Archive for the ‘Alberta Politics’ Category

A Province Grieving

Posted: April 9, 2019 by Ty in Alberta Politics
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It is hard to fathom that Alberta is only 107 years old. We have seen a lot of change in that time, and have been the instigators of quite a few. From the Famous Five and the battle for Women’s rights (yes I realize I am short forming, but please forgive as it is a post, feel free to flesh out more in the comments with information) to launching two political movements:

  1. The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation which led to the NDP which brought us amazing things such as Universal Health Care, Pastor Tommy Douglas led the charge from Saskatchewan as he believed no one should suffer because of inability to pay.
  2. The Social Credit Movement which brought about some pilots of things to be solidified later. Yes it did, Rev. William Aberhart laid the planking for that. The concept of Social Credit, that is essentially free money to the populace, was a plan out of Britain if I recall, and it brought the SoCreds from a coffee party discussion and radio broadcast to governance beating out the United Farmers of Alberta. Now pause and think, what are monies from governments to aid one to not be in poverty? Alberta Works, AISH, Child Tax Benefit, Carbon & GST Rebate. Plus his protege and successor, Ernest Manning created the citizens royalty plan for our oil so well used and leveraged for economic’s by PC premiers Lougheed and Getty.

In the 1990’s we say a rise of populism as a party essentially campaigned against themselves. The Klein way hit, and hit hard. Reading back on his movements inner circle they admit they had no plan. They had a slogan and started slashing. They moved our resource (oil) from a citizens commodity to a company right, gutting royalties but it was hardly noticed as the price of oil per barrel was insane. Systems of care were shifted to prove need and that you are not (the great WASP myth) abusing it, and things like disability and AB Works (Welfare) became harder to get and at this juncture were not about living (Redford did bring in an AISH raise, but that was almost a full or half-generation later depending on how you count generations). Seniors lost their supports, and what was given back was a pittance. Universal health care was tinkered with under the auspices of the “The Third Way” and hospitals were closed and imploded, the beds not fully replaced. We knew back then that the Baby Boom was the largest looming generation of retirement yet we were not planning to care for these elders to be, instead we placed money over citizens.  It led to incomplete transitions for folks needing full time medical or mental health supports as large institutions closed but they were not fully transitioned into smaller homes, or group homes, many ended up in Homeless shelters.

Public schools under the auspices of parents choice bled students, funding eroded, and drop out rates increased as big oil advertised good work (and yes we knew it was a crisis as many mentoring non-profits popped up attempting to stop the bleeding of Gen X and elder Millenials).

It was also the 1990’s that showed Alberta’s hate proud. We had a KKK Rally and cross burning that made national news (sadly I cannot remember the exact township). Jim Keegstra our public school teacher and Holocaust denier made the news of being in and out of courts. At some point Keegstra was silenced, and the KKK lost their provincial non-profit/charitable status (can’t remember if the government pulled it, or they forgot to file some taxes and it was quietly closed). It was also in the 1990’s that the Government attempted to exert their censorship muscles by creating banned book lists in public schools (published on the first day of Freedom to Read week, oh the irony) and threatened theatre companies funding for putting on plays such as “Angels in America”.

(Neo)-Nazi the term alt-right is en-vogue pointing out that Nazi’s were about white supremacy, yes and no, and only anti-semitic, yes and no. Nazi’s were filled with hate. The co-opted Norse Mythology for their imagery much like other extremist groups have co-opted Christianity or Islam today. The Holocaust not only involved 6 million Jewish folks. The zyklon B gas chambers was tested for efficacy with German citizens who were Roma, LGBTQ2+, Persons with Disabilities, and mental health concerns (about 7 million we know of). Medical experiments were run on folks of multiple births (twins, etc) as they gave a control subject. The prime drive was an enforced tier system of humanity where some were full people and other’s not (also noted in Stalinism’s brutality and murders, take any spectrum full circle and you get extremists and hate nothing more).

Liqour stores privatized and so did registries. They finally ended the tiered minimum wage for workers under 18 and over 18 years old.

In the 2000’s we were advertising we were open for business, but the jobs available that drew folks could not pay the cost of living. Emergencies were declared in homeless shelters in winters. Oh, and parents now could sign off on their 12 year olds working at places such as fast food restaurants.

Premier Stelmach attempted to create royalties on oil focused on the citizens products, not the companies and well he was not premier very long.

