By Janet Keeping
Laurie is a courageous, hard-working and effective MLA. She supports the six principles of the global Green movement – sustainability, respect for diversity, social justice, ecological wisdom, participatory democracy and non-violence. Her long-term commitment to social justice has been especially obvious in her recent successful campaign to ensure Gay-Straight Alliances are available to all young people receiving their education from a school board in the province. Congratulations to Laurie again on that victory.
At this point it appears that election finance laws do not allow Laurie to be registered with Elections Alberta as the official candidate of all three parties. As a result she will appear on the ballot as the Liberal candidate as she has in previous elections. But Laurie has the Chief Electoral Officer’s approval to use the logo of each of the parties on her campaign material and to campaign in Edmonton-Centre as the candidate of all three, which she is.
Although the PCs have a crushing majority in the Legislature (now 72 seats, which is as we are all painfully aware quite a few more than they elected in the 2012 election), they did not get a comparable percentage of the popular vote in that election. In fact, they received about 44 % of the votes cast but – even more strikingly – less than 24 % of eligible voters cast their ballots for them.
This is not a new distortion. It has been the case for many years and several elections. In fact you have to reach back to the early 1980s to find an election where the PCs received the support of more than 1/3 of the eligible voters.
Albertans hold a wide variety of views on the critical issues of our times, for example the growing gap between rich and poor and the need to take action to curb climate change. But representation in the Legislature does not reflect that reality.
So until we have Proportional Representation in Alberta, progressive politicians, progressive political parties and the many Albertans who support them have to find creative ways to elect people to represent our views in the Legislature.
In conclusion we need more Laurie Blakemans, more people brave enough to do politics with integrity (always, always) but differently and in the process strengthening our democracy.
Incumbent Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman in Edmonton-Centre also represents the Alberta Party and Liberal Party in that riding.