The Role of Effective Opposition

Until the April 2012 Provincial Election, it had been many years in some of Alberta’s electoral districts that their member of the Legislature had been in the opposition party, rather than the governing party.

Yet, for democracy to be fair, it must be more than just a heavy handed majority rules mentality to be an effective manner of governing for all of its citizens.

The opposition acts as the people’s advocate by ensuring we have proper checks and balances within the process. An effective Opposition party also exposes details and possible motives of any proposed Legislation that is put before the house that may include tabling amendments to Legislation and Bills.

While the Legislature is in session, questions are asked during a designated time called Question Period. During this time questions are posed by members of the Legislature to the Ministers and the Premier with regards to the ongoing operations of the government (checks and balances).

The common misunderstanding is that the Opposition is “lashing out” or “attacking” the government by asking these important questions. Quite the contrary! A truly effective opposition challenges the government by asking questions that are sometimes uncomfortable for them to answer and serves an important function by holding those in power accountable for the ministries they are responsible for.

Unlike the governing party, as a Wildrose Official Opposition member, I am allowed and encouraged to express the views and opinions of my constituents, without fear of party sanctions or retribution for not following predetermined party lines. Wildrose policy allows its members the discretion to vote freely in the house on Legislation without being tied to party agendas; – Wildrose is the only party in Alberta with such a policy.
The goal of the Wildrose Official Opposition has been and continues to be to hold this government accountable and make sure the interests of Albertans are well represented.

In order to have democracy as it was intended, a strong voice other than that of the majority must be heard; otherwise it is not democracy at all.

Pat Stier MLA
Livingstone MacLeod Constituency