Monday, February 9, 2009

The Evolution of "Write a Letter to Your MLA"

Nation, those of you who can't get through a day without reading my humble little blog (do I have any other kind of devotees than rabid?) will recall a piece from a few weeks back about the debut of the Alberta PC caucus' shiny, new "mypcmla.ca". In it, I mentioned the possibility of a "Discussion" feature being added.

Well, guess what's been added?

That's right... as even more proof that the reach of The Enlightened Savage extends into the halls of power in Edmonton, sure enough mypcmla.ca now includes a "Discussion" feature. And while the discussion itself is a little thin right now, I expect that with the Throne Speech, and an impending budget, things are going to start humming over there quite soon.

It's important for people to make themselves heard to their elected officials - and even moreso if those officials are part of the governing party. There's a feeling among some that their comments are largely ignored - that might be, depending on the type of MLA you have in your riding. I can guarantee you, though, that EVERY MLA, from EVERY party, ignores 100% of the correspondence that they don't receive.

So, this new feature on the Tory caucus website is going to make it easier to have a conversation, not just with the caucus itself but also with other Albertans. Provided that all users follow the rules as set out on the website, it should make for some very interesting discussion. I've heard from some that the rules are somewhat heavy-handed, but one only has to go as far as some of the political messageboards in Alberta to see what can happen if the expectations for what constitutes "respectful dialogue" aren't made CRYSTAL CLEAR. The object of this feature on the website isn't to make one's self a messageboard celebrity - it's to help shape a better province through respectful conversation and debate, in full view of the public and the caucus that turns "ideas" into "laws".

As far as the other parties go, this feature - or anything remotely like it - is utterly unavailable on the Liberal caucus website. The NDP site allows comments and discussion on individual news items - which I understand may be coming to the Tory website soon as well.

In all, it's an exciting time to be a politically-minded or involved person in Alberta these days. There are some great, and very important, discussions that we need to be having as a populace. Congratulations to the Tories (and to the NDP) for giving us a forum where we can have those conversations with each other, and with our elected leaders.

2 comments:

Elle Bee said...

I can guarantee you, though, that EVERY MLA, from EVERY party, ignores 100% of the correspondence that they don't receive.

So true.

It's awesome that the government is using appropriate social media tools to give Albertans a tool for discussion. Also, it's great that they're listening to what brilliant blogger types have to say. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great thing to have; can I have a PC MLA too?

I don't have a PC MLA and the representative in my riding answers email queries about government programs with responses that are the Liberal rhetoric as to why that program is not a good thing. That doesn't help me. . .