Posts Tagged ‘Alberta Party’


It is interesting to spend time with Kevin Taft’s new book, Oil’s Deep State, on the same week Dr. David Swann tables Bill 214 in the legislature to reign in the havoc wrecked by PACs on our democracy. For it is PAC’s in my hypothesis that continue the deep state, and create new pockets of control.

The book explores the journey of oil. It will define for you the difference between a Petrostate (when the companies create the state’s infrastructure) and a deep state (when the companies seize control of the democratic institutions- government, crown corporations, bureaucracies, media and academia). It is intriguing in the book that he touches on the shift that happens with deep state. That shift being from the resource belongs to the citizens, to the resource is an investment for business and governments need to get out of the business of being in business (the transformation of Lougheed’s citizens first approach, to the Klein Revolution).

As with any Taft work it is readable, much like a newspaper, well referenced, touches upon history and ties together the threads like a good mystery. It is a work that one can use to inform their understanding, or as many an investigative journalist will say to find the truth follow the money. And Taft did follow the money to lay out the capture of our collective good by the 1% with deep pockets. There is a look to a greener future, but also a frank look at the loss to the citizen on how much has been taken from the land and resources during this capture that lined other pockets while citizens suffered (just look to the state of education, health care and the good buzz term for Albertans, the Heritage Trust Fund) and I do not even want to open the subject of our crumbling nuts and bolts infrastructure, the high debt load carried by the average Albertan simply to keep up to the affordability of life.

It is interesting to have read this work while following the Alberta Liberal feed spear headed by grass roots, vocalized by their leader David Khan (current by-election candidate in Calgary Lougheed) and the actual legislation tabled by the party’s only sitting MLA.  Now many will say will this make a difference with one person doing this. To those I point out Laurie Blakemen’s bill on GSA’s.  Every so often there is a spark lit by opposition.  When well thought out, researched and presented creates an ember. This is an ember that all parties need to get behind to fan into flames of change for our democracy.

The Deep State of big money running our politics needs to change in Alberta (and Canada). The PAC bill is but one step, I have written previously about other steps that can be taken. Remember citizens, we are guaranteed peace, order and good governance in our nation by our Constitution Act 1982. The regulation (and hopeful removal) of PAC’s is a starting pointing of reversing the capture and deep state.

Other things need to happen, but I encourage you to contact your local MLA and/or sign the petition here to press them to support Dr. Swann’s bill. Let’s continue positive change in our province, let us show that Albertans matter by showing that we want to have our voice back in our democracy.

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“You have an overinflated sense of responsibility for others”

            -Dix, Psychologist (Jesse Stone series)

            I have been journeying through neurologically triggered PTSD. Let me tell you it is not a fun set of events to relive the negative of one’s life. This journey is not about bragging or self-aggrandizement. It is for the 99.9% of times my brain reboots and says you have not made a difference in the little corner of your world, I have a critically laid out path to go maybe I did, maybe I didn’t but damn it brains the heart knows I tried.  Hence the walk through the idea of how many times experts/elites, whom we have defaulted to have told me not to bother, or I am wrong and my stubborn streak has gone in the vernacular of my redneck roots, “hold my beer bud and watch this.”

I point out the default to “elites/experts” because it is the shift society has made to the idea of quantitative data only, and zero-based budgeting which makes every person, every story something that must be quantified by a statistical number and/or cash pay out. Essentially a new way of doing the old pedagogy of worthy poor, worthy citizen for aid or elevation. Which I am sorry, if you enter the trenches, bash the knuckles, bloody the soul, wipe the tears away, hold the hand of the dying, cradle the body in the last gasps of the death rattle, these are things that you will always question.

            Why?

Simple, we as people are not a statistical number, