realistic plan for change? Is it not time for Albertan's to think seriously about who will provide the leadership they need now and will demand later? Where is such leadership to be found?

Westerners have repeatedly turned to the federal Opposition for leadership. There are many authentic and able leaders among the Conservatives, yet they are unable to exercise their abilities in real policy-making. Since Ontario and Quebec will never permit a Western-based party to remain in power for any length of time (one term maximum), the leadership from the West must sit as window-dressing around the facade of a non-democracy.

Albertans may look to the provincial PC party for leadership. Certainly, if the 'firewall agenda' is implemented then some concrete progress will be achieved through a traditional rubric. But what if the PC's in Alberta (with some exceptions) morph into fully Red Tories? Can Albertan's expect the momentous changes in Confederation that they hope for? Albertans should not be fooled into thinking that future regimes of Tories in this province will not be tempted by pools of money at their disposal. The allure of 'maintaining power' can tempt Albertan politicians as well as those in Ottawa.

There are other places to look to for leadership. The discussions raised by The Western Standard are helpful in establishing the necessary infrastructure for a Free Alberta. The regular contributions there build on the Report magazine's influence. Having a high quality media outlet that addresses the flashpoints of dissatisfaction keeps the Albertan consensus informed and engaged. This type of leadership nurtures the pre-requisites for vibrant democracy.

Still, there is a need in Alberta for an Institute or Reseach Center that would examine potential scenarios in the process of Alberta leading or leaving Canada. Such an Institute may examine:
1) Implications of the 'firewall agenda'
2) Beyond Firewalls: Can we cut all ties to Ottawa? If so, then how? Suggestions and Implications.
3) Democratic Structures: What model could be set up that transitions from an Alberta in Confederation to an Alberta outside of it.
4) Foundational Principles Codified: What type of Constitutional document should be made?
5) What are the foundational Albertan principles and values?

Albertans should be thinking about where their leaders will come from and how they can be prepared. There is no time to lose. Now is the time for leaders to be trained. Their day may come soon enough.

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  • From Foothills, Alberta Rocky Mountains
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