I was invited to a very interesting business meeting last night. The invitation came from my friend Chris LaBossiere. I was pre-disposed to accept just out of my respect for Chris. In retrospect I am really glad I did. The meeting was held at the new offices of Yardstick Software. I hadn’t seen the new digs yet so that in itself was another reason to attend. By the way Chris, the new offices are fantastic!
I was told it was an Alberta Party meeting and would be attended by a group of business leaders from the Edmonton area. Indeed it was an eclectic group made up of a mix that went from young twenty something leaders in the tech field to seasoned gray hairs who are seasoned veterans and acknowledged leaders in the business community. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the Alberta economy. Some of the leaders of the Alberta Party were there but we had all been told it didn’t matter whether we were interested in the Party or not. The Party was interested in us. They wanted to hear what we thought. As part of their policy development initiatives they are reaching out to the community to get open feedback on topics like the economy, education, healthcare and others.
What a great evening! It turned out the room was full of great minds that really care about the future of our province. The dialogue was stimulating and engaging. The agenda consisted of discussion on three specific questions: What do we think of the present state of the Alberta economy? What are our hopes for the future of the Province? How could these hopes be translated in to policy? Everyone was encouraged to speak openly. The result was that each of us was challenged to express our thoughts and consider the thoughts of the others. I was exposed to a diverse selection of thoughts, beliefs and ideologies. This discussion certainly expanded my intellectual horizons.
What’s really significant here is that this was an Alberta Party initiative. The Party wanted to hear what was said in that room and what is being said in many other rooms like it all over Alberta. Wow! A Party that wants to respond to what the people want rather than telling them what is in their best interest. What a revolutionary concept.
I have been a Conservative my entire life. It is the only party I have ever voted for. I have served on the executive of constituency associations; attend AGM’s, and policy conferences. Last night was the first time I have ever thought a party was really interested in hearing what was being said as anything more than a patronizing display.
I haven’t joined the Alberta Party yet but I might, I just might.