Our Move from Competition to Collaboration

Alberta Primetime asked:

What impact would eliminating score-keeping have on Alberta kids playing minor sports?

In my opinion, it’s important to continue to score-keep in sports. Choosing to eliminate score-keeping would take away a valuable and necessary learning opportunity from children.

There is a creative tension that exists between collaboration and competition. When teams, organizations, businesses, leadership races etc. are able to successfully strike a balance between the two, they both inspire and unite. Canada’s hockey gold medal a year ago comes to mind.

Society today can benefit from understanding that collaboration and competition are not mutually-exclusive concepts. One is not preferable to the other. They exist on the same continuum. Children need to learn from an early age that people aren’t competitive or collaborative. They are both.

A better question would be:

How do we as a society learn to value teamwork, collaboration and skill-improvement equal to winning?

Our society overvalues competition and undervalues collaboration. This causes an imbalance in our systems and has the following negative societal effects:

  • Trust in our society has been replaced with bureaucracy and cover-your-ass paperwork to the detriment of our relationships.
  • Our creative energy remains largely untapped because financial independence is our first individual responsibility.
  • Public, private and charitable sectors are financially unsustainable.
  • Our healthcare system is overburdened.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics confirmed my philosophy that the pinnacle of achievement is reached when we successfully strike a balance between collaboration and competition. Using this basic principle, we can restore balance to our systems and transform our world into a place where ALL people love their lives.

1 to the power of 7 Billion  = 1

There’s power in ONE.

We’re ALL on the same team.


Money is Love – #mONEysLOVE

Money is energy. If we continue to pour our anger, hate and fear into money it will continue to hold us hostage. In today’s world we need both Money AND Love. Pouring your Love, Creativity and Positive Energy into Money will heal the divide and unite the 1% AND 99% into ONE ….. and our systemic oppression will lift.

Hate attracts Hate. Love attracts Love.

Money is Love – #mONEysLOVE

Barbara Wilder wrote a thought-provoking book entitled MONEY IS LOVE; Reconnecting to the Sacred Origins of Money.

On her website she describes her book as follows:

War, poverty, hunger and crime are caused by the fear that surrounds money and its scarcity. Money is energy, and energy is limitless. Only our fear and our limited way of thinking make money seem scarce. You can reconnect with the sacred origins of money, and direct the flow of money through your life and the world on a current of love, joy, goodwill and abundance. Money is energy, and according to quantum physics the universe is made up of energy, which becomes matter only when information is focused on it. Wood is wood and not iron because of the information that forms the two different kinds of matter.

Too many of us labor under the belief that money is “a necessary evil,” which is, more often than not, difficult to obtain. By changing our feelings about money from fear, anger, greed and scarcity, to love, joy, abundance and goodwill, we can change the way money moves through our lives and the lives of others all over the world.

Money Is Love teaches that as we begin to remove the negative thoughts and feelings that surround money and redefine money as love, we bring the power of love into all of our monetary transactions. This in turn opens our hearts to allow money to flow abundantly into our lives, creating a place of peace and joy. From this place of harmony we can then send money back out into the world on a flow of love and gratitude.

Money healed can begin to heal all that it touches. And because money flows like blood through the planet, diseased it causes disease, but infused with love it creates healthy new life.

Transform your thoughts about Money, and Transform Life.

1 to the Power of 7 Billion = 1

There’s power in ONE.

We’re ALL on the same team.

Aim for the Centre: It Represents a Multi-Dimensional and Balanced Approach

Drawing from my journal

 

 

A Proud Centrist in Life

If you understand that opposing values live on a continuum, you recognize that a creative tension exists between them. There is no separation. Embracing this concept will move us away from the divisive and dualistic thinking that pervades our society towards a unified and holistic approach.

 

 

"yin and yang" is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only exist in relation to each other.~Wikipedia

 

 

It’s not Good VERSUS Evil, Good AND Evil will always exist in order to keep society in balance. You couldn’t feel Joy without knowing Pain.

(As a side note: This is why “evil” people deserve LOVE too :) Loving unconditionally doesn’t imply approving of someone’s behaviour.)

