There has been a recent takeover of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta by the former Federal HarperCon Cabinet Minister, Jason Kenney and his social conservative base. This has to be the final wake-up call for Alberta progressives.
The rise of an American-style Alt-Right
and old-style Social Conservative political culture is now well established in Alberta with the Jason Kenney leadership of the PC Party. What will the remaining progressives in the PCAA do now with the loss of the Lougheed heritage from their party?
We progressives are the largest block of voter values in Alberta. We have taken a lot for granted. We have been complacent, comfortable, and even compliant, to the threats from an obvious authoritarian and growing conservative political movement in Alberta.
Up to now, Alberta progressives have been a laid-back bunch politically. We have been dozing passively to these emerging authoritarian conservative changes, living in denial that they are a real threat. With each alarm bell, we have repeatedly pressed the snooze bar, rolled over and went back to sleep, blithely presuming Alberta will continue to be the dynamic progressive society we have known.
The "Unite the Right" conservative political movement has been instigated by the HarperCons Republican-lite acolytes, Jason Kenney and Brian Jean. They both have the single-minded goal of coalescing Alberta conservatives to beat Rachel Notley and her "socialist" government.
These Unite the Right leaders have offered very few specifics or policy ideas about how they would govern, should they form a government. They have generally articulated classic conservative bromides of reduced taxes, reduced government, reduced regulation, expanded individualism, deny climate change, privatize health care, public education and deference to market forces and competition as the only way to solve complex social problems.
There are some efforts afoot to enable progressives to respond to these threats to a dynamic, inclusive, caring, responsible and resilient Alberta. The reality is Alberta progressives have to get active in the political culture of the province...or suffer the consequences of political omission.
The present progressive political options to influence the future of Alberta are very fragmented and, so far, ineffectual. To change this Alberta progressives can make a big difference by joining a progressive party and donate to that party of your choice. The options are the Alberta Party
, the Alberta Liberals
, the NDP
or the Alberta Greens
There are a few progressives still in the Kenney PC Party who believe they can convince him to move from the far right, where he has been all his life, towards the political centre. I don't see any evidence he intends to do anything meaningful to those ends. Consequently, I would not recommend Alberta progressives join the PCAA as a means to make a difference.
If you can't bring yourself to join a political party, you can effectively engage as a progressive citizen through activism within your memberships in community, social, professional and other networks. There are progressive Alberta-based organizations focused on influencing politics and public policy. Alberta progressives should also consider joining and donating to organizations like Progress Alberta
and Public Interest Alberta
to make a difference.
It is time for Alberta progressives to wake-up, stand-up and step-up for the greater good and the betterment of our province. More to come from me in this space, but now is the time for action people.
has some sobering and significant reflections on the rise of Alberta's own version of the alt-right...a.k.a. bigots, misogynists, and racists.
We are seeing these people being emboldened and potentially normalized - unless they are challenged and refuted and rejects as inimical to the dominant Alberta value set.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the overwhelming increase of threats against Premier Notley.
It is worth noting that the majority of threats against Alberta Premiers were aimed at progressives, not Ralph Klein, a recognized conservative. This is an indication that the Alt-Right is prepared to be openly threatening.
As the Alberta conservatives, both Ultra and Alt types, plan to "unite" for the only stated purpose of defeating the Notley government, I expect we will see more of this aggressive and threatening behaviors long before we hear anything about social, environment or innovative economic policy positions.
For the rest of us, that means we can't be passive, indifferent, or event worse, tolerant, of any such inappropriate behavior. That means we must become more politically aware and more informed citizens...and politically active.
More on becoming politically active as a progressive in Alberta in later posts. In the meantime decide what if important to you, what you want to happen around those issues and what you are going to do to make those results happen.
Now, let's reflect on what Trumpery and Trumpism means.
The Edleman Trust Barometer for 2017
is very telling and the findings are most disturbing. Richard Edleman, the President and CEO of Edleman opens the report, speaking of 2016, by saying "It has been a year of unimaginable upheaval."
His context is clear. He notes incumbent or elected heads in 5 of the top 10 economies have been "deposed or defeated," including the U.S.A, U.K, Brazil, Italy and South Korea. He goes further to note populists candidates are "leading or growing" in elections pending in France and Germany.
The 2017 version of the Edleman Trust Barometer found that 2/3 of the countries surveyed found under 50% of people a now "distrusters...in mainstream institutions of business, government, media and NGOs...to do what is right." This is put at the feet of "aftershocks from the stunning meltdown of the global economy" with "origins in the Great Recession of 2008."
Now `...only 15% of the general population believe the present systems is working, while 53% do not and 32% are uncertain.` This is fertile ground for populists movement to gain momentum based on fear for personal safety, a better life for one`s family, an erosion of social values, immigration and an accelerating pace of change.
The far left and far right are both rejecting globalization based free trade, fearing innovation as automation is replacing lower-skilled jobs, deregulation, centralization of power and wealth in elites and multinational corporations. More than 75% of the well informed and the general population both ``...agree the system is biased against regular people and favors the rich and powerful. Even the best educated, best informed and best-paid citizens have lost faith in the system.
The loss of belief in leaders in government or business to affect meaningful change is greater than the erosion of the institutions they head. Belief in the credibility of peers, folks like me, are equal to academics and technical experts, and far and away more credible than CEOs and government officials.
The mass population is 85% but on 45% of them trust their national institutions of government, business, media and NGOs. In the mass population, a majority in 20 of the 28 countries surveyed distrust their institutions. The informed population is 15% of the total and 60%of then trust their national institutions.
This is not a sustainable set of circumstances for positive progress. Incompetence, corruption and divided polarized hyper-partisan government are core beliefs of the majority of citizens. This can only lead to a massive collapse of societies, economies and democratic institutions if not corrected...and quickly!
Walter M. Straub Jr. is the Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. He delivered a fascinating dissertation on the situational ethics of President-Inept Donald Trump to the Brookings Institute today.
He noted his office negotiated with Secretary of State Nominee, Rex Tillerson the CEO of Exxon. Straub says Tillerson is making a "clean break...forfeiting bonus payments worth millions...he's now free of financial conflicts of interest."
The Tillerson ethics agreement is said to "...serve as a sterling model for what we'd (the Office of Government Ethics) like to see with other nominees. Straub goes on to say "We've has similar success with some of the President-elect's other intended nominees. Some of them haven't quite gotten there yet,...."
Where Straub goes from there about Mr. Trump's situational ethics is most interesting. This is the stuff that feeds a need for impeachment. A President is not the same as a CEO of a private corporation. Trump's less than half-hearted machinations on his tepid attempt to appear that he is inoculated from conflicts of interest, real and perceived are very disturbing.
I commend that you take the time to read this report by an independent public servant, and one who Trump can't fire or replace for the next two years at least.
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