What Happens Next Matters

People ask me what I’m hoping for as a result of this election and I say “an effective opposition.”

By late Tuesday night, Albertans will have chosen 87 Members of our Legislative Assembly that will form government from a blend of different colors and from an assortment of different backgrounds. Collectively, they are charged with representing the needs and aspirations of all Albertans – from north and south, urban and rural, rich and poor, old and young. They are charged with serving the needs of their constituents. And they are charged with leaving our province in better shape than it is in today.

And, the next five years must be a lot better than the last five years.

Whatever the party colors, and however many the number of seats, it is time for this province to shed its monopolistic ways and start governing itself with a renewed sense of character, respect and service.

And the world is watching.

On Wednesday morning, no matter who has been elected, our MLAs need to agree that the past does not represent our potential, and that our potential is so much more. We can argue and debate issues in healthy ways, but they should be issues of relevance to the future of this province, and not the minutia that we have been debating in recent times.

Alberta is young, but it is growing up fast, and it needs to shed its childish ways and start making progress on topics of significance, topics like: Governance, Aboriginal Treaty Rights, Healthcare Innovation, Cities as Economic Drivers, Mental Health & Addiction, Gender Inequality, High-Performance Bureaucracy, Long-Term Commitment to Education and Citizen Engagement.

Governments always need to always be held to account, and not just by the media. For progress to occur, we need to shift from power to accountability and from authority to stewardship.

We need the best possible MLAs to be elected, and we need an effective opposition. It’s what they do next that matters most.

Please remember to vote tomorrow – May 5th.

This is your province. Let’s leave it a better place than we inherited it.

Lessons from the Waiting Room

My appointment was for 9:30am. I got in at 10:30am. Not bad, because my expectation is so low that I brought two hours of reading materials. This was a smart move, as the most current magazine in the waiting room was published in July 2006.

After waiting five minutes the nurse came in, asked me my height and weight, and then told me to strip down while handing me a glamorous turquoise paper gown. Not sure why, as this was just a consultation. She left in a hurry.

After sitting somewhat exposed for another ten minutes, the doctor finally charged in through the door. We had never met.

He confirmed the name of my family doctor, the one who ordered the colonoscopy two months ago. He confirmed my age, which has been correctly increasing every year since date of birth on my file. He confirmed that I have a family history of colon cancer, which again was clearly on my file.

He pulled out a stethoscope and confirmed I was breathing.

We wrote a few things down. I wonder what possibly he could be writing down.

Then he turned to me all serious-like and said, “Yup, at your age it’s a good idea to get a colonoscopy. They’ll book you in at the front desk and they will give you instructions on the prep that’s needed.”

He smiled, politely said goodbye and left the room.

I looked down at my beautiful paper gown. I felt exposed and defeated. I felt ashamed for the incredible waste of time and money and waiting time and lost productivity that just disappeared during this “consultation” that provided me with absolutely no value and that surely undermines the abilities the family GP who was very capable of providing me with an instruction sheet.

After booking the first appointment available three months out, I headed back to the office. Someone asked, “Hey, where have you been.”

I answered, “I’m really not sure … but I think I found that $7 billion the Premier is missing.”

PC Candidate: Rumour or Truth

If the rumours are true, this will be an exciting week ahead.

If rumours are true, then Chris Labossiere (@chrislabossiere) will be declaring his intention to run as the Edmonton-Rutherford candidate for the Alberta PC Party in the next provincial election, and this is great news for Edmonton.

Consistently inspired by public service, Chris has been a force for change in our province over the past decade, and has been an inter-generational, selfless leader for a hard-working, responsible and tolerant Alberta.

Over my past two years at EEDC, no one has come to me with more ideas, no one has been more willing to roll up their sleeves, and no has been more willing to challenge the status quo as Chris Labossiere.

If this is the caliber of candidate that Jim Prentice and the PCAA team is attracting to lead this province in the future, then I’m looking forward to what is to come.

