Political Platters and Patterns

One of two things happens when you lob a political topic onto the dinner table for guests to dive into.  It either gets really quiet and awkward or it gets really noisy and awkward.  Either way it's good, at least the platters are on the table so the patterns can be exposed.  With election rumours swirling around the province, I figure we have a few weeks at most to get people thinking critically about Alberta's future.  My hope is that if we start to think more critically and we expand the dialogue, we can motivate eligible voters to show up on whatever day Premier Prentice finally decides will be Election Day.  Let's collectively beat the best ever voter turnout that occurred in 1935 when 81.8% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Déjà vu

It's possible, it happened before, we can do it again.  I set about to figure out what made people so mad back in 1935.  Albertans were reeling from the effects of the Great Depression and they were angry with the government.  Fundamentally the political story lines from 1935 haven't really changed. The themes included political scandals, an economic tailspin, and the role of natural resources.  You can read the PC's version of what transpired from 1905-1935 just keep in mind that it is their version.  Are you experiencing deja vu yet?

I have been having recurring deja vu lately but mine hasn't been going back to 1935 it has been going back to the Klein era and coming back up the time line to bite me.  In fact some of my deja vu has been caused by watching the orchestration of the PC party as they set us all up for the coming election. A dear friend from out east who called to chat, rattled my deja vu into alert mode last week.  In the midst of our visit, he asked about Alberta politics and pointed out quite succinctly that I shouldn't be surprised because in his words "you've seen this all before."


He was right, we have seen this all before.  We have seen the dire predictions of economic catastrophe, the finger pointing at various sectors, and the calls to accountability.  Think back to all of the Premier's communications prior to March 4th, when Albertans rose up in revolt.  His communication centred on the three points noted until you all got mad, then miraculously the communication shifted.  The following day $80M was directed to sprinkler systems and safety upgrades in seniors facilities.  Twenty-four hours later $400M in Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding was announced.  Within another twenty-four hours forty-eight new spaces for continuing care were approved.  Go to the Alberta Announcements page and you will see the story unfold.

None of those things are bad; in fact they are woefully necessary.  But we should pay attention to the patterns.  Bad news people and it's all your fault.  Whoops, did we go too far and make you really mad?  Here's a little something that should ease the insult and help you forget long enough to vote for us again.  I'm not naive, this is politics and any party in power is probably going to use similar tactics.  I think what makes it so offensive this time is that I have lived long enough and experienced enough to know that everything we are being told is not true.

So, start talking at the table.  Don't be intimidated by the relative that challenges your position with one partially true statement.  Go find out for yourself.  Read.  Debate.  Research.  If you hate doing all that, come back here next Saturday and visit with me.  We can throw the topics on the table and chew on them together.

If you want a little extra reading check out Fumbling the Alberta Advantage.