From her website in 2012:
Despite the best of intentions, governments have a habit of amassing power and responsibility to the detriment of local decision-making. This tendency saps voters’ trust and fosters cynicism about the democratic process, leading to low election turnouts and a lack of confidence in democratic institutions.
Regaining trust is critical if Alberta’s political system is to stay healthy, but getting there requires more than platitudes and promises. Albertans want and expect open, transparent and accountable government, one genuinely responsive to their needs and concerns. That’s why I have made democratic renewal the foundation of my platform, grounding my policies in provisions designed to devolve power where possible while enhancing choice in public service delivery.
Drawing on my enormously successful experiences heading the cross-ministry Alberta Safe Communities Secretariat as Alberta’s Justice Minister, I will cut down on duplication, improve service efficiency and restore citizen engagement in public affairs. On my watch, Albertans will be active participants in government instead of bystanders.
Open Government Basics
I will follow through on my comprehensive plans to improve the way all branches of government work on Albertans’ behalf. These include:
- Rejuvenating Albertans’ freedom to access government information by speeding up replies to requests for information and keeping processing fees low;
- Mandating that leadership candidates from all parties must publicly disclose their donors so Albertans can see where each is drawing support;
- Enacting whistle-blower legislation to force government to own up to its mistakes and in doing so, learn from them;
- Studying methods of telephone and e-voting so the disabled, residents in isolated areas and Albertans traveling abroad can easily have their say at election time.
I have released a number of policies dealing with the issues that are most important to Albertans. All of them are united by one simple idea: that people know better than any bureaucrat what their families and communities need. I intend to structure public services to improve the choices open to Albertans and allow local institutions to provide the services they know are in greatest demand – saving money and raising efficiency.
- Community-based family care clinics will offer the services staff know are vital to the immediate population.
- The government will provide incentives for homebuilders and elder care facility operators to increase housing, allowing seniors and the disabled expanded choice when considering whether assisted living or continuing care is most suitable.
- I will give health-care professionals and families a voice in reforming the system. They will have access to metrics and will be encouraged to provide feedback so the government knows what’s working.
By having separate school boards share premises where conditions preclude standalone operations, schools will function in new areas.
Parents will be able to keep their kids in the school system which accords with their own values without long trips.
Communities will have a direct voice in determining what type of schools they want.
Students from rural areas will have greater choice when deciding on a post-secondary institution with the help of targeted bursaries.
Learning from Experience
The key to realizing this vision for citizen-centred government is close collaboration among government branches. This way, we can simultaneously strike at the root problems while relieving pre-existing difficulties. When Premier Stelmach tasked me with tackling Alberta’s gangs, I initiated a joint effort between the Ministries of Justice, Health, Education and Transportation. After consultations with communities all over Alberta, I led the development of policies and inter-departmental alliances combining heightened enforcement and prevention strategies with notable success. I know from experience how invaluable this method is for obtaining results; it’s time we applied it to our basic public services.