 

 

 

Our societal and individual challenge is to strike a balance between all these opposites:

Community       |——————–AND——————–| The Individual

Collaboration    |——————–AND——————–| Competition

Feeling              |——————–AND——————–| Thinking

Art                     |——————–AND——————–| Science

Public                |——————–AND——————–| Private

Decentralized   |——————–AND——————–| Centralized

Qualitative       |——————–AND——————–| Quantitative

Feminine          |——————–AND——————–| Masculine

Trust                 |——————–AND——————–| Accountability

Giving               |——————–AND——————–| Receiving

Transparency  |——————–AND——————–| Privacy

Generous          |——————–AND——————–| Greedy

The list goes on and on.

It’s not about VERSUS anymore. It’s about AND.

As individuals we embody ALL values and traits. We are everything. Our potential as human beings is only limited by our minds. Where we find our own balance, our own centre, on each continuum is what makes us as individuals so complex, multi-dimensional and unique. As for society, it is a reflection of the individuals within it. As individuals find their own balance, so too will our society. Herein lies its brilliance.

Scales of Justice

 

A recent Calgary Herald poll asked:

“Which of the following does your happiness depend the most on?”

The majority of respondents answered:

“A feeling of balance in my life.”

 

The world is craving balance. The centre is the sweet spot, because the centre is balanced and multi-dimensional. Aiming for the centre is the path to restoring balance in our systems.

 

Our Instant Gratification Generation

One of the root causes of poverty is our education system’s inability to accommodate the differing learning styles and needs of our instant gratification generation. Rote teaching methods do not inspire, capture the imagination or hold the attention of students today and high school drop out rates are a concern.

To link this to poverty, if youth aren’t dropping out into jobs they are quite likely dropping out onto the streets. In my experience working directly with youth experiencing homelessness either as a youth worker in a teen homeless shelter or as a social entrepreneur with my latest social venture SEA Change Nation, I’ve identified three general categories of street youth.

They come from either (a) families living in poverty and/or chronic homelessness, (b) abusive homes or (c) good homes, but their parents no longer know how to deal with them. What many of these youth have in common is that they have gotten labelled as youth with the harmful and misguided behavourial or developmental disorders such as ODD or ADHD and the doors to the public school system eventually close to them.

I’m not saying ODD and ADHD etc. aren’t real, but they aren’t “disorders”. They are challenges associated with an active mind that when understood could be transformed into gifts that will benefit our society.

Most youth I know who aren’t in school don’t initially complain too much because living on the streets allows for the flexibility, independence and freedom universally desired by teens. In addition, our current mainstream path to wealth and self-reliance – go to school, get a job, and claw your way up the corporate ladder – does not appeal to our instant gratification generation.

The issue is in order to survive, youth become entrenched in street culture realities such as joining a gang, theft, panhandling, selling drugs or prostitution.

“When asked, none of the youth interviewed (during the Calgary Youth, Health and the Street Report) wanted to stay on the street and 90% had goals of gaining better employment, having a family or finding housing. – Calgary Youth, Health and the Street Report (Worthington et. al, 2008)

By the time the youth experiencing homelessness realizes that the illegal alternative to the mainstream one isn’t a path to wealth and freedom for most, the doors to the mainstream are closed to them because of addictions (mainly started by self-medicating their active minds aka “disorders” with marijuana), criminal records (eg: theft under $5000), etc.

The cycle of poverty in our cities therefore continues because their only option is to continue to hustle on the streets to survive.

Contrary to popular belief, this generation isn’t inherently lazy and disengaged. They are just uninspired.

This generation is sensitive, creative, adventurous, risk-taking, compassionate and kind. The need to be instantly gratified exists within them because it is what our society needs to further advance.

Today’s youth aren’t wrong to want to be instantly gratified.

At the core of a desire for instant gratification is the desire to do something with your life TODAY. You don’t want to bus tables or shovel sidewalks to get to some seemingly impossible destination in the future. You want to unleash your creativity and pour your passions into making a difference NOW.

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Each generation has a main purpose. If I use my own family as an example, my grandparents immigrated to Canada from Japan. The purpose of their generation was to put their noses to the grindstone and do whatever it took to get their family out of extreme poverty. Their children were mainly left to fend for themselves and pitch in wherever they could.

