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Mov ers & Shaker s


this is just an area where we are a little bit behind but catching up. Politics is not easy and women have to be able to handle criticism everyday. You have to have certainty in your own ability to make good decisions and be able to withstand that criti- cism. My dad didn’t want me to run because he saw the way the media treated Sarah Palin as well as Belinda Stronach, but I think if you’ve got good ideas and you’re able to communicate them well I don’t think there’s any reason to fear the media scrutiny. I know the media has a job to do and they have to take a critical view to be able to give read- ers what they need. So as long as you’ve got that attitude that you aren’t afraid to be criticized, that you are prepared to defend your positions, I don’t think gender should make a difference in politics. It’s really about having that level of certainty and being able to communicate it well.

Politics: Often times the media seem reduce elections to mere horse-race politics. In what ways do you think politi- cians might help refocus media coverage and discussion of actual platforms and policies during the campaign pro- cess?

Danielle Smith: The media’s job is to provide not only information but also something that is use- ful and entertaining, so if we can be creative in the ways we get our ideas across I think the main- stream media will cover it. I think if the media doesn’t learn how to do

that, they’re going to find themselves increasingly sidelined in the political discussion. If you look at the new media, the blog sites, there is a robust de- bate that occurs in the social media realm about ideas. People are thirsty for ideas and compari- sons of campaign platform ideas. I believe we are providing that in the Wildrose Party. We have our policies posted online, we’ve got fifty-five areas of policy that we have identified key issues in. We are also working on developing a caucus platform, which is an interpretation of those policies. We’ve got two policy task-forces that we’ve launched; pay and perks and energy and we’ve got healthcare and agriculture that we’re working on launching very soon as well. We believe ideas matter and we be- lieve people want to debate ideas. We’re going to continue doing this and focus on a positive agenda for what it is we would do if we were to form gov- ernment. The media can make a choice on wheth- er they’re going to cover that or whether they’re going to focus on triviality. I think that there are a number of excellent reporters both within and outside this province that understand ideas matter. I think sometimes the distraction of personalities can get in the way of good media coverage but I

32 Politics | Canadian Edition

think it’s up to a political party to introduce their ideas in a compelling way that makes them worthy of coverage.

I also think that new media like blogs and maga-

zine’s with online platforms provide a challenge to traditional media to bring up their game and that’s good, competition works in politics, business, and media.

Politics: The demographic of young and apathetic voters is easily the most untapped source of potential votes. Do you view the rise in usage of social networking sites, blogs and twitter accounts as possible tools to reach out to this demographic? What techniques are you planning to use on this front?

Danielle Smith: When I launched my campaign I set up a twitter account (ElectDanielle), a personal Facebook page and also a Facebook fan page. We are using a new online policy development tool; if you go to our website www.wildrosealliance. ca you’ll see in the bottom corner is our pay and perks task force. We launched a task force to look at the pay MLAs, cabinet ministers, and premiers are getting. Rather than just hand pick a group of experts to report back to us, we decided to get our members to tells us the principles that they think should guide our decisions about what MLAs should be paid. We’ve gone through the first part asking whether or not MLA’s should get a third of their income tax-free and we got a resound- ing answer from our members saying they don’t think that’s fair. The process we’re using here is that we’ve essentially selected a member jury, we have our co-chairs and an expert panel providing to our member jury expert opinion and getting them to debate all of the different issues they have to con- sider. We’re working to get one person from each riding to seed into that process and from there we’ll develop a white paper which we’ll be able to pro- vide to our general membership once that process is completed in March. I think it’s a very healthy process that we’re using, because I think Albertan’s are pretty smart, I think that average people have a pretty common sense approach to what they think is fair and reasonable and you have to trust that av- erage people know how to make the best decisions when given the right information. So we’re trying to facilitate that and do something new for our policy development and once we’ve worked out the kinks we can do this for several other issues. To me citizen reengagement is the key to over- come this problem of apathy. 60% of people chose not to vote in this last election so it’s not just a young person problem, it’s an everybody prob- lem. I think the reason people chose not to vote Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
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