Excerpts of the Provincial Leader’s Address at PCAA AGM in Calgary on March 31, 1984 [Continued from Part V]

Now, I come to another concern. It is communication. This is a two way street. It is not just communication by 75 members of the Progressive Conservative Party that are elected – it must be communication by the 2100 delegates, by the 79 constituencies, by the total membership of the 79 constituencies. Do you know we did a poll recently? The poll had to do with the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. We asked the people of Alberta whether they agreed with the Heritage Savings Trust Fund. They responded overwhelmingly, yes. So, then we asked the people of Alberta – where does the money come from for the Heritage Savings Trust Fund? Over 50% of the people of this province think the Heritage Savings Trust Fund is funded from a gasoline tax at the pump. Think then about the communication job we have as a government Party. What am I trying to suggest? When an issue breaks, please don’t jump to conclusions. Ask the person, with due respect, what is the source of their information. Make your own judgement about that and then phone your M.L.A. and say, I just read a headline somewhere that said something. What are the facts? And when we send you the information, will you make yourself a personal commitment that with every document we send to you through the Party, you will actually read it – so you become not a headline reader, but a factual reader.

So in summary, where are we at now? The Party is in good shape. The economy is recovering. The province is stable and financially solid.

Well, how about me? First of all I am feeling really good. Jeanne is not only feeling good, she is looking good! I am enjoying the new challenges. I am enjoying them very much and I like working with this Party, so, that is where I am at.

So, where do we go from here? That is my last question. What lies ahead for our province? Very different challenges! In our first term in office we were involved in catch-up. In doing a lot of things our mandate for new directions required us to get done – such as improving the situation for the mentally ill, the handicapped and the disabled in improving the quality of rural life in our province – in a multitude of other ways it was catch-up time. Subsequently we were involved in big national issues. Energy and the Constitution. They were dramatic issues.

Lougheed & Trudeau

Premier Lougheed & Prime Minister Trudeau square off

Now we are involved in different issues and different challenges. Why are they different? Here are four reasons why they are different. First of all they are more complex. They require more reading, more awareness and more understanding. Secondly, a real key, the support just isn’t automatically there with our position like we had, for example, on the Constitutional issue, equality of the provinces. Support on the current issues involves not necessarily a negative reaction by many Albertans but, they need convincing. They need communicating. There isn’t automatic support – so there is a harder communication job ahead. The third difference – they are not black and white issues. They are not similar such as a Constitutional accord where you sign a document and there it is. No, the current issues are much more subtle. There are a lot of greys. Finally, in terms of results, it might take years for our logic to be readily apparent. But, the decision will have a long term impact on people that we represent. The current issues are different. They are not perhaps as dramatic but in the longer term they probably are as important.

Continued in Part VII