My parent’s generation, the Baby Boomers, are what I like to call the work ethic/parenting generation. It never crossed their minds to follow their passions. They poured themselves into their work and their children. This became their purpose. Not only did they drill into us that gaining financial security was more important than following your dreams, but they also ensured we had a better childhood than they did by working equally as hard as their parents. I’m certain they were driven in part by a conscious or perhaps unconscious resentment towards their own parents who didn’t pay enough attention to them :)

Which brings us to my generation, Generation X. I am now two generations removed from extreme poverty. For those in my generation who have children, it is their purpose to ensure their children get to live their lives as an expression of who they are. They don’t put as much pressure on their children to get jobs just for the sake of earning money (because they don’t need the money), they instead encourage their children to discover who they are and follow their dreams. I’m certain they are driven in part by a conscious or perhaps unconscious resentment towards their own parents who didn’t allow them this opportunity :)

I’m generalizing here, but you get the gist.

First Generation Canadians, Baby Boomers and to a certain extent Generation X fulfilled the important societal role of getting our economy to where it is today. The majority of people have jobs, but the time has come to shift our focus from job creation to wealth, health, happiness and meaningful work creation. Generation X’s “enlightened” parenting style provides evidence for this fact. (Read also: Our Move from Job Creation to Wealth Creation )

Which leads me to the new generation of youth currently in school. Generation Y (also known as the Millennial Generation) or as I like to call them our instantaneous gratification generation’s purpose is to live their lives as an expression of their passions and strengths.

We aren’t supposed to try and change the youth of today to make them more like the generations that preceded them, we are supposed to accept them for who they are and design classrooms and business models that leverage their unique gifts and active minds.

It is EVERY generation’s purpose and responsibility today to evolve our systems so they unleash the hidden and unique passions, gifts and strengths of our instant gratification generation.

But don’t take my word for it, check out this great animate. It was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.

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Seemingly ordinary. Except they’re not. They carry inside them the genetic code that will take their species to the next evolutionary rung. It’s destiny. ~Heroes (TV Series), Season 1, Episode 1

(I’ve been waiting a long time to use this Heroes quote in a blog :)

Capitalism Evolves as Our Values Evolve – Herein Lies its Brilliance

A new set of behaviors is forcing a rethink of old, ossified ideas about cold-blooded capitalism. We are seeing the emergence of a structure best described as The Impact Economy. This is not some bubble-driven phenomenon, but a recalibration of supply and demand based on a more accurate system of measures that internalizes externalities and prioritizes impact. It imagines a new equilibrium predicated on a social contract influenced as much by Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments rather than only The Wealth of Nations. It conceives of a values-led, mission-driven marketplace wherein true gains are those outcomes that achieve market-rate financial returns without entirely trading off on social good. ~Jonathan Greenblatt 

Milton Friedman’s take on the free market:

I am a firm believer in the free market. I mean seriously, how can you watch the video above and not be in awe of its power to connect people.  But today the free market, especially in light of the financial collapse that occurred in 2008, gets a bad rap.

What I would like to say to those people who bash the free market is … as people evolve, so too will our economic system. Systems are in essence mirrors for our society. When you look into them deeply what you see staring back at you is a reflection of our current societal values. People are the common denominator in all of our systems. We are all connected.

Therefore, our economic system evolves as people’s values evolve.

Herein lies its brilliance.

Our amazing economic growth was fuelled by an individualistic, selfish pursuit of wealth as well as a consumption mentality. We sacrificed our communities in order to create jobs faster. But now, in developed countries, the majority of us have jobs so you can see a tip towards balancing the individual with community already taking place. The responsible business, community economic development and social entrepreneurship efforts happening around the world are nothing short of amazing.

Yes, for those companies ingrained in their original profit-maximization driven pursuits they are finding it difficult to right the ship midstream, but they are trying. (Perhaps wasting a bit too much money on marketing campaigns to let us know how hard they are trying, but at least they are trying) The market is demanding it. This is the power we hold as consumers.

Where we really see momentum being created for this balancing is with the true engine of the free market; the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs within the mainstream economic system and within the charitable/social sector are affecting change from the inside out using a Blended Value approach commonly referred to as the triple-bottom-line. This approach is the future of business because it doesn’t just create jobs, it has the power to create wealth, health, happiness and meaningful work for ALL people.

I understand that change is a painful process, but it is a necessary one. The free market may be relatively fast at job creation, but it is decidedly slower at listening and adapting to the demands of the market (society). This is the source of the pain within the process. But pain and struggle are the necessary stimulants for growth, not only within the context of the economy, but also within the context of being human.

