WELCOME TO REBOOT ALBERTA
Reboot Alberta emerged in 2009 from a growing concern for the hard-right direction politics was taking in Alberta, both federally and provincially. Progressives were nervous, like they are today, about the direction of Alberta’s politics and losing influence on public policy.
A Gang of Four got together for a lunch to talk about the situation. A common cause was identified and that something had to be done to encourage citizens engage with progressive policy values. The motivation was to stand up to the divisive and rising social fundamentalist and fiscal-hawk austerity influences on conservative politicians.
The name Reboot was inspired by the Control-Alt-Delete keystrokes used for a soft reboot on a “frozen” computer. The idea was that Alberta politics was either stalled or taking a backward direction because of aggressive right-wing activists or passive status quo complacency.
Progressives, therefore, needed to take back some political Control, provide a future-forward Alternative and be sure to Delete any old-stock ideologies that didn’t work anymore.
The idea that emerged from the original Gang of Four was to invite progressives in their networks to a weekend gathering in Red Deer. The goal was to share what citizens were seeing, feeling and thinking. Then to see what, if anything, people were actually prepared to do about the situation.
The response was overwhelming. Reboot 1.0 in November 2009 event sold out in 3 days drawing people from every corner of the province. There was a blizzard and it took 6 hours to get from Calgary Red Deer on the Friday night, but nobody turned back. It was organized as a “Unconference” where the participants pitched topics and those with the most interest from the participants co-created the program.
WHO WERE THE REBOOTERS
The early Rebooters self-organized, as humans will do, into four distinct groups. There were progressive citizens participating from all political party stripes except the right-wing Wildrose and Alliance parties.
There were partisans who wanted to bring more progressive policy options in party platforms and directions. There were not-for-profit groups, professional and trade associations plus unionists who wanted more effective influencing the political process.
There were several “severely normal citizens” who just wanted to be better informed and more effective in realizing their personal citizenship responsibilities. Then there were those who wanted to start a whole new political party…that is how the Alberta Party started.
There were two more Gatherings as we came to call the Reboot events, in Kananaskis and in Edmonton. After Kananaskis it became clear the momentum for the new political party approach was taking hold. The final event in Edmonton saw some elected politicians start to show up and wonder what “all the fuss was about” around a new party.
The advice from Rebooters on what else to do, other than a new political party, was create a non-partisan “Toolkit” on progressive principles, policy approaches. The toolkit could be used to create more informed and activist progressive citizen participation in politics and political culture at the community level all over Alberta.
THE ALBERTA PARTY EMERGES
The Alberta Party took over most of the energy and the original Gang of Four felt they had taken the Reboot Alberta movement as far as they could on a volunteer basis.
The Alberta Party is getting traction and momentum with progressives since Jason Kenney’s l“Unite the Right” and United Conservative Party leadership. The slower economic challenges in Alberta and the Win-Lose Left versus Right hyper-partisanship and Base pandering is creating a nasty political culture in Alberta. Given these harsh realities and an election before May 2019. non-partisan and partisan Progressives are getting restless again.
WHY A REVIVAL OF REBOOT ALBERTA
So I thought it is time to revive the Reboot Alberta website and start blogging again. There is so much political noise there is a need to start curating information, sharing opinions, commenting on issues and events and exposing and opposing wrongdoing in the political culture.
I hope you will subscribe and be a part of the Aggressive Progressive contribution to a more forward thinking Alberta political culture.
Welcome to Reboot Alberta!