And it was deemed good by the small percentage that turned up to vote in the polls. Eventually any governing party runs out of steam, and after 44 years, and 7 premiers the PC Party lost the 2015 election to the New Democratic Party (going from 4 seats to government). They inherited what had happened a generation ago, the austerity cuts that had left huge infrastructure and capacity gaps (literally crumbling schools). To offset this as well, the usual way the Alberta Government and people were comfortable with solving issues, the price of oil had tanked and was not looking like it was going to return. Jobs were lost. The types of jobs that with oil prices regressing big companies realized were not necessary, and could be handled with new technologies.

Like anything, the cycle of change:

Image result for stages of changeWhere do you see yourself in the emerging Alberta? Your neighbours? Our politicians and media? I believe as a province as a whole we are in the pre-contemplation to contemplation stage of change. Which is why it is so easy to be divisive, to use attack ads, to yell sound bytes, to not have actual debates and conversations of issues. Most importantly, to not realize that local action can create ripples that change outwards for the positive.

Being in the first two pieces of the cycle has us reflect on grieving. It became a pragmatic expertise era of working with students as mentor and guide for almost 2 decades from multiple disciplines:

Image result for kubler ross stages of griefWe are living through a province fluctuating between denial, anger and bargaining. Our leaders, are managers trying to keep their bases appeased and not willing to take a risk to speak into the void of pain. To let the silence do the heavy lifting.


The cycle of depression, before acceptance is scary, and it is where our province as a whole needs to move. Once into acceptance we can move into the stages of change into preparation, action plan and maintenance. But the first step in actual Peace, Order and Good Governance for the citizens.

For a theory that may be more visual to get, I like the U Theory:

Image result for u theoryWe as a whole province are stuck in the downloading arc. We cannot get past the letting go in a collective understanding of who we are and what our vocation is?

April 16 is a big day for Alberta because it is our time to decide to enter authentically into grief, healing and a new dawn. To do that though we must move beyond the rhetoric, the hate, the attack ads. We must demand better of those who want to represent us.

We must let go, and let come the new Alberta.


Experience grief, and heal.



It’s funny. Today I was thinking of Alberta Votes 2019. It is hard not to as it fills every media space, and it is ugly. There are great lights for folks honestly running for citizens like Leah McRorie, Gar Gar and Dave Khan to name a few (tonight my daughter added Braham Luddu). I originally was planning to tap into a simple spiritual and holistic theme. That being forgiveness, second chances and growth in our life span. This came about watching the attack ad cycle (yes these ad’s bore me, and make me decide to not support that party even more).


Simple, they take usually past statements and/or actions, and present them as current reality. This is done under the guise of past behaviours are great future predictors. Yes, I can agree with that, yet it removes a simple learning curve. People can and do change. It happens, it is looking at patterns over a lifetime, and recency. These are key pieces. This style of attack is not a smear. This happened or that was said. It can be accountability. What the media needs to do is dig and discuss and see what has changed?

So yes, I believe in second chances and forgiveness.

The hard part is this got scuttled tonight as we looked at learning more about our local candidates and attended the local forum. The opening question for introduction was for the candidates to share personally why they wanted to be our MLA. The 3 other candidates from Alberta Liberals, Alberta Party, and NDP answered honestly and shared their story. The UCP Candidate (who had already distributed blue shirts and signs, so I was prepared for the faux standing O’s to come with his answers) went and just started reciting party policy. He was called out on this (heckled, as happens in politics, and any other forum you are before the public-been there done that).

Which set off the wave of blue. I got mad as they triggered my son into hysterics, as I made my statement they chanted go home to us, and three blue shirts postured and threatened to want to meet me in the parking lot for a fight. The moderator front and centre for it, did not clear the blue shirt bullies, he would tweet and apology stating he “did not hear or see” and that he was saddened to be associated with an event that went off the rails like that.

As I would be in the lobby helping my son re-regulate, Sprawl-Jeremy Klaszus would come out to check in, so would Calgary-East Liberal Candidate and 12 CSL member, Michelle Robinson, and another lovely volunteer whose name I did not get. I would speak with the Sprawl openly about how this is not my Alberta.

Video from the Calgary-Cross forum tonight. After Amery (UCP) is heckled, UCPers chant Mickey’s name, upsetting ‘s 13-yr-old son. Ragan: “Good job guys, you scared the kid with cerebral palsy. That’s your inclusive party right there.” UCPer: “Go home, go home.”

