10 April 2012
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
05 April 2012
In an election campaign where other parties have been busy spending your money, it’s somewhat surprising that no one is talking about Alberta’s cities. When I was Mayor of Hinton, I learned first hand about the challenges faced by our municipal governments.
Why cities matter…
Municipalities provide the services that Albertans rely on everyday, including clean drinking water, public transit, police, recreation and social services. These services affect you and your family every single day.
If we want to make Alberta the best place to live, we need to make sure that our cities are great places to live. However, our municipalities struggle to provide the services that your family needs because the system is simply broken.
Fortunately, the Alberta Party has a simple plan to fix it.
First, we need a better funding model.
Municipalities have two primary sources of revenue: property taxes and user fees. These revenues only cover operating expenses. In order to build the things that our communities need, such as roads, hockey rinks, soccer fields, transit systems and water treatment systems, municipalities rely on grants from the provincial and federal governments.
There are two problems with the grant system. First, the province imposes limitations on the types of projects a grant can be used for. This means that money may gets spent on projects that may not be at the top of a community’s priority list. Second, it’s often very difficult for a city to proceed with large projects since it doesn’t know what its future grants will be.
Lets take rapid transit as an example. New light rail transit lines (LRT) in Calgary and Edmonton will cost between $2 to $3 billion each - which is about the same as the annual operating budgets for these two cities. Thus it is impossible for either city to proceed without help from another level of government. These cities could decide to borrow the money to build those LRT lines today, but they can only do so if they know that there will be grant money in the future to pay back the debt. However, no responsible city council would do that, unless it was certain that the money will be there.
In order to improve the funding model, we will:
- Gradually shift education funding from the property tax system, allowing municipalities full access to the property tax, thus increasing the amount of money available to your municipal government.
- Work with municipalities to develop a predictable and stable long term funding system that allows municipalities to plan effectively.
- Explore replacing the property tax with a fairer taxation system.
Second, we need better governance.
The Municipal Government Act, the law governing our cities, is badly outdated. It has a one size fits all approach to governance. In our large cities, its not uncommon for the entire city council to be debating whether or not someone can build a garage on their property. This may make sense in a tiny hamlet, but it doesn’t make any sense in Edmonton.
We have a plan to make this better. The Alberta Party will:
- Create Large City Charters for Calgary and Edmonton that recognize the unique needs of Alberta’s largest cities.
- Create the Premier’s Council on Local Government to determine the resources and structures that Alberta’s small and mid-sized municipalities need to provide meaningful levels of service to their communities, including the development of local government charters.
Third, we need to improve local government.
In order to help build stronger communities, the Alberta Party believes that we need stronger local governments. We will:
- Implement comprehensive campaign finance reform for municipal elections, including stricter donation and spending limits and mandatory disclosure of campaign donors prior to election day.
- Extend the term of elected municipal officials from three years to four years to allow municipal governments more time to plan and implement their agendas for their communities.
- Establish the Innovation in Municipal Government Program, which will provide financial assistance and technical support for municipalities undertaking citizen engagement projects.
By changing the rules of the game and establishing a predictable and stable funding model, we can provide our local governments with the tools to build strong and healthy communities. Reinvesting in our municipalities is a key step in making Alberta the best place to live.
Leader, Alberta Party
PS - In case you missed it, we also released a strong statement about conscience rights today. Please check it out and click "Like" at the bottom of the page to share this important message with your friends on Facebook.
05 April 2012
For immediate release:
Conscience rights have become a hot issue in the Alberta election this week.
Alberta Party Leader Glenn Taylor voiced his party’s unequivocal opposition to legislating conscience rights. Glenn stated that the equality of all citizens before the law is “the normal state of being in Alberta”.
Further Glenn and the Alberta Party believe that:
“Marriage commissioners are required to provide the services without discrimination, so they should. And if a marriage commissioner objects to marrying someone on the grounds of sexual orientation, or other grounds, like interracial marriage, then they shouldn’t be a marriage commissioner.”
The Alberta Party is committed to an Alberta in which all Albertans enjoy complete and equal access to the rights, and obligations, of citizenship. All Albertans should be treated fairly and with respect by their government. This is a basic tenet of the non-ideological approach the Alberta Party strives to bring to the Legislature.
“Alberta Party MLAs are bound to represent all of their constituents” says Glenn. “We will not be involved in exclusionary politics, and at its core legislating on conscience is an exercise in exclusion.”
Help us share this message with more Albertans
To help us spread this important message to more Albertans - please make a donation to the Alberta Party (any amount you can afford will be gratefully accepted), volunteer to assist your nearest local candidate and share this post on Facebook and Twitter using the "Like" and "Tweet" buttons below.
Thank you for your support!
30 March 2012
The Alberta Party's Calgary-Hawkwood candidate, Kevin Woron, officially released our Creative Industries Policy today at the ArtsVote Calgary Forum.
The Alberta Party recognizes the economic and social value of the Creative Industry and cultural communities to our province. We believe that the arts can play a major role in diversifying our economy. Social investments made in arts and culture result in spinoff economic activities.
