Gateway Gazette

Lukaszuk Outlines Three-Point Plan for Government to Welcome New Ideas

“Government should not be a place where ideas go to die,” says PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk. He released a three-pronged approach for government to bring new ideas forward.

“Strengthening grassroots input, hearing from those outside government, and listening to front-line staff mean that ideas and information will flow. Creating a culture of open conversation and debate gives ideas traction and results in better policy and programs,” he continued.

To strengthen grassroots input, Lukaszuk will increase MLAs’ involvement in the policy development process, and require Cabinet ministers to report to Caucus on how priority files are being handled. Caucus and Cabinet Policy Committee meetings will be reformulated to encourage vigorous debate. “Making something really shine takes a little friction, but the final product is all the better as a result,” Lukaszuk says.

New Premier’s Advisory Councils will provide an outside perspective on education, health care, environment, multiculturalism, and other areas. And a stronger mandate for all-party legislature committees will give MLAs of all political parties a stronger voice.

Recognizing the on-the-ground expertise of front-line staff in health and government services will help identify ways to make programs and services better.Lukaszuk proposes to create safe channels for staff to share solutions to problems they find every day. “Give people an opportunity to blow the whistle on stupid rules,” he says.

Lukaszuk’s five campaign priorities are increasing access to basic services, planning for our economic future, creating open, trustworthy government, bringing in new ideas, and staying true to fiscally conservative principles. A list of his specific campaign promises is available at VoteThomas.ca

Tomorrow in Alberta: A government which brings in new ideas from all corners of the province.

Strengthening our grassroots

Many people join this party because of the opportunity it provides to propose new ideas that can then translate into action from government. A strong policy process allows new ideas to flourish without interference, and I will ensure caucus is available as a resource to those interested in feedback on policy resolutions.

We also need to become better listeners. MLAs are on the front lines: they hear directly from their constituents about the issues that are important to the community. As leader, I will empower PC MLAs to become true partners in developing government policy. Cabinet Ministers will report on status of files to Caucus, so they are ensured that their issues are being addressed. Caucus will not serve as a rubber stamp for the government agenda, and I will ensure open and frank discussion at caucus and Cabinet Policy Committee meetings. It is the way it used to be, and the way it should be – we need to get back to our grassroots.

Hearing from those outside government

I would like to have the ability to tap into the best and brightest minds on topics such as healthcare, seniors, education, and arts and culture.

If elected as leader, I would institute more Premier’s Advisory Councils to help guide us to reach our objectives. We can utilize these councils to provide our government an outside perspective on issues such as education, multiculturalism, health care, environment and arts and culture. These councils would report directly to the Premier and provide strategic advice for the government to consider.

I will also broaden the role of All-Party Committees, giving all MLAs more meaningful input in the policy development process, regardless of what party they belong to.

Listening to front line staff

The diligent men and women who work on the front lines are a great resource for new ideas. Teachers, nurses, care workers and staff who work in government field offices are all experts in their own field.

If elected, I will create safe channels for front line staff to share solutions to problems they face every day. By listening to these workers, we can make the government services you receive better and more affordable.

Policy development should not be limited to a few individuals. We should welcome the discussions that come from differences of opinion. I have always made myself accessible to Albertans through Facebook and Twitter, and I am always happy to hear your opinions. Our Party was built on the strength of hearing from the public, making decisions and taking action. I will always listen first, act second and move ahead with a sound plan for our province.

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