Posts Tagged ‘Alberta Election 2015’

First off, yes as a pragmatic socialist I am still riding a bit of the euphoria of an NDP majority in the province that my whole life has been PC Blue. Love that Orange Crush.

No, bias aside, this is a question beyond the definitive tie of Calgary-Glenmore. It goes to the riding of Calgary Foothills and the “winning” candidate former Premier, former Progressive Conservative Party Leader and Former MLA for Calgary Foothills Jim Prentice.

I realize he resigned in the midst of the votes being finalized, and there needs to be a clear 48 hours before the vote for a candidate to be removed from a ballot. B-U-T…

It begs the question as folks in Calgary Foothills will have their THIRD vote in less than a year, at a quarter-million bucks…where is the accountability for those seeking public office? And where is the ethical jurisprudence for the voters who supported the now resigned winner? I state ethical, because technically what Mr. Prentice did was in the “legal” domain of legal/illegal.

The question in my mind is simply this: Did Mr. Prentice not commit fraud on the electorate by entering in a race to represent the people of Alberta and then deciding after the vote to resign?

If so, is there not civil recourse for the Alberta Government to get the monies to cover the by-election from the PC Party and/or Mr. Prentice?

Just questions to ponder, from a night on May 5, 2015 that produced many bizzarro happenings.


Boxtrolls was almost hidden within the late 2014 Fall releases to cinema, and has snuck out to the New Release racks at the end of January 2015. Now some may wonder what’s up with me and the kids movies, well a) I am a father, this was one of the presents my son got for his 9th birthday. b) When I built youth and children’s ministries I leveraged popular media to teach the kids.

Now at first Boxtrolls did not impress, we tried it as a family movie night at home, and it was probably due to running late but the kids lost interest. But then Family Movie Night at our Community Hall Restaurant showed it. And that’s when it shone and gripped the kids. Done in claymation (remember the California Raisins?) and stop motion capture it is the story of scavengers from under the town, trolls that live in boxes, and a child they raise.

But there is more to it, as there is existential arguments that surface for one to reflect on. The first being the powerful use of propaganda in shaping public’s opinion on morality, right and wrong, and how extreme measures need to be taken to remove what is viewed as holding a society back.

The next though is something for Canadians and Albertans to reflect on this year, as we head to elections: does the lust for power corrupt one absolutely? Note the difference from the normal Shakespearenism, it is not absolute power corrupting, but the lust for power. The lust for prestige and position.

For the motion for Snatcher to be able to begin exterminating boxtrolls, comes from political media spin on a “eaten” child, Eggs, from Tropshaw. Yet there is more, for Snatcher wants to mount this search for power to get a white hat and move into the elite inner circle of cheese samplers. Yes cheese, but wait, why is it a commentary on the lust for power? Simple, Snatcher is deathly allergic to cheese where his cronies need to use leeches to reduce the effect and save his life.

The other is the leader of the town, who is so in love with his position and power as the head white hat is not even sure if his own child matters more to him.

Great questions and contemplation about those in power, and those seeking power, what is their underlying reason and rationale for wanting it?

There are currents of redemption within the story, and of not judging a “boxtroll” by its cover, as well as what is true community about (inclusion of all) and how much healthier community is when all have their role to play in making it function.

For those keeners who want to watch the movie, stay posted for quite the existential post credit scene about the “giants” that make them move, and the visual of Unity with the One.

What movies have you seen recently that go beyond the surface to percolate deeper thoughts and conversations?

Ah with 29 MLA’s either resigning or running under a different party colour (thank you Wildrose Defection Fleet). And add to that the “needing a new mandate for the rough economic times ahead” jargon from Premier Prentice with the smoke & mirrors of a 5% Cabinet wage roll back, well…the air this end of winter is smelling like Election.

So it is time to shift gears in our conversations from those things under Federal Jurisdiction in the Constitution Act 1982, to those things under the auspices of the provinces. Within Alberta one of the major things is Schools. The lack of space, the “lottery” horror (c’mon I buy a house across the street from a school, I should be able to have my kids cross the road and go to that school), grading, curriculum, use/over use of technology, lack of schools, and general maintenance being on the decline as there is a shift from janitorial and cleaning to “sanitizing”.

Okay so the state is abysmal, and our lovely Education Minister Gordon Dirks won his seat in a by-election by promising his area to fast track schools, and that promise while the Ethics Commissioner cleared him of wrong doing has been back pedalled on.

So what do we know about Alberta schools funding?

Mostly through Casinos.

There is property tax where a home owner can declare Public or Seperate Board. From the Public monies public schools, charter schools and private schools (private schools receive 70% of their funding from taxes) are funded.

Thoughts are to maintain the status quo.

Move to a grade free system for marking or to move back to a more traditional school curriculum to ensure students learn the basics well, or a hybrid of something in the middle.

For funding, it does need to be funded properly, reliant on an overtaxed volunteer pool and economically strapped homes to continually fund raise is insanity. And this is my only statement on school fees: Unconstitutional.

As for bussing fees? This is only an issue because local public schools cannot handle local students. In the case of special needs students who have no choice on the school they attend it is a disgrace that families need to pay to transport.

Now as for governance of schools there are some things to think through and question candidates and parties on:

1) Should we elect school board trustees?

2) Local boards or mega boards?

3) Eliminate school boards all together and move to a streamlined administrator for each county/city that administers the budgets to local principals and empowers them and the PTA’s to deem hiring choices of staff, etc.

Now comes the touchy questions, what to do with our multiple school systems:

1) Do we strip public monies from private schools?

2) Do we continue to have both public and seperate schools? Charter Schools? Or for better use of monies do we have a plebiscite on merging these all into one streamlined public system?

Even if you do not have children, or yours have grown and left the system, our public education system a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and society. It is where children should learn to care for their community, a public school can become a soul of energy for a community, it is also, and yes this is a scary word, where children learn to value multi-culturalism, and become citizens with healthy and good values. Yes values, morals, ethics, things that aid in building a decent human being. When schools are healthy, and house holds are healthy, and they work together then our children flourish into adults that transform our society for the better.

Where do you stand with the School Question?

Yes this is another political post as we prep for the October 2015 Federal Election, and what most pundits here in Alberta are guessing to be a April 2015 provincial election. Now there has always been defections from elected officials parties, whether it is to sit as an independent, or life circumstances leading to an early resignation. The resignation will trigger a by-election usually mandated within 6 months of the seat being vacated.

In Alberta just before the end of 2014 the opposition was gutted with 13 Wildrose MLA’s crossing the floor to join the governing PC Party, one of the crossers had previously defected from the PC’s to the Wildrose. Prior to 2012 Liberal Leader Raj Sherman had crossed the floor from the PC’s.

Each time a defection or floor crossing happens there is righteous indignation, and choices made that the party they were elected under no longer fit their values. Which is fine.

The question as a voter that we need to raise is to remove the sting of the personal betrayal, remove the spin and actually open up a dialogue about what to do with an elected official who deems to leave the party they were elected in.

1) Status Quo can be held.

2) Allow a cooling off period where the elected official must serve out the remainder of the term as an independent then can seek nomination with whatever party they want to run under.

3) Automatically have a by-election triggered and treat the wanting to cross the floor as a resignation.

4) If there is a floor crossing, allow for recall legislation.

5) Your thoughts?

That is the key, what value do we place on the elected official as a person? As a party mascot? And what value do we place on the votes that placed them in the assembly?

These are questions to ask those running in your area and the party’s putting forward candidates. This election around, there is also the ballot commentary as you look at a floor crosser in your riding and decide if you agree with their new political home or not.