-Check out Sprawl for the video

I have lived in this area my whole life. We are the most socio-economically, religious and culturally diverse communities in all of Alberta. We came seeking a candidate that would break party lines and ensure proper representation and support for citizens. I do not stand for hate or exclusion. I do stand for full universal health care, and full public education. I do know that the infrastructure and wait times we are experiencing are not due exclusively to NDP governance, but the royalty cuts that supported business not citizens under PC governance of Klein and his barbarous cuts.

I do know we have a resurgence of hate and bullying in our province, and that was ignited by the bullying rise by the mergers of the Wildrose and PC to create UCP and the leadership bullying style that brought that about. We bore witness tonight to that, unable to stay, as I got my son able to return, I found my daughter in tears and the blue shirts pointing and grinning at having accomplished this feat. We left, and City TV stopped me in the parking lot to discuss the gutter politics on display, the rise of hate, and the bullying.

I know I have my bias, and have never been a conservative, this election though I have tried to share the good from each party, or at the very least the link to their policies so that readers (and Albertan voters could find them easily) to be able to make an informed decision. I was part of the stand against hate in the `90’s (and was hoping we had evolved enough for it to be done); I have been involved in anti-bullying campaigns, and quite politically, religiously and community involved my whole life. I enjoy sharing my passions with my children, and getting them engaged to be able to critically think, fact check and find the candidates they would vote for.

Tonight was not the Alberta I believe in, or want to be apart of. Four of the five candidates in my area showed up, that was four choices (sorry Communist Party, your guy didn’t show he’s off the list). The NDP and UCP already had an uphill battle, after tonight the UCP is off and very off. That leaves both the Alberta Liberals and Alberta Party left to decide with.

But I do ask citizens to think of the demonstration we are putting on for our children. For the demonstration of fear of sharing personally why we want to SERVE our citizens (yes that is what political office is a vocation of service, not power); and that choices we make do not only affect us in the next four years, but 7 generations from now (as the Elders have taught)…we are still dealing with the repercussions of the last short sighted-money over citizens-populist government 1 generation on…

Can we afford another one?


And let’s put hate and bullying back in the dumpster where it belongs.

Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, & Igor Kordey (2011) graphic novel, Star Trek Classic Vol 1: Gorn Crisis, is a beautifully painted space story with ethical challenges around grieving in change. It is set during the Dominion War, and the Federation is in search of new allies as they are not doing so well.

The Gorn are a lesser known adversary, from the original Star Trek episode “The Arena” where the Gorn captain faced off against Kirk in a battle. Since that encounter, even though the Gorn view humans as weak, they had set aside their empire building aspiration. Gorn are a species from a desert world, a humanoid reptilian. What brings Picard’s Enterprise-E to seek them out?

Image result for star trek the arena

Star Trek Episode “The Arena

The need for aid in the current war, and a discussion with the political caste about putting aside their mutual distrust to work together for the safety of the Alpha Quadrant.

What is found is a caste revolt where the military is attempting a massacre of the political caste, and have decided to kick start their own empire building.

Meanwhile on an outpost world being rebuilt, Commander Will Riker and  Starfleet Corps of Engineers team are with a Klingon crew. The Klingons are “disgraced” in the honour code due to following the wrong vision, and being seen as cowards. They are out to self-destruct in dishonour, or light the universe on fire in their anger.

What does this have to do with Alberta you say?

It can appear to an outside we are like the Klingons, acting out of anger as the world changes around us. Not understanding the moment we are in, and the changes happening. Where being apart of rebuilding is an act of honour for it is protecting and growing hope.

Or, to some, like the Gorn’s military caste forcefully destroying that which the world has become to reclaim some by gone never was era.

The question is, as Albertans, are either of these static choices where we want to exist?

Or as the story progresses, are we ready to learn, grow, and move through the U of change, being present and willing to step out of the old, and into a time of stereotyping and creating the new. Growing…much like the Gorn and Klingons, former enemies of the Federation stepping into a new world of being comrades:

Image result for U Theory of Change

Which Alberta do you want?

Vote April 16, 2019

If you were to follow the twitter echo chamber or simply get your news from Alt-Right sources, and those deep in the anger portion of grief cycle one may think this is the only option come April 16:

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But there are Superman, Lois Lane and Batman’s out there if you can sift through the b.s. that is simply used to rile up the anger army.

