Q & A: Election advice: Get involved, but in your own way

April 21, 2015
Gordon Thomas, Executive Secretary

Question: Which party should I vote for in the provincial election? I’d like your advice.

Answer: The Association maintains a strict policy of non-partisanship in party politics. Some organizations do back a political party and some even make cash donations. The Association does neither.

There are several reasons.

First, our membership is very diverse. We’ve always respected that individual teachers have their views and exercise their democratic rights. So, get involved in the election, read up on the party platforms, and vote on the basis of your own thoughts and judgment. The Association doesn’t do that for you, nor do we make campaign donations or provide staff or volunteers to assist candidates running for political office.

Second, when the organization spends the election beating up on the party that forms government, the partisanship does impact relations and makes it much more difficult to form a healthy working relationship. There are ample examples across Canada of this reality.

Third, when the organization supports the political party that gains political office, the government tends not to deliver as much as the organization expects or wants. Again, the relationship is impacted by an understanding by government that the organization already supports its directions.

Accordingly, the Association does not back any political party and encourages all members to engage politically. Join a party of your choice, be active in your community, donate, help to shape party platforms, work to advance the cause of education, vote. Be an active citizen.

In order to support that, the Association has included in this issue of the ATA News relevant information about the education platforms of the various political parties. This is a very important election, so be sure to get involved! ❚

Questions for consideration in this ­column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (gordon.thomas@ata.ab.ca).