The more experience I gain, the more I come to understand that everyone is doing the best that they can. The free market may have made society look a mess on the surface, but deep down we are doing OK and we are on the right track.

The pain and struggle we endure while working to succeed within the free market isn’t caused by the free market itself, it is a function of the point in history we were born into (our family’s and the world’s). It is a function of being human.

Yes, we sacrificed our communities to create jobs faster. The pendulum swung far towards the individual and the majority of us now have financial security. Our next step now is to recognize that as consumers, employees, investors, parents, entrepreneurs, volunteers, politicians, board members etc. the time has come to take the risks associated with making bold choices to restore balance in our systems so we ALL can have financial, mental, emotional and spiritual security.

As people we value both money AND community and its time for our systems to reflect this. If we are in fact the 99%, we can evolve our systems by uniting, identifying our individual passions and strengths and channelling them into developing and executing a pragmatic plan that moves us towards our shared vision of prosperity for ALL.

As people master the art of balancing individual needs with a responsibility for community ALL of our systems will evolve.

When our Trust in People = our Trust in Money the change in our systems will be palpable.

Learn more about how to accelerate positive change here:

Emergence: http://margaretwheatley.com/articles/emergence.html

Collective Impact: http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/collective_impact/

Our Move from Consumption to Community: https://tammymaloney.com/2011/06/10/our-move-from-consumption-to-community/


The End of Youth Homelessness

Youth are the key to discovering the solutions to the complex societal challenges we currently face. We have therefore reached a point in history where we can no longer afford to leave their naturally inherent compassion and creativity untapped.

 

 

To do our part we are launching The Social Entrepreneurship Academy for Change (SEA Change Ltd.)

The Social Entrepreneurship Academy for Change Ltd. (SEA Change) is using an innovative business model to transform youth experiencing homelessness into Social Entrepreneurs.  We are empowering them with the skills they need to avoid a future with the adult homeless shelter system.

By investing in youth who often face insurmountable barriers to finding employment in the mainstream job market, we believe we can organically grow a youth-driven job market that will serve as an attractive alternative to theft, gangs, drug dealing, prostitution, and panhandling.

Our experience shows that street-entrenched youth would choose an opportunity to become a legitimate entrepreneur over street life or the mainstream.

The youth we work with are natural entrepreneurs. They desire freedom, independence and self-reliance.  They are risk-seeking, innovative and resourceful.  By leveraging these facts we can help them become leaders of our business community and put an end to their homelessness permanently.

SEA Change is launching a Social Enterprise Incubator for YOUTH in Calgary, Alberta, Canada working hard to transition away from street life and out of homelessness.  As part of the holistically designed incubation program, youth will be paid a Living Wage to attend Business School so that they can achieve stability in their lives and obtain technical business skills prior to admittance into the incubator.

To accomplish this goal and to achieve long-term financial sustainability we are working on two business plans.  (1) SEA Change Recyclers; Calgary’s convenient and caring alternative for recycling bottles and cans.  (2) SEA Change Services; Providing superior offsite office services to save you money.

“Our business model says we’re spending $134,000 per year for every person who’s homeless.” Tim Richter, Calgary Homeless Foundation CEO, CalgaryInc, December Issue 2008, Volume 6, Number 10

In other words, helping 150 youth experiencing homelessness enter the job market instead of the adult shelter system translates into a ~$20 million/year savings for Calgary. (150 x $134,000=$20 million/year)

More importantly, by educating our street youth to become entrepreneurs we are contributing to the future economic growth and stability of our great city.

Learn more at http://seachangeacademy.com

sea change – n. a profound or notable transformation. –The Oxford Pocket Dictionary

social entrepreneur – n. someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. –Wikipedia

A GRASSROOTS YOUTH MOVEMENT HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN!

Kahlil Gibran ~ On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Social Entrepreneurs Can Help End Poverty

What is a Social Entrepreneur?

Although many definitions exist, I define a Social Entrepreneur as an entrepreneur that trades off short-term profits in exchange for long-term financial sustainability in order to create jobs for those currently excluded from the mainstream economy.

Social Entrepreneurs are often associated with a “triple-bottom line” approach that values a balance of social, economic and ecological outcomes. (people, profit and the planet)

How can Social Entrepreneurs Help to End Poverty?