Here is some extrapolation on the buzzwords being used to brew discontent:

GSA’s- Gay-Straight Alliances. One of those ideological governmental traps that the Official Opposition (UCP) declared. What is it? A club of sanctuary to sort out who you are. The controversy for helicoptering “parents” is that the school does not need to get your permission for your child to be apart of.  I know quite a bit has changed in schools since I was in public school, but I talked to my Pops as well on this one. He couldn’t figure out why there was so much time debating a parent giving permission for a club, why? What type of parent must a child have that they don’t let you know what is happening in their life. He cited only getting permission slips if we were leaving property, otherwise we talked at dinner, about life (and yes the no-no topics the helicopters and lawn mowers don’t want discussed openly- politics, religion, sexuality, current events and critical thinking).

Equalization- Many parties to the right have brought up referendum on equalization or withholding equalization from the Federal government. Uhm… it is not money sent by provinces to the government. Equalization is a financial resource sharing from the pool of Federal tax money to the provinces. The current formula was implemented by the Government led by Stephen Harper (in which Jason Kenney was a prominent cabinet minister), and renewed by the Government currently led by Trudeau.

It splits provinces into have and have not to ensure funding on cost shares, and other systems for the citizens. Alberta is a have province (we used to be a have not, but no one likes to talk about when we got Equalization monies). Folks like to decry provinces like Quebec that have so many more social programs but also get equalization. Quebec has a high income tax, provincial sales tax, and other taxes, on top of equalization to ensure care for their citizens.

Alberta refuses a PST (Provincial Sales Tax); wants to dump a carbon tax (so a Federal one will come into play); the conservative movement wants to move back to a flat income tax rate, which will already drop our tax revenues which are the lowest taxes in the nation. Our economy is the fastest growing, with the lowest debt to GDP ration.

A referendum on equalization is a waste of money. Provincially we do not have a leg to stand on as the only way to withhold is to not pay Federal income Tax, ask the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) how that will work out for you. It is a barometer test to skirt the Constitutional Clarity Act to a separation vote.

Separation/independence- No, this is not a new movement in Alberta. We had the Western Block Party in the 1980’s. We had the Cascadia movement in the 1990’s (BC, Alberta and Seattle making their own nation). It has raised its head again this election with an clearly named independence party running a half slate so far of candidates, it is a plank in UCP through equalization, and in the Freedom Conservative Party clearly there. Let’s look at what we have learned in the journey of Quebec separatists and what it means to Alberta.

  1. Freedom of Movement in our charter means provinces do not own the land they are on, Quebec has a strip around Quebec and Montreal that is historically their’s pre-confederation. Alberta was territorial land.
  2. First Nations land stays. Yes you read that right. The Alberta Independence Party writes about what will happen with First Nations at separation, but here’s the kicker– Treaty is not with the Province, it is with the Crown. So even if the Supreme Court deemed the Alberta government having any right to the land, the First Nations Treaties would trump that and well, it is all Treaty land.
  3. The Clarity Act. I love this act. It shows the brilliance of the Prime Minister that could’ve been, but smear politics halted his win, that is Stephane Dion. After many ambiguous questions in Quebec, under Prime Minister Jean Chretien enough was enough, and a very simple but brilliant premise was created. Separation is allowed but it must be a yes-no question from a clear question: We are voting to leave Canada? This act has been used around the world, most prominently in referendums in Scotland, Ireland and Wales in regards to the United Kingdom, and the Brexit with the European Union.

And how well does one think if we were to leave or even start sabre rattling to leave would it play out economically for us…

Pipelines- the clearest issue showing that Albertans are grieving and end to what was, and stuck in the anger phase of accepting the new. We need to diversify our economy. The great plan for our resources implemented by Social Credit Premier Ernest Manning for the people’s oil, and carried through by Progressive Conservative Peter Lougheed continued…that populist Progressive Conservative Premier Ralph Klein dismantled and made for the corporation not the people, that Progressive Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach tried to bring back to Manning’s way and lost his job for it…now First term NDP Premier Rachel Notley is trying to re-start the Manning-Lougheed Legacy and we are getting those fight for Klein’s way.

What does this have to do with pipelines? It is the spark for the anger brush fire. As oil loses ground around the world and people are finding other energy sources, ours is landlocked (I realize the government bought rail cars, but that was photo ops). The outgoing Harper government told the incoming Trudeau government the pipeline to the Pacific Ocean was good to go…to much tinkering led to what wasn’t. Has to go back to consultation with First Nations.

Making this about laying pipe a battleground meme issue of election does not speak to the bigger concern. We are the province that fought the National Energy Program of the late 1970’s and are now bemoaning that our eastern provinces buy oil elsewhere. B.C. is fighting the pipeline as well based around their green initiatives.

