Time Out for Drever

Punted to the sideline, stripped of the resources and support of the NDP, Deborah Drever is being put on a one- year time-out in the corner as an independent.  Maybe my assumptions are wrong and the NDP is committed to helping her quietly as long as she helps herself, but the optics are such that it appears she is a rookie politician cast into no mans land.  By her own admission, she is a product of our foster care system and now the NDP is placing her into the political foster care system.  She has been effectively removed from her political family where she might actually benefit and learn from the wisdom of others and isolated in a lonely place without access to that wisdom.  She has been stripped of her political family identity and left in a jungle of angry constituents to face everyday alone.

I'm assuming a degree of anger among her constituents as they watch the debacle unfold day after day.  Like many Albertans across the province they  voted NDP and/or Rachel Notley, more so than for their local NDP candidate.  Albertans woke up on May 6th to realize that they now had candidates who did not live in their ridings, who had little or no experience, and in this case questionable judgement.  Initially, they thought it might be alright to have fresh faces and new ideas, to have true representation of a cross section of Albertans.  But then Ms. Drever began her run with infamy.  And that started to be a major distraction for constituents, and probably took a huge amount of time and resources in fire fighting on the part of the NDP.

No amount of fire fighting seemed to bring the Drever situation under control.  Every time the NDP thought they had it dealt with and smothered, another hot spot erupted into self destructing flames.  Even Notley's attempts at creative parenting have failed to quell the advancing flames.  Sending Deborah off to do some additional homework on violence against women, seemed like a good idea.  A little research might have expanded Deborah's perspectives on the absolute and lasting horror that violence against any individual imprints on their psyche.  However, the winds of stupidity kept fanning the flames, and I'm sure Rachel Notley's phone kept ringing.  The second round of creative parenting took the form of a time out as an independent MLA, and I believe this was a strategic mis-step by the new NDP government.

It's possible that my perception of this strategy is ill informed.  It looks like the party has abandoned her at least temporarily, and although she may well be deserving of it, something about it seems wrong.  If they are abandoning her for a one-year time out and are hoping that she will reform herself and her reputation in that time, they are wrong.  There are some critical skills she needs to develop and if she hasn't done so as of last year, it is extremely unlikely that she will be able to do it alone.  Maybe quietly behind the scenes, the NDP is offering Drever mentoring, and assistance in managing an online persona that has the power to ruin her future.  Possibly the party is committed to doing their best to shepherd her through to something better.  Maybe they are helping her to deal with the angry constituents that are probably clamouring for her resignation.  But it is equally probable that they are trying to distance themselves and do damage control.  I understand that they don't want the party associated with Deborah's past life and her views.  It makes sense that they want to be very clear in their denunciation of violence against women and homophobia.  But is a time out the answer?  It depends - it depends on the arrangement.  I hope they do the right thing.