At the recent Alberta general election, a historically low 41% of registered voters exercised their right to vote. Although those that did gave the Stelmach government a massive majority of 86 percent of the seats at the Legislature, the mandate, in fact, came from less than one-quarter of the electorate.
This questions the health of democracy in Alberta. Low turnout at the polls is symptomatic of a serious lack of commitment by the electorate. Voter apathy may have been helped by years of domination of Conservative governments and a perceived lack of viable alternatives.
If informed public debate is the lifeblood of democracy, the time may have come to consider reforming our political process. How can we ensure that issues of concern to Albertans are subjected to rigorous debate at the Legislature before they become the law of the land? Now on the outside, Paul Hinman will provide an insider’s view of the options.
Speaker: Paul Hinman
Paul Hinman was born in Edmonton and is currently the leader of the Wildrose Alliance. He first became interested in politics through his mentor and grandfather, Edgar Hinman, who served as Provincial Treasurer in the Manning government of Alberta from 1955-64.
Paul has worked in the agricultural sector as a farmer, cattle breeder and feedlot operator. He was elected to the Alberta legislature in 2004 for the riding of Cardston-Taber-Warner. He was the first and only member of the Alberta Alliance Party elected to the Legislature and became the party leader in 2005. In early 2008, the Alberta Alliance merged with the Wildrose Party to form the Wildrose Alliance. Mr. Hinman became its first leader. Shortly thereafter, Paul narrowly lost his seat at the Legislature in the provincial election. He and his family live on a farm near Welling.
Moderator: Ian McKenna
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2008 Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Cost: $10.00 (includes lunch)