The line is approved once consultations are complete. The Federal Government (That great enemy according to the right) bought the pipeline and the Prime Minister has been the most visible Prime Minister ever in Alberta (for 10 years that Harper was in power we barely if ever saw him). Nothing in the conservative platforms speak about how they will get inter-provincial pipelines built unilaterally and against the court orders. It is sabre rattling pure and simple, push for answers, and check feasibilit.

Oh, and if we “separate”  and become a landlocked prairie country with no ports, do you really think the neighbours we have thrown under the oil rail car will want to let us build through their nations?

Accept we are a province grieving. What can be done to support oil, what can be done to heal and transition workers seeking a new path. These are the conversations that need to happen over the resource that we have squandered since 1993 for the betterment of big corporations and the detriments of Albertans.

Stand Your Ground- An American concept that you can use whatever means necessary to protect yourself, family or property. This gauntlet was thrown down yesterday by Jason Kenney when he spoke of re-writing self-defense laws (which if I remember my basic Canadian law are Federal as they deal with crimes that extend beyond ticket-able and 6 months in prison, but why let technicalities stop a good spin) should be different in rural Alberta than Urban. His rationale was that when police are 5 minutes away in the city compared to extended times in farm country.

Self-Defense laws in Canada allow one to use reasonable force to protect yourself or someone else if you believe there is imminent danger (no it does not extend to property, that is why we have insurance). Lethal force is hard to justify in most circumstances, but it does not matter location it is circumstance. It is also hard to swallow any line of safety in crime when you check the Hansard and see how many times the Official Opposition just opposed any bill of government including increasing funds to combat crime like more RCMP in the rural areas.

Anti-vaxxers- They annoy me in their lack of biological scientific understanding. It is now listed as the 3rd greatest risk to public health and life. Let that sink in. And yes it has already hit the Alberta Election with both the Alberta Liberals and Alberta Party bringing up platform points after a measles outbreak in Alberta.  I cannot believe I just typed that sentence in 2019. You follow their social media threads that use terms like re-education (it is language used in cults), and their unwavering holding to beliefs despite scientific evidence and risk of harm or death is shocking.

The two party platforms out there are:

Alberta Party to be a public school student you must be vaccinated (although when this changed I am unclear).

Alberta Liberal Party if you choose not to vaccinate you must attend a public health seminar on vaccines before signing the waiver.

Understand. Educate. Vote HOPE 2019.

Read how those caught in lies, scandals and hate are more illusionist than David Copperfield here.

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Just replace spiritual with political, and VOTE FOR HOPE April 16, 2019

It is time for Albertans to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask if we like the soul that is being reflected back at us during this campaign of hate and power grabs. The stories of vandalized candidate signs covered in misogyny, death threats, white supremacist b.s. and swastikas is but an outward sign of what we have allowed to be moved into the light as acceptable. At the least this is vandalism of property, at the most it is hate crimes and the miscreants need to be found and tried as such.

Then there is Kenney-gate’s Kamikazee candidate taking in such things as fraud, identity theft and the possibility of money laundering. Add to that the candidates going down to being revealed as anti-semites, or alt-righters. A pastor running in Calgary Mountain View, and no it is not his horrible exegesis of the passages on wives that is the issue but his support of the barbarity of conversion therapy, and another stating that wives need to give their husbands sex full stop (wtf which year are we in?)…and don’t get me started on the minimum wage arguments put forward by the party citing those with lower social capital should be paid a lower minimum wage (youth, persons with disabilities) or their virulent hate towards outing students. Or wait…veiled stand your ground laws being brought into Alberta. There are a few folks running for the United Conservative Party I know, but cannot endorse them due to the banner they are running under to them contravening the highway act and changing a safety road sign for truck clearance so it did not read 6.9. For the UCP Platform read here.

Yet there is hope Alberta. There is debate of actual things that help us coming forward. There is the Day Care funding debate, NDP stating $25/day and the Alberta Party with a well costed and thought out (oh and what I have always advocated, tax incentives for families with stay at home caregivers/parents) Read here.

For the rest of the Alberta Party platform read here.  They also have 87/87 candidates nominated and out working for support of constituents. They have strong candidates, Lana Bentley in Calgary Acadia who has been working to make the world better, and Gar Gar in Calgary East who is working to give a future to our youth, and engages them to discover how best to build community and grow hope (just ask my daughter, Justina).

