Doug Griffiths, Alberta’s Minister for Municipal Affairs commented to me recently, “Alberta is in an enviable position and it was our PC government who got us into that position.”
I somewhat agreed with him (I admit I like Doug) and believe Alberta is a great place to live and work. I even give credit to good government and the many dedicated people who make Alberta a great place to live…
“… but,” I added, “you guys now take for granted ALL your decisions are right for Albertans.” It looks to me you see your role as persuading Albertans (after decisions are made), rather than consulting with us about what's best for our future.
Doug responded with a cliché. He argued:
“I know a lot of folks who are happily married for 40 years. They don't have to change partners just for the sake of change. Many simply renew their vows to each other. That is what Alison Redford and I… and so many other new PC's are asking Albertans to do: renew our vows to build better communities and a bright future for the next generation.”
He went on to warn that change simply for the sake of change is dangerous.
That’s where “the penny dropped” for me. Doug honestly believes people simply want change because things have gotten too comfortable and predictable. That’s why he used the metaphor of marriage. He equates his government’s relationship with Albertans to a long marriage… one that has become a little stayed and predictable… but still healthy.
Now… I’m not that fond of the metaphor to begin with, but since Doug started it… I’m going to take it further. What Doug (and his party) don’t seem to recognise is that when one partner in a marriage stops listening to the other… when one goes out and spends all the money on something without talking about spending priorities… when one partner starts to make commitments without checking with their spouse… that’s when partners begin to look elsewhere.
Albertans are looking elsewhere. Our eyes are wandering… and perhaps much like someone in a dysfunctional marriage, our eyes have fallen upon the most available attraction… the one promising to make life more exciting... the shiny Wildrose Party.
Abandoning years of partnership for a more exciting partner might not work out the way we dissatisfied Albertans expect, but it will sure as hell wake up our jilted partner. What that partner does starting April 24th, might bring back us back… or maybe not… but it should sure be pause for reflection.
I like Alison Redford. I think she inherited a whole bunch of voter dissatisfaction she had little to do with and is now shouldering. That’s unfair. Her problem is that the PCs simply waited too long to notice Albertans were starting to look across the street at other possibilities.
Change for change sake might be a dangerous thing. But that's not what is going on here. We are looking for change because (for too long) Albertans’ hopes and dreams have been ignored by a partner who thinks it knows better. The PCs simply forgot it was a partnership. They forgot how to listen and respond.
Perhaps a period of separation will let the PCs know they’ve ignored us too long… and their last ditch efforts aren’t going to hold us.
They have some serious wooing to do, if they want us back. Are they capable of the self-reflection they’ll need to return to us humble and changed? I don’t know. Time will tell.
I don’t think we’ll be looking at divorce on Monday, April 23rd… but I think we’re going to look at a trial separation. While I find I'm not all that impressed with the new suitor on my porch, I find the power of democracy quite liberating. Now that I'm feeling more confident about my self-worth, I’m not going to let any new suitors take advantage of me anytime soon. I may just shop around for a bit... and find one I really like.