I knew my decision to leave the Progressive Conservative party would cause a few eyebrows to raise, but I did it with a full and clear conscience that the only way to solve the problems facing Alberta and address the issues we must face going forward was not to condemn myself to repetition of the same mistakes over again, but to look for a new way to support.
I found it in the Wild Rose. My decision, which was deliberately not well publicized in advance took many of the Wild Rose MLA's by surprise as I had in my tenure as MLA for Edmonton Calder or since as a blogger of occasion, been none too kind to them.
That being said, politics and the future of this province are not the same thing. I spent the last 18 months in the booming Texas oilfield called the Eagle Ford Shale Play it became obvious to me that within seven to ten years the United States would be hydrocarbon independent; America would not need our oil, period.
The short and long term implications of this suggest that Alberta, with it's high costs of production, limited access to markets and an entrenched costly and inefficient civil service that do not recognize or plan for contingencies, would place our province in tremendous short and long term economic jeopardy.
The Alberta PC's have had over 40 years to do the right things yet we are now, facing declining demand for our most valuable resource with a government that is merrily marching along like it is 1972 and the Arab oil embargo is still underway.
My decision is NOT an issue of respect for leadership, I was the first MLA to support Premier Redford on the second ballot of her leadership run.
I liked her then and I like her now, but her leadership alone not enough to change the direction of the entrenched civil service and inbred inertia, to be forthcoming about the risks we are facing and take action.
Premier Redford and I have a particularly close connection about our Mom's, the last time she talked to her Mom before she passed away, Premier Redford was with me going to meet mine.
I had promised my Mom she would meet every Premier and Mom is 2-2.
Premier Redford, kicked my ass privately in 2009 (and I deserved it) over some stupid comments I had made on twitter. We made amends and I supported her because she told me the truth, was brutally, blunt and after having kicked my ass got over it and never mentioned it again. She taught me the most valuable lesson I ever learned in politics and she taught me a lot about how to say what needs to be said.
So imagine how I felt today when someone in her office named Stefan Baranski, retweeted the old issue she and I "discussed" once he learned I had decided to join the Wild Rose.
This guy apparently had on file, in case he needed it, data on me and I presume all other PC MLA's past and present that he could use if we "stepped out of line." This did nothing but solidify my resolve that the decision I made was the right one.
When I was elected in 2008, we were a class of 72 MLA's in an 83 seat legislature. Even the Whip, Frank Oberle had it easy because with so many MLA's to choose from he could always find someone to do whatever needed to be done. The cabinet ministers loved it because they could do whatever they wanted with impunity knowing full well there were enough MLA's looking for something that the Ministers had support no matter how asinine the idea they were pitching.
I learned to play the system well and got every single dollar I could for my constituency.
I was elected in a democracy but I certainly did not work in one. There was no incentive for the status quo to change, the PC entitlement mentality can only be overcome by displacement and frankly I think we are very close.
It is the lack of preparedness for the future and the lack of respect for the past that told me I was in the wrong party.
So I changed.