Alberta's next provincial election. During campaigns the workload at caucus offices drops considerably, since there are no longer any MLAs; they're all out on the campaign trail (or retiring). So I left a little early today, and on the way out I was lucky enough to stumble across Official Opposition Leader Raj Sherman's campaign truck, affectionately dubbed "the Sherman Tank." Given my thumbs-up and my work history, it's probably no mystery who I'll be supporting this election (I even live in Edmonton-Meadowlark, Sherman's home constituency, so I'll be voting directly for Raj).
But as always the most important thing in any election is that people study the issues and vote on election day - April 23rd. This time around there are plenty of choices; we have traditional parties such as the Alberta Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats as well as made-in-Alberta upstarts from both sides of the political spectrum: the Wildrose Alliance on the right and the Alberta Party on the centre-left. The new EverGreen party will be contesting at least a few constituencies as well.
I'm painfully aware that many Canadians have grown cynical about politics and that any entreaties I make can hardly be seen as unbiased; my job, after all, depends upon how well the Alberta Liberals do in this election. (Caucus budgets are set according to how many MLAs each party elects to the legislature.) And yet I will entreat anyway: please vote. In 2008, only 40 percent of Albertans bothered to cast a ballot. The fewer Albertans participate in democracy, the more power is focussed in the hands of the few who choose exercise their democratic rights. We all have a stake in governance, and if after reading the various party platforms you still can't put your trust in any of them, well, you can still send a message by spoiling your ballot.
Canadians in Sherman tanks fought for democracy in World War II. This spring's election in Alberta is part of their legacy. Let's not let them down.