To paraphrase the legendary Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot, pretty soon I’ll be jumping a jet plane in the early morning rain, and in about three hours time I’ll be flying over my home, I’m Alberta bound this morning and posting here from the airport in Ottawa.
I am taking a temporary short-term leave from work to complete some courses, but before I do that, I am sneaking in a quick trip back to our home province to lend a hand to my long-time friend Mike Walters as he and his cracker-jack team strives toward the finish line in the hotly contested riding of Edmonton Rutherford – a riding that they can win as the first electoral victory for the Alberta Party.
It is great to see his campaign going so well. Some may be surprised, but not me. I knew he would be right there with an excellent chance at winning despite representing a party that is in the relatively early stages of building its public profile.
I am not surprised because I know a little bit about Mike (also known by his twitter handle as @organizermike). I’ve likely spent more time with Mike than anyone else outside of his immediate family over the past 25 years.
As friends in high-school and then remaining close since then, Mike and I have spent many an hour with each other since we were teenagers, and I have an excellent understanding of his capacities and his ambitions. I know about Mike’s commitment, his passion and his competitive spirit, not to mention his skill at building campaigns and leading teams to towards positive results – results that make our community better.
Thinking about it now, I realize I have seen Mike in multitude of different roles over the years. Together we played team sports, volunteered for our local hospital, lived as roommates, worked as tree-planters in both Alberta and B.C., worked for a road-construction company digging ditches, refereed basketball, went door-to-door canvassing – the list goes on and on, including getting involved with a group of other politically frustrated folks (Renew Alberta) who were attempting to bring about a healthy alternative to the somewhat dysfunctional political scene here in Alberta, but more on that later.
On and off just after high-school, Mike would often stay with my family, for various reasons it made sense, especially because I could try and teach him how to play a little guitar and how to be less of a red-neck (ha!)
For hours on end we would talk about music and poetry and try and write songs, most of which were actually quite terrible, indeed.
Years later Mike and I would stand up and toast each other at our respective weddings, and later still I would become the godfather of one of his boys, (the dashing Samson), and my wife and I would give the name “Michael” as a middle name for our second son, Finley.
Twenty five years since we first met on the volleyball court at our local school in Drayton Valley I am proud to see Mike on the cusp of becoming an elected politician. It is something he has been working towards for a long time, and something he is extremely well suited for. His excellent work in the communities that he has lived make him the obvious choice in Rutherford.
I have also been involved with the Alberta Party since it was “renewed” about two years ago, and I am so very pleased about all of the hard work so many people have put towards creating a genuine alternative to the old way of doing things.
Albertans now have a legitimate option for a fresh change – an option that is positive and constructive. In this election, and especially in the next, Albertans in all locations will vote increasingly for a party that is moderate, reasonable, progressive, and soon capable of forming government.
As a first step, it is important to elect Mike and other great candidates, such as the hard working Glenn Taylor in West Yellowhead, Tim Osborne in St. Albert, and Sue Huff in Glenora, among others.
It will be a busy week ahead but it will be a pleasure and an honor to help Mike and the AB Party. More than ever, now is the time to get involved!
Kudos to Brian Thiessen as AB Party President, and past president Chris (Boss Man) Labossier for the impressive work this past year as well.
- thumbs sore – time to fly, pls pardon the typos!
Looking forward to seeing my folks and my bro as well!
Update: straight from airport to door knocking with MW himself – another new sign!