I do not live in Edmonton-Rutherford and cannot cast a vote for Chris or anyone else running to make the necessary changes that are needed. But I encourage all Edmontonians to take the time to get to know him, as he will likely be a major player in the years ahead … and his heart and soul is firmly rooted in our fabulous city which will benefit profoundly from his service.

This is one rumour I hope is true.

‘Twas the Night Before Budget

‘Twas a night in Alberta, under the beautiful stars
All the creatures were stirring, at the restaurants and bars;
The oil price had swung and a chill’s in the air,
But we’ve seen this before, it’s not a nightmare.

The province is worried as the budget draws near,
Realizing stability in revenue is required next year;
And mamma with her visa, extended to the max,
Knows that stability must come thru a provincial sales tax.

When across the world as they watch their TVs,
Gasp! Alberta has deficits, budget cuts and fees!!
But we’re attracting investment, new people and firms,
And we’re sending alarm, Oh when will we learn.

The sun’s in the sky amidst almost no snow,
Our cities are strong, they continue to grow;
For our assets are not commodities and gears,
But four million people with brains between them ears.

The decisions we make in the twelve months ahead,
Will determine the future of that word left unsaid;
Call it SalesTax, or ConsumptionTax or NewVAT,
But dammit we need something, so get off of your knees.

We speak not a word, but go straight to our work,
Building our cities and province to prevent the knee-jerk;
So let’s get off of this cycle and make the tough call,
It will echo generations and benefit us all.

This is land that we love, we build it with pride,
Many come here to work, yet they get a free ride;
Our cities are magnets, they are reaching new heights,

Our Fixed-Term Premier

I love urgency. I love the adrenaline of deadlines … of the need to move forward … of the necessity to make change. Maybe that’s why I have a propensity to take on risk and debt. I like a little debt … debt gets you out of bed in the morning … knowing at the end of the day you gotta deliver … or else there are consequences.

I fear complacency. I fear the thought of coming into the office every morning, sitting at my desk, reading the newspaper … growing old and fat in my chair. Maybe that’s why I have a stand-up desk? Maybe there is something inside of me that fears getting lazy and losing the sense of urgency.

That was, and still is, my biggest fear when I decided to step out of the private sector and into the public sector. Would I become a lazy bureaucrat? Would I simply manage the piles on my desk? Or would I keep the adrenaline and the urgency going that is all so important for moving our great city and province forward?

Seriously, that’s what I think about.

And do you know who inspires me today? Who I look upon with a sense of admiration? Premier Dave Hancock.

Why? Because the guy has a sense of urgency and purpose … and I’m lovin’ it.

The guy gets dropped into the role … doesn’t ask for it … just gets dropped into a really crappy situation. And Dave has a choice … he can sit there all comfortable in his big Premier’s chair and ride out his five months … ever to be forgotten. Or he can step in, pull up his socks like a knapsack over his shoulder, and set out to put his own dent in the universe. That that’s exactly what he’s doing … and I think we could all learn something about leadership from him right now.

Dave is genuinely inspired … hell, he’s king for five months … he’s gotta be inspired. And his positive energy is soooooo apparent, sooooo welcomed and sooooo infectious that it is actually moving the stalled ship forward. He’s set out to tackle those piles of negative energy that have been just sitting on the desks in the bureaucracy … stifled by a lack of leadership and urgency … files like the innovation system and access to capital … files that have bounced through a desert of ineptitude at the very time when Alberta should be seizing the opportunities in front of us.

But there was no urgency. And now there is.

Why? Because Premier Dave Hancock will no longer be Premier in September and he wants to get things done WITH URGENCY before he’s booted out. And for that I compliment him sincerely.

His selfless but missionary style of leadership in a time of rudderless drift has accomplished more than what anyone could have imagined. He has shown the importance of energy, accessibility, humility and humanity to the leadership role. He has restored the confidence of many incredulous Albertans. And he has done it with grace.

And for that, I thank him.