Celebration of Democracy Tour speaker, George Clark, calls for plebiscites



George Clark, the instigator and founder of the Albertans First petitions, calling for the plebiscites on Bill 6 and the Carbon Tax legislation, made Three Hills his first stop for Thursday on his Celebration of Democracy Tour. That meeting was at Moments Tea and Coffee House at 9:00 am for just over an hour before Mr. Clark headed off to Didsbury for a meeting at 11:30.
A good bit of the time was spent in explaining the "power of the petition and the plebiscite". George Clark informed his audience that there has never been a vote of non-confidence in Alberta to bring the government down. But there have been plebiscites called that indicated to the government the will of the people and which led to the government amending policies. The purpose of the petitions being presented to the Lieutenant Governor is not to say the signers are for or against a particular legislation. It is rather to have the government conduct a plebiscite that would ask the questions: "Do you support Bill 6?" and "Do you support the Carbon Tax?" Mr. Clark mentioned that under the Westminster Parliamentary Procedures, there are guidelines, and expected outcomes, but if they are not followed then there are additional steps that could be considered.
The following is taken from the FAQ section of "George Clark" Facebook page.
"Q: What makes this petition different than others that people may have already signed? A: This petition is addressed to the Lieutenant Governor, not the government in power. The LG has both legal, moral and constitutional obligations to the people that often match or exceed her responsibilities to the government of the day. She doesn't have to nor should she seek their counsel on a petition from the people other than to ask them if they will willingly call for a Plebiscite. If they refuse she has the authority and obligation to exercise her power on behalf of the petitioners. It has the same weight as if presented to the Queen herself since if she ignores our request, we are entitled to take it directly to the Governor General and on to the Queen if need be.
Q: Do either of these petitions kill the legislation being proposed or passed? A: Not directly as they only start our legal right to be consulted via Plebiscite. Such a Plebiscite once called has to be held within 60 days, the campaign on the question put to the people is guided by the same rules as a general election. The results while not technically legally binding upon a sitting government, are ignored at risk of serious consequences. For example, if two or more such questions were put to the people in a Plebiscite and the elected government were to lose two or more such Plebiscites, prior parliamentary tradition would suggest that they would need to seek a new mandate to govern." As well as addressing the concerns of the way in which the NDP party has introduced the bills, it could be said that Mr. Clark is an inspiring motivational speaker. Declaring that the number one strength of democracy is the "Right to Participate" he emphasized how the signing of the petitions differs from on-line expressions of "Like" or "Share" because it requires actually going to the points where the petitions are located. It has already resulted in the mobilizing of hundreds of Petition Captains and active supporters that has been unprecedented in Alberta. This movement is not partisan in the sense of any of the parties promoting the petitions, although they are aware of the activities of the Albertans First campaign. Likewise they are not a part of the "Stand up For Alberta" group although they share similar goals. The idea that Bill 6 and the Carbon Tax do NOT represent the majority of Albertans and therefore a plebiscite would be appropriate, comes from a poll taken in November 2015 that suggested that there were less than 23% that supported Bill 6 and under 25% in favour of the Carbon Tax.