After two previous unsuccessful attempts, this morning I finally got a chance to meet and chat with Mr. Paul Hinman, my Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Calgary-Glenmore, at his Calgary office. As expected, Paul was nice and easy to talk to (even I disagree with some of his views & approaches).
The first thing I bought up was the issue of whether Wildrose Alliance will receive official party status and be allowed a daily spot in the Question Period lineup when the Legislature starts on February 8? I am very adamant and think that Assembly Speaker Mr. Ken Kowalski really has no choice and should give Wildrose the official party status! Paul was more pragmatic and reminded me that it is still up to the Speaker.
I told Paul and promised again here: If the Speaker choose to use technicalities to play dirty party politics and ignore the precedence set by giving the 2-seat NDP party the official party status, then I will personally call Speaker Ken Kowalski‘s office and complain as a Calgarian and Albertan. (see this detailed commentary about wildrose official party status at daveberta)
We also talked about my concern of Bill 44 (currently suspended for a year, I think) and I asked Paul to pay close attention to it when it come up for discussions again in the Legislature. I told Paul about my two encounters with Minister Lindsay Blackett re Bill 44 (where I interviewed him on camera) and my deep concerns with the bill tying the hands of teachers in classes.
Paul and I also talked about a few other issues including a chat about human caused environmental change (aka global warming) which Paul and I are in almost total disagreement.
Finally, I would like to say Paul is nice and very easy to talk to and other Calgarians in Calgary-Glenmore should feel free to arrange to meet Paul and tell him your concerns (constituency offices contact info).
Now, I want to make a general observation. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with your three levels of elected representatives (city, provincial, and federal). Ask to meet them, talk to them, call them, email them, etc to tell them what you think about issues close to your hearts.
After all, these politicians work for us. And remember to vote in every single election because every vote is important!
Jan 27 Update: After reading CBC “Wildrose bump could change legislature question numbers“, I decided to take time to call Mr. Ken Kowalski‘s office to tell him I think, to be fair, Wildrose should be given the same number of legislative questions as the NDP.
Feb 3 Update: Both Wildrose Alliance and NDP are not happy with Speaker Kowalski‘s decision yesterday. See “Wildrose Alliance accuses Alberta Speaker of partisanship” and “Opposition wants answers“. It is good to see both parties speak up and try to change things to better hold the government accountable. At the same time, the Speaker seems to have done things in a “fair”-ish manner in my eyes.
The bottom line is the Alberta government needs more accountability and questions from opposition parties (MLAs elected by Albertans) are a good thing.