If Rachel Notley has been dubbed the Lougheed Legacy, I would put the Alberta Liberals as the inheritors of the Woodsworth-Douglas legacy for amazing progressive support for citizens back stopped by sound fiscal details: Electoral Reform, Proper support for Universal Health Care; Proper support for Public Education, Gender pay equity; Read Platform here.  Oh and they have strong representation from across Alberta’s communities, including this amazing living the experience advocate Leah McRorie (read here). As well, their Leader David Khan is a man with a servant heart, wisdom and compassion. As I had tweeted earlier, I still remember him at a candidates forum showing up early, answering questions, spending time, helping with the lunch and clean up (yes, Calgary Mountain View, keep your riding Liberal!)

The Green Party of Alberta is a Red Tory-Red Grit party to use old time vernacular for you policy wonks. Following suit from encouragement from the PEI Greens they are expanding the discussion beyond just Environmental platform planks, and are well worth a look for other ideas. They are also the first party out of the gates to raise the idea of Universal Basic Income in Alberta. Read their platform here.

To the far left there is five Community Party of Alberta candidates. Here is there platform (or as they call it Program).

For those who say they staunchly are Conservative (big or small C) and will not support anything from the centre governing party New Democrats (their platform here), here are the other parties in the Provincial election and their platforms (just click on platform for the link if there is one).

Progressive Conservative Party- Still registered, but ran by UCP. No platform.

Wildrose Party-Still registered, but ran by UCP. No platform.

Alberta Advantage Party (Members of Wildrose who did not join UCP) platform

Alberta Independence Party Platform.

Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta (they were renamed from the pre-existing Western Freedom Party on April 23, 2018) Platform.

Pro-Life Political Association (Renamed from the Social Credit Party May 3, 2017). . . No platform.

Reform Party of Alberta Platform.

For all candidates running for all parties, and as independents, as well as for everything you need to know for April 16, 2019 vote day check out Alberta Elections.

It is 2019. Nazism and hate has seen a strong resurgence in our Province. Divisiveness, and mudslinging is what some are attempting to make the new norm. But there is hope. It is not a two horse race, a choice between NDP and UCP as both our governing and opposition party want you to believe. As you can see there is many choices. Many folks running to represent their neighbours in the Legislature in our capital city, Edmonton.

Take time to get to know the parties, figure out which parties resonate or independents. Then get to know the candidates. Go to the forums/debates. For me, if someone doesn’t turn up that says they want to represent me, it sends the strong message of how they will be in government– more of a lackey for the fearless leader, not a voice for the citizens. Even if they were on my list, they are not there, they are struck off.

Get a real feel if they are a person that has convictions in their beliefs, will they take a stand. I may not truck with Derek Fildebrandt’s political beliefs, but during the bubble zone debates while our official opposition was en-masse running out of the Legislature, he stuck around and spoke out for what his thoughts and amendments were. He earned some respect from me that day, for he did the job he was elected to do. Same as when Robyn Luff left the governing party and cited bullying concerns, and the 2 MLAs in her party found guilty of sexual inappropriateness but were never named. It took guts.

It takes guts to run for office, your life becomes an open book.

This election has become too ugly. We need to move out of the gutter, and back to the soap box.

What are the ideas? Why do you think you should represent us? How will you bring Peace, Order and Good Governance for ALL CITIZENS. It is time to pull the power plug on the resurgent hate. It is time to not hold our noses and vote for “the lesser of evils”. No, end that nonsense. It is time to stop accepting management in place of leadership.

It is time to vote HOPE. VOTE vision. Vote Leadership.

Vote for who you believe the best person is for your representative.

Oh and did I mention…Vote on April 16, 2019.

The only split vote, or vote not counted is…

the one not cast.

And they’re off! Premier Rachel Notley (who appears to have renamed the Alberta New Democratic Party after herself judging by election propaganda) has dropped the writ in Alberta’s election window for 28 days from now– April 16, 2019 (remember if you are working while polls are open your employer must accommodate you being able to vote). I won’t deny it, I like the NDP. Folks like Agnes MacPhail, Pastor Tommy Douglas, Rev. J.S. Woodsworth have inspired my own theological underpinnings. I may not have always agreed with Jack Layton (the leader I ran under) but I respected his willingness to figure things out.

In Alberta, we are a province in a grief cycle whether the leadership of parties want to acknowledge it, or use the anger part of the cycle to create wedges and build walls between citizens. The world is changing. The old economic order of riding high prices on Oil, and letting international companies control the people’s resource are at an end. Technology is rising, so is greener energy ventures. We need to diversify. We need to address our poverty levels (Almost a whole generation lived under emergency alert conditions in homelessness). Due to bad record keeping we have created a perpetuating crisis in our public health care by buying into a Third Way and a road to privatization, we balk at a sales tax, and do not want anything more than a flat income tax rate regardless of income then cry foul when we are seen as a have province by data and have to support our neighbours in Confederation through transfer payments in a system designed by a previous Conservative Federal Government, and simply renewed under the current Federal Liberal Government.

