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I think I finally get ‘it’ well enough to try to articulate it

Posted on April 1, 2015 by Taber Times

Crossing seemed like the right thing to do. We believed we were acting in the best interests of our constituents and Albertans. Eventually – (another year?) – you may have realized that we had put advancing the fiscal principles of Wildrose ahead of partisan politics.

And, as it turns out, we’d also put that part of the Wildrose platform ahead of our own political futures. We didn’t get the time to explain that, but we thought we’d have ’till 2016 to do so. In hindsight, from a purely personal point of view, we erred.

Too trusting and a bit naive – perhaps?

But we can’t be sure that even if we’d had the chance to explain our intentions ahead of time, we’d have ever been forgiven.

However, you’d have felt engaged and involved.

Denying you, our supporters, the opportunity of having a say in decisions that deeply affected you personally, turns out to have been a huge tactical error, in my opinion.

Yes, we’d have struggled to keep our shrunken/shrinking caucus together and may have failed anyway. But we’d have gone down with the ship. To mix metaphors, we’d have gone down swinging.

I now believe that this is what you, Wildrose members and supporters, expected your captain(s) – the champions of your causes to do.

Perhaps that’s the unforgivable sin.

I feel the cause of Danielle’s, Rod Fox’s and my loss as well as Bruce Rowe’s and Jason Hale’s decisions to retire, come down to that.

Highwood and Alberta will be poorer without Danielle Smith in the Legislature. I’m sad for her, but sadder for the rest of the province.

I know you felt it was like the captain of the ship saying “Well it was sinking anyway…” Instead it appears we scuttled it.

To you, our former supporters, we are cowards and traitors. Any attempts to explain what was happening inside the party or our fears our caucus would collapse are seen by you as excuses, not explanations.

And we’ve proven Stephen Covey who said, “You can’t talk yourself out of a situation you behaved yourself into.”

At my age, a career in politics was never the intent so I’m feeling no remorse or regret. I get to be a full-time grandpa again – just a few years sooner than I expected. What’s the downside of that?
We changed Alberta for the better. We did make a difference.

I’ll miss regular contact with all of the friends I made around our riding and in the legislature.
Thanks for the opportunity you gave me to serve. It was an honour.

GARY BIKMAN
Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA

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