Posts Tagged With: elections

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

Categories: Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where have you been?

I don’t often pay attention to the news for the very reasons that the Rob Ford (Mayor of Toronto) scandal has demonstrated. It is often sensationalistic, focusing only on the most ratings worthy “facts,” you get one side of the story and that side may not be based in fact but merely on rumour and conjecture, and it points out things to us which should be readily obvious.

What, you’re all surprised to find out that a politician is corrupt? And a liar, and a roguish, cheating scalawag?

The question you must ask yourselves is not why Rob Ford did what he did, or how he got away with it so long, but rather, where have YOU been all this time? This isn’t the first scandalous thing any politician (or even Rob Ford himself) has done. It will NOT be the last. No, instead you must ask yourselves why YOU continue to be surprised. Why YOU keep electing people like this into office. Why YOU never do background checks on the people you are effectively hiring to work for you (as most employers would do with their new hires). And why YOU never hold those people accountable to the fullest extent of the law and governing legislation. Essentially, why YOU don’t fire their asses.

Accountability is two-fold. As much as Rob Ford must answer for his mistakes, we and others like us in Toronto must also answer for electing him into office, and allowing him to stay. After all, according to the journalists and reporters telling the story, we are all incensed and outraged at Ford’s conduct. Much the same as the people who elected the last four mayors into office in Montreal, the last two of which have had to resign under allegations of corruption. So why is he still in office?

It’s because of YOU.

When Rob Ford denied ever smoking crack (along with the other reprehensible things he’s done which have been documented as far back as 1987 or so), despite the overwhelming evidence against him, people believed him and took him at his word. When he recently admitted that he did, in fact, smoke crack while in a “drunken stupor,” his approval rating shot through the roof.

While I am a firm believer in maintaining that, in all fairness, we must remember that our politicians are subject to the same frailties as ourselves, what then, does it say about each of us not striving to avoid making the same mistakes when we continue to enable a person who is clearly incapable of making sound, rational decisions? Furthermore, he will likely get re-elected as Mayor of Toronto and people will base this on his “honesty” and “candidness” about his demons.

As with Bill Clinton’s ignominious affair with Monica Lewinsky, I care little for Rob Ford’s demons. I care only that they don’t impact his ability to do the job for which he has been elected and entrusted. However, crack being what it is, it is obvious that it will hamper his judgment not only as it relates to his job, but obviously his decision-making skills in all facets of his life. Rather than judge Rob Ford and tut-tut him for being a reprobate, and then piously forgive him for being “human,” we need to look at our own standards of what qualifies a person to do a particular job, and to what standards we will hold them. We should also, and perhaps more importantly consider to what standards we should hold ourselves were it us doing the same job. Perhaps then we might end up with more honest and forthcoming politicians. But I doubt it. Human nature is a fickle thing, after all.

I do not own the rights to this picture.  Copyright unknown.

I do not own the rights to this picture. Copyright unknown.

UPDATE December 4, 2013: See what I mean?

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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