Thomas Lukaszuk, former deputy premier of Alberta and former Progressive Conservative MLA for the Edmonton-Castle Downs constituency, discussed changes in Alberta politics at MacEwan University on Feb. 1.
Lukaszuk held public office from 2001 until he was voted out in the 2015 provincial election. During his time in office, he was appointed many ministry roles in Alberta’s cabinet, such as minister of education. During Lukaszuk’s presentation, “Towards Post-Partisan Politics in Alberta,” he highlighted an expanding political worldview and the failure of political parties to adapt to this change.
“Political parties are too rigid in their policy [platform] to accommodate the pragmatic, flexible and à la carte approach to issues that reflects today’s electorate in Alberta,” Lukaszuk said.
An expanding political worldview and the failure of political parties to adapt to this change have been blamed for the disconnect between politicians and the electorate. Dissatisfaction among voters was evident in the 2015 provincial election, when the Progressive Conservatives were ousted in a widespread takeover.
Chaldeans Mensah, a political science professor at MacEwan University, was also attending Lukaszuk’s lecture, and he said he shares his concerns regarding the future of Alberta politics.
“Given the state of flux in Alberta politics and the ongoing decline of interest in party memberships, [this] is the way forward from the current situation,” said Mensah.
Declining party membership and representation in Alberta politics is certainly a grim scenario, especially during the crux of an energy sector collapse.
“The option of individuals running for office without party labels on a large scale is not realistic, so either new parties have to form to reflect this post-partisan approach, or existing parties have to merge and become less rigid in their ideological commitments on a variety of social and economic issues. It remains to be seen how this post-partisan politics will shape Alberta politics in the future,” said Mensah.
Both Lukaszuk and Mensah share a sense of uncertainty for the future of this post-partisan political landscape, but optimism seems to remain at the forefront of their minds.
Photo by Dave Cournoyer, Flickr Creative Commons.