Social Entrepreneurs can launch businesses requiring less technical skills and hire those currently excluded from the mainstream job market. Then, once stability is reached, their employees can leave the social enterprise to pursue greater challenges and more learning opportunities.

Focussing on less technically-skilled positions gives the Social Entrepreneur the flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of their employees. These needs could include (but are not limited to) court dates, addictions counselling, English classes, mental health challenges etc. There are many circumstances where their employees will have a higher level of skills than is required for the job, but they are willing to make the sacrifice because they see it as a stepping stone towards a better future.

Social Entrepreneurs in Alberta are working to build a bridge to the mainstream economy for ALL Albertans.

The success of this bridge is dependent on planning, coordination and a commitment from industry and government to hire new employees from social enterprises. Industry and government also have a responsibility to prepare their employees in entry-level positions for advancement into higher skill-level positions.

Job-training programs, resume writing, job search assistance … these can only go so far.

People who face insurmountable barriers to permanently entering the mainstream economy need job opportunities that can pay them a Living Wage. Without a steady and stable income, stability can not be achieved. The need for this stable flow of funds is no different than our education system or our municipalities requiring it.

The innovation required for the effectiveness of the payment of a Living Wage is that it must be coupled with a structured goal setting and budget process. The success of this innovation can be increased if the Living Wage is paid in trust to the social enterprise. You will then equip people with both the job skills, money management skills and financial discipline they need to succeed in the mainstream. This innovation will also allow us to determine if a Living Wage in combination with improved financial literacy can overcome the high costs of living such as daycare and housing.

I know firsthand that those currently excluded from the mainstream economy get excited by opportunities to work in social enterprises. It is because the opportunity is seen as being necessary, but more importantly it’s seen as temporary. It is only one-stop on their journey towards financial security and self-sufficiency. Motivation in ALL of us increases when we can see a future beyond living paycheque to paycheque.

The impact of inspiring people with a vision for a better tomorrow is immeasurable and “priceless”.

In Alberta the time has come to transition the low-skilled businesses to Social Entrepreneurs with flexible revenue models that can accommodate workers with higher needs. A great example of this is the Vecova Bottle Depot in Calgary. They offer a fully-inclusive work environment where people with disabilities run a highly-efficient operation.

Other social enterprise opportunities that exist include recycling services to apartment buildings in Calgary or offsite-data entry services to larger organizations (outsourcing work doesn’t necessarily have to go to India to save companies money.)

Catalyst Needed for Change

Social Entrepreneurs in Alberta need a lower cost of capital. These types of businesses can operate successfully with loans, not grants. Their business plans make sure of this fact. I am currently looking to connect people with a passion for finance to launch a Patient Capital fund. (Contact me at tammymaloney@shaw.ca if you are interested in connecting with us or investing.)

Conclusion

Flexible and compassionate employers that pay a Living Wage can help end the cycle of poverty, but a more lasting impact can be derived if we combine this with:

  1. Developing partnerships with government and mainstream employers that are willing to commit to hiring entry-level employees from social enterprises focussed on creating jobs for those currently excluded from the mainstream.
  2. Paying employees in trust to the social enterprise and providing hands-on goal setting, budgeting and money management training that tangibly defines the path out of poverty.

Providing people living in poverty with this opportunity to transition from a reality of living paycheque-to-paycheque to a realistic vision of a brighter future can help end poverty.

The time has come to stop thinking in terms of survival and start building collaborative systems that launch people’s dreams.

“Despite current ads and slogans, the world doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes when networks of relationships form among people who share a common cause and vision of what’s possible. ”~Margaret Wheatley, 2006

My Direct Contribution to Social Entrepreneurship in Alberta

There are legitimate reasons why certain Albertans are unable to find success in the mainstream job market or escape the cycle of poverty. The barriers they face are real and cannot be overcome by working harder. I learned this at The Mustard Seed volunteering for 5 different programs and as a youthworker at a Boys and Girls Clubs homeless shelter for teens.

These experiences, in addition to several pilot projects I ran with youth I met at the shelter, helped me to develop a model that can help street youth enter the job market instead of the adult homeless shelter system.

150 jobs for youth = ~$20 million/year in savings for Albertans

The logic behind a focus on youth is that poverty will never end if we keep allowing a new generation of youth to continue the cycle.

Visit http://seachangeacademy.com for more details on the social enterprise model I developed directly with some amazing street youth in Calgary.

