ETHICAL POLITICS by Joey Oberhoffner
As we look forward into 2023 and the next General Election in Alberta, it’s worth considering what it means to be an ethical political party, and to campaign with integrity.
Ethics are defined as “(the) moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity”. Essentially, these are the rules — often unwritten — that our organization and membership uses to determine what is and is not acceptable behaviour.
Integrity, meanwhile, is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. In effect, the way you act and carry on your business when no one else is watching.
It’s no secret that generally, the public’s approval of politicians and political parties is pretty low. Politics is considered a “shifty” pursuit — something that is inherently dishonest, where parties and candidates cheat and lie and say whatever they have to in order to win. In short: the ends justify the means. We don’t have to look very far in this province to see why the public would see things this way — examples are on the television and in the newspapers on a weekly — and sometimes daily — basis.
In the Alberta Party, we have an opportunity to flip that characterization upside-down. If we act with high ethical standards and carry on our activities with integrity, we can draw a clear line between what we do, and what those other parties do. And the best part of it is, many of us learned these lessons in kindergarten!
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
- Speak to others with respect, even if you disagree with them — ESPECIALLY if you disagree with them.
- Tell the truth.
- Admit when you’re wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
- Be kind.
- Help people who need help.
- Play fair.
- Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” — it’s a chance to learn.
If we consistently conduct ourselves by this simple code as a Party, as Party Members, as Constituency Associations, and as Candidates, then the difference between the Alberta Party and the other options on the ballot will be clear as day. And one thing we can ALL agree on is a party that governed Alberta using the code above would be a refreshing change.