The Alberta Party sees the Creative Industries as one of the most immediate ways to diversify the economy. In order to make the arts more viable and self-sufficient, there needs to be a proper investment strategy – just as the oil sands saw initial public investment that blossomed into a massive private industry.
By investing now in order to establish a strong foundation, Albertans will enjoy the benefits down the road.
Read the full details about our Creative Industries policy
Read our 2012 Election Platform - We can dream bigger
29 March 2012
It’s clear that the healthcare system is broken. Across the province, Albertans told us how hard it is to find a family doctor. They told us about long waits in emergency rooms. They told us that the health system was too focused on treating people after they got sick, rather than preventing people from getting sick in the first place.
They told us that we could do better and that we should dream bigger.
We need to understand what’s wrong
The first thing we need to do is to figure out what isn’t working. Both the Health Quality Council (read the report) and the Alberta Medical Association (learn more) confirmed that a culture of fear and intimidation prevents our doctors from voicing their concerns about your healthcare. The Alberta Party believes that we need a full and unlimited public inquiry into these allegations so we can understand and fix the problems.
Switch the Focus
We don’t have to wait for the results of the inquiry to make things better. Our healthcare policy is focused on making Albertans the healthiest people in Canada. That means that we need to think about health in a much more holistic way. We need a system where:
The public receives accurate information about the health system. We will take immediate steps to make the health system more transparent, including the appointment of a fully independent Health Auditor.
Everyone has easy access to primary healthcare. We will develop and implement a plan to increase the number of family doctors in the province and expand the primary health networks.
Keeping people healthy is the key priority. We will increase investments in recreation facilities, integrate nutrition and healthy living into the school curriculum, enforce health and safety laws and expand early testing and screening programs.
Mental health and addiction issues are no longer stigmatized. We will increase investments in the treatment of mental health and addiction issues.
We believe that if we rethink healthcare and shift the focus of the system to prevention rather than treatment, not only will Albertans be healthier; our long-term healthcare expenses will be brought under control. This idea isn’t a revolutionary idea - it’s simply common sense.
Leader, Alberta Party
PS - Please help us spread our positive message about healthcare. Whether its $5 or $5,000, your donation to the Alberta Party will help us connect with more Albertans this election. Please make your donation today.
22 March 2012
We had a dream.
The Alberta Party released We Can Dream Bigger, our 2012 election platform, in March 2012. This document represented a significant milestone for us. Two years prior, a small group of committed volunteers gathered together in Red Deer and decided that Alberta needed a different kind of political party: A party that was more open and transparent; a party that would engage citizens in a different way.
The pundits told us that it would never work. You need polling. You need money. You need “experts”. With the release of We Can Dream Bigger, we defied conventional wisdom and proved them wrong.
Read We Can Dream Bigger - Alberta Party Platform - Election 2012
A different kind of political party.
The Alberta Party was built through a massive citizen engagement project called The Big Listen, which involved Albertans from all parts of the province in a discussion about their hopes and dreams for the future.
This wasn’t easy. We had little money and had to be innovative. So we did it the old fashioned way. We met people in their living rooms and backyards. We listened to people and exchanged ideas. We were amazed by how many of you - over a thousand - were willing to take the time to talk about the future of our province.
We will campaign differently.
We believe in doing politics differently, thus we are going to run our campaigns differently:
We will be constructive. We will offer solutions to the challenges that Albertans face and not just complain about what doesn’t work.
We will be respectful. We won’t be running any nasty attack ads. We want to encourage citizens to participate in our democracy, not turn them off.
We will be positive. It is too easy to fall into a negative campaign. We want politics to be better, so we will be better politicians.
We will listen. We don’t have all the answers. We want to test our ideas with Albertans and make them better.
Alberta can be the best place to live.
We learned a lot through The Big Listen. We learned that Albertans love this province and that they are grateful for what we have. We learned about their hopes and dreams for the future and we also learned about what was keeping them up late at night.
Most significantly, we heard loud and clear that few believe that our province has reached its potential. Albertans told us that this province could be the best place to live and they wanted leadership that dreamed bigger.
Inspired by this desire to make Alberta better, the Alberta Party brings 5 key objectives to the 2012 election campaign:
Rethink healthcare: Albertans can be the healthiest people in Canada.
Respect our students: Albertans can be the best-educated people in the world.
Reimagine our democracy: Alberta can have the most open and transparent government.
Reinvigorate our economy: Alberta can be the best place to earn a living.
Reinvest in our communities: Alberta’s communities can be the best places to live and raise a family.
Within each of these key objectives you will find our ideas. These ideas formed the foundation of our platform for the 2012 provincial election. We believed firmly that all of these objectives were achievable through the collective effort of all Albertans. All we needed was the courage and the leadership to get started. We still need that courage and we believe that we have it.
Download our 2012 Policy Platform
We want to hear from you.
As you read through our ideas, we want to hear what you think. We also want to hear your ideas about how Albertans can dream bigger and achieve each of our targets. Visit www.albertaparty.ca to join the conversation and post your ideas today.
Together, we can renew Alberta!