Our Search for Truth in Alberta: Let’s Unite and Restore Debate

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In the comments of daveberta’s blog, ministers mel knight and luke ouellette crash landowners rights meetingpeople object to this video “intentionally spreading misinformation to conjure up fear and confusion.” In other words, they want the truth.

I was at this meeting and although the video is edited to show the Ministers in a bad light, I can confirm that Luke Ouellette did admit to not understanding the bills (“I have one heck of a time understanding a lot of the real legal stuff within bills and how it works.”) This comment was not taken out of context and Ouellette answered no questions pertaining to the bills. Mel Knight, although obviously more well-versed in the bills, also did not answer questions from the landowners in the audience.

Joe Anglin presented one side of the story and willingly gave the uninvited Ministers an opportunity to share their side of the story. Unfortunately neither Minister chose to articulate the valuable and important parts of the legislation that benefit Albertans. Instead they went on the defensive, shut down questions from the audience and visibly showed their frustration.

As a 2011 Alberta Party leadership candidate I attended this meeting, as well as the debate in Eckville between Keith Wilson and MLA Ted Morton, with an open mind. I gained little insight from the PCs at either meeting. Some of the most de-politicized conversations I’ve had have been with people who were part of a Regional Advisory Committee (RAC). From their perspective there is a lot of great planning and collaboration that will be lost if we repeal the bills.

My search for truth in this situation has been a frustrating and time-consuming effort because politics, at every turn, has gotten in the way.

The question I’ve been asking along with my fellow Alberta Party leadership candidates, Randy Royer and Lee Easton is:  “How do we restore in Alberta productive debate that elevates the conversation, seeks and discovers the truth, and moves our Province towards its full potential?”

Good debate in Alberta sometimes happens in different blog comments or over a pint, but we need to unite and get each debate in Alberta that matters in one place online. Albertans need a place to go to find both sides of every issue presented. We need a community that thinks critically, speaks from the heart and is motivated by a search for truth, not votes. (Perhaps this already exists somewhere? If it does, please let me know so I can start contributing to the conversation. I have notes that give the pros and cons of many different issues that I would love to share.)

If it doesn’t, there are people willing to invest in getting a “One-Stop Alberta Debate Shop” going online. This could be coupled with face-to-face discussion groups, research and formalized debates between citizens, not politicians. Across the province we could use this as a tool to become informed, learn how we personally feel about different issues and explore bold ideas.

In the grandest vision, it could evolve to crowdsourcing solutions that reflect the majority of Albertan’s values and beliefs. This could move us away from the divisive nature of partisan politics towards a place where politicians/public servants spend their time facilitating collaborative and responsive efforts between our civil servants and communities that move Alberta towards a shared vision of greatness.

When I lived in Europe and Nigeria, I participated in true debate daily. After being home for over 2 years I’ve come the conclusion our quality of life and our ability to address social issues is being seriously affected by our inability to openly debate without being persecuted for our opinions. This is perhaps why we are behind Europe on many fronts. (For example, social entrepreneurship, micro-financing, appreciation of architecture etc.)

I may be a member of the Alberta Party, but the reason I joined a political party for the first time was so I could go beyond ideology and safely explore all sides of an issue. After 8 months, I have come to the conclusion that people currently won’t allow a political party to remain non-partisan. I therefore want to be a part of something outside of a party that restores debate and discovers our Province’s truth.

We are getting Alberta nowhere closer to its potential attacking each other in Twitter, so let’s unite and get a real conversation going. Let’s build a community where we can freely talk about taxes, royalties, land use bills, economic diversification, pros and cons of carbon capture and storage, reviving our film industry (or not), reviving our natural gas industry (or not), homelessness, the value of triple bottom line approaches … a community where you name it, we can freely talk about it … where we can figure out when deregulation helps Albertans and when it doesn’t … where we can safely explore both public and private healthcare solutions that work and those that don’t … a community where we use a collaborative and holistic approach and blend knowledge, ideas and expertise from all sectors and all walks of life.

Let’s unite and build a community outside of the political realm that seeks to understand, not to be understood. This simple shift is the key. If you agree and want to be a part of a group that creates a “One-Stop Alberta Debate Shop” going, please send an email to seachange4alberta@gmail.com or write a comment on this blog.

As an Albertan that cares deeply about our Province, all I want is the truth … and I know I’m not the only one.

Tammy Maloney