Tax burdens were shifted to user fees. Schools and other important infrastructures crumbled. Yet as we lost our Heritage Trust Fund, and sold off our province we believed the fallacy of “Debt Paid” as it shifted from incompetent and unaccountable governance (note how the current Calgary Board of Education still uses funds) to everyday citizens. Who also had a generational crisis of averaging only a Grade 10 education. Now today their bodies have given out, their jobs have dried up, and there is no light seen at the end of the tunnel in the grief cycle of change, because anger and ideology not conversation, problem solving and community is the course of the day.

We are a province that has let fear and paranoia shape our social safety net, as we have bought into the false narrative that those seeking out these are “lazy” or “cheating the system” as such it is a punitive and degrading prospect to access. Designed to deny, not to bridge in times of crisis.

Our current governing party is riding high on news of huge reductions in Child and family poverty, and due to dropping of rents and actual increase in affordable housing stock homeless numbers are stabilizing at crisis tipping point precipice (though areas like Red Deer, AB now need 140 bed shelters). They struggle with outgoing MLA’s and one’s setting as an Independent speaking out publicly of bullying, dissenting voices being silenced, and needs of constituents coming secondary. There is rumbles that two MLA’s were found in the wrong of sexual misconduct but still sit in anonymity.

Aside from that, for citizens as a whole, Notley and her government did the best with what they had inherited and the grief of a populace. That said, I can also affirm I will not be supporting my MLA Ricardo Miranda for a second term with my vote. I am looking elsewhere, and yes there is more choice than the UCP.

The second part of the Globe and Mail Editorial title today of Alberta’s choice being between a leader that lowered child poverty or a leader that could be a criminal is the leader of the alleged, Loyal Opposition, Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party. The party was created by the merger of Progressive Conservative Remnant, and the Wildrose Party. From the early days of the leadership race rumours of corruption, bullying, and threats led the strong PC Leadership Candidate MLA Sandra Jansen to leave the party and cross the floor. Currently the Calgary Mountainview parachuted star candidate resigned today over white supremacist supporting comments. Former UCP MLA (Currently Independent) Prab Gill admits to having UCP lawyers send him cease and desist notices for his co-operation with the RCMP criminal investigation into the UCP leadership race that could include such crimes as identity theft, fixing elections, fraud, money laundering…as well Gill was the subject of a criminal videotaping in the Legislature by the UCP. Kenney states all this, even the running of a kamikaze candidate to take out Brian Jean’s aspirations to be UCP leader as nothing more than business as usual in a leadership race.

I have had respect for politicians of many political stripes and have been involved with quite a few different political flags to get things done to help Albertans and Canadians. What this race is shaping up to be is an ideological entrenchment, and the old story line that there is only two parties running and that is your choice.

It is now, and always has been a false flag.

There is currently 12 registered Political Parties in Alberta.

The United Conservative Party (which also is skirting ethics by having members keeping the Progressive Conservative and Wildrose Parties alive). Out of the Unity movement spun those that could not stomach what the parties had become: Freedom Conservative Party, Alberta Advantage, Reform Party of Alberta, with some members and MLA’s going also to the NDP and Alberta Party.

Then there is the my relatives rolling in their grave moments with the demise of the Alberta Social Credit party with the anti-abortionist take over and their rebranding as the Pro-Life Party of Alberta.

It may surprise many, but I would place the Green Party of Alberta within the Centre-Right mix. The environmental policies they put forward is what most know them for, but as you look through other policies (and if they could get those out they could make a break through with the right local candidates) remind me of a Lougheed era PC (or Red Tories if you will).

In the centre is the Alberta Party.

I would also say the governing, New Democratic Party, falls into the centre as well.

Then Centre to Left we have the Alberta Liberals which with the platform and grassroots work they are doing I would say have out leftied the NDP even federally. It is amazing what they are putting forward and the caliber of some of their candidates.

Far-Left we have the Communist Party-Alberta.

April 16 do not vote out of grief. Do not vote out of anger. Do not vote out of fear.

Vote hope. Find the local candidate, and party (if they have one, independents can be a strong choice) that lays out the Alberta you want for yourself and seven generations from now.

Election Ready Resources:

Who’s Running in your riding?

