Media releases | February 25, 2008

EDMONTON—The Progressive Conservative Party has refused a request to fill out an on-line questionnaire and is refusing to send a representative to a Calgary forum tonight at the Public Library to discuss six key public interest issues.

“We are very disappointed that the PC party is ducking this opportunity to engage in a dialogue with citizens about their positions on key public interest issues,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “It makes you question Ed Stelmach’s commitment to be more accountable, transparent and democratic when you can not even get one PC candidate out of 23 Calgary area ridings to come forward to debate these issues.”

Democracy is a Dialogue is coordinated by Public Interest Alberta in partnership with many organizations representing teachers, nurses, health science professionals, faculty associations, students’ unions, churches, social workers, seniors, environmental organizations and community service providers. The political parties all received the invitation to fill out the on-line questionnaire and to send representatives to the PIA forums around the province.The Calgary forum’s themes are Democracy, the Environment, Healthcare, Privatization, Seniors Care and Social Services.

Randy Dawson, the PC Party Campaign Manager, advised Public Interest Alberta that the local candidate in each city had been informed about the forums, but would not confirm any PC candidate attendance. He indicated that voters should just read their party’s website to find out about the PC platform.

“The whole idea behind our campaign is to encourage people to participate in the democratic process by asking candidates to address specific questions on the issues that matter most,” said Gerald Wheatley, coordinator of Calgary Dollars and moderator of tonight’s Calgary forum. “Democracy should not be a spectator sport – citizens have a right and a responsibility to engage the politicians on real issues, not just sit back and take whatever the parties want you to hear. The Calgary area candidates for the PC party are clearly saying that Democracy is a monologue.”

Representatives from Public Interest Alberta will be setting up at the John Dutton Theatre at the Calgary Library today between 4:00 and 5:00 PM. PIA will be bringing a frozen turkey to sit in place of the PC party, and will be available to make media comments at that time or before the event which begins at 7:00 PM.

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