Doing democracy differently; getting real results

Member of Legislative Assembly Report

By TANY YAO,  MLA of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo

Tany YaoAcross Canada, a significant number of citizens have grown frustrated with our political process. These folks have grown disenchanted. They recognize that too often elected officials are not putting the interests of citizens first.

Here in Alberta, our Wildrose Opposition has chosen to abandon old-style politics and do democracy differently. We recognize that our province is stronger when we give citizens more power. We believe that a MLA’s first responsibility is to these citizens, so we recognize that MLAs must have the freedom to vote accordingly.

Critics of our grassroots approach fear any change to traditional power structures. They complain that our approach may cause disorder in their carefully controlled and scripted legislative process.

After four years of sending elected MLAs to the Legislature, our Wildrose team has proven the critics wrong. Not only is our caucus the strongest Official Opposition in a generation, but we’re also by far the most effective.

For instance, since the 2015 election our Wildrose team has led the debate under the dome. Our team collectively spoke 380,359 words in the Legislature since May 6, 2015, compared to 137,000 from a government hard pressed to defend its economic agenda.

While old-style politicians strive to talk a good game, our actions speak louder than words. In the past several months we have issued three major policy reports on strengthening our democracy, addressing the fentanyl crisis, and fixing our broken mental health system.

Furthermore, over the past year we have offered 11 detailed solutions for addressing the challenges of today. We have proposed options for a government wage freeze to control the deficit, debt reduction, a jobs summit, an emergency debate on the economy, creation of a non partisan farm safety panel, reducing dental fees, small business tax relief, supporting pipelines, improving midwifery services, making the legislature more family-friendly, and opposing the government’s job-killing carbon tax.

In addition, we are moving ahead with our panel on Equalization, to gather input and options for fixing an inherently unfair federal program. For more information, go to

Our grassroots approach to public service allows us to put citizens’ thoughts and concerns first. Meanwhile, the government’s closed-door approach is responsible for giving us both Bill 6 and the ill-conceived carbon tax. Frankly, when it comes to solving real problems, there is no comparison.

As the Spring sitting of the Legislature begins, you can expect our Wildrose team to continue redefining the Official Opposition’s role in the Legislature. Jobs and the economy are Albertans’ top concerns, so we are going to put these issues front and centre. In addition, we plan to offer realistic solutions for Alberta’s budget crisis, and force this government to confront the realities of its irresponsible fiscal policies.

If there is one thing we know, it’s that this government’s old-style politics is failing our families, our communities, and our economy. We need to do democracy differently if we truly want to get real results.

-Connect Weekly-