‘Progressive agenda’ focus of debate

A group of progressive-thinking Albertans met in Red Deer to talk about ways to have an impact on the political scene.

A group of progressive-thinking Albertans met in Red Deer to talk about ways to have an impact on the political scene.

Reboot Alberta attracted about 90 people interested in the province’s politics a progressive twist.

“We were talking about what it would take to get a progressive agenda in the politics in response to the current political climate,” said an organizer Ken Chapman, who was encouraged by the strong turnout, which was double initial expectations.

Chapman said participants wrestled with questions like what would a progressive agenda look like, how would you do it, what would it say and “then how to get that to resonate with the political culture and the governance culture in the province.

“That’s a whole bunch of wonk words to say we want some change, to be more reflective of the larger population of the province politically.”

The challenge is finding ways to insert progressive thinking into Alberta’s political discourse, said the Edmonton lawyer who is a founder of Edmonton’s Cambridge Strategies, a consulting firm that deals with everything from government relations and economic analyses to public policy design.

Some want to work within existing political parties and others like the idea of forming a new party.

Others want to use their positions as activists to use their organizations to trumpet the cause of progressivism. There is also a group of citizens just looking to find a way to increase their participation in provincial affairs.

The first order of business will be to determine what a progressive approach means, what issues will be considered most important and to nail down what outcomes will be pursued.

“There was a great deal of discussion on the weekend about what does it mean to be a progressive, how do you measure whether or not you are making progress (on what you) aspire to and how to you evaluate that going forward.”

It’s expected another meeting will be arranged in January or February to focus the group’s approach.

Chapman sees that as a necessary step before considering creating another political party, which remains the goal of some.

“For sure we started a social movement. And there was lots of talk about starting a political party. It was not rejected out of hand, but it wasn’t seen as something we were ready to do; that the group was ready to go there yet.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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