Alberta Elections Everything you need to know

As was written previously, anyone following any form of news media can see the political long knives are coming out for a blood bath in the 2019 provincial election. The UCP anger machine and NDP anger machine are in full throttle. Both are arguing over that Alberta Advantage, well, let’s take a look back from a perspective on life since the Klein era “common sense revolution”. The fact that this era normalized addiction, and no it was not because our Premier was a known alcoholic it goes deeper than that. This is not a debate about abstinence vs. harm reduction methods or safe use sites or methadone, etc…all those things work dependent on the chemical dependency. No, this is exploring how the drive to privatize normalized addiction for a province as a means of funding public services.

I note privatization, for it is the time period when registries, driver tests and liqour stores all went private. Short-term money makers, long-term impact. I still remember being in high school and knowing if the bars ever started IDing I would just have to walk into a registry with 50 bucks to get a legitimate ID with a false birthday. (There is much controversy recently with the Government taking driver testing out of private hands, but there has been many rumours and proofs that it is a necessity for road safety). Although as I moved into sober living, trust me it is a challenge as a writer or to be involved in politics alcohol free.  The privatization of liqour stores led to an explosion in neighbourhoods where literally I believe in the properties here in NE Calgary we have one in every strip mall. The more private retailers meant it was more easily accessed, and flowed more easily to all age groups.

Also saw more of a prevalence in checkstops, as drunk driving has become a plague in Alberta. Also though many excuses are given due to the ebb and flow of oil and gas and the Alberta economy for the reason behind high rates of usage, and domestic violence. But I liken these excuses to what the courts have ruled in the drunk defense for assaults and sexual assaults, it is not a get out of jail free card. We have built a province where it is acceptable to drink, where we actually don’t truly look down on the functional alcoholic that can still hold it together it is a communal reflection we need to look at in the mirror. The more alcohol used, the more money went into government coffers in “sin” taxes.

It goes hand in hand with the rise of other chemically dependent crisis whether it was crack, meth or fentanyl, all a way to dull the pain, a symptom of covering up the hidden pains as we push forward with the fallacy of the Protestant stiff upper lip cultural toxicity.

Due to the high cost of living for those below the upper-middle class cut off, what became normalized was a forced or adapted workaholicism. That is for some households it was multiple jobs for all involved to keep themselves afloat, or for one person to maybe white knuckle through recovery of another addiction to simply push forward keeping themselves busy. As the Third Way of health care wrecked havoc on things like P3’s for extended care, it meant many having to put in 3-5 years of work in a year span to simply cover the cost for their loved ones. But we grinned proudly to the world for looking at the hard working folks of Alberta.

As our infrastructure like schools, hospitals, roads and non-profits crumbled we got a “blessing” from the government. Or it is one that some have stated to me in spiritual centres, non-profits or schools (and hospitals). Proceeds from gambling. Whether it is lotteries, or casinos that non-profits can staff to reap the windfall from. It is putting out there that the responsibility of supporting things for the public good fall upon those things that can cause the most harm. It places non-profits in a position to wrestle through the ethics around taking money from what can be addiction fueled industries to fund their efforts in making a better world. For parents in a parent council, it lays out the challenge of needing to reflect on one’s own ethics and values for participation in a society’s that government has deemed simple things as computers, libraries and upkeep need to fall into fundraising initiatives and things such as Casino revenues.

Is it a blessing? Or is it simply a way to place a placebo happy sticker over an initiative that may be fun for some, but detrimentally harmful to others? A simple way to say “hey we care, look you can access this…” but not caring enough to actually direct appropriate funds. The Calgary Board of Education would scream that the loss of their ability of School Fees is why they have shortfalls, totally ignoring that Education Minister Eggen and Alberta Education had made up those shortfalls in their budgets. I could see the same screaming happening if the ability to use the addiction industries for funding were lost.

But here’s the challenge, what happens if we were to remove that funding stream and create appropriate government grants? What if we curtailed the availability of some of these forms of addiction? Would the need for services decrease? I do not know.

I do know as we head into the election, it is a discussion that needs to be had policy wise. Especially within a province in the midst of economic transition. It creates an uncertain space for many, where old industries are vanishing, new ones are coming in, cultural norms and economic norms are changing. It is a grief cycle our province is in, each of us at different points. Each point opens up a risk factor to addiction to null the pain, and if we place the onus on funding on those nulling agents, we are creating a cycle of pain that we may not escape from.

Ask questions. Discuss ideas. Think of all citizens. Create a province we can be proud of. Vote in 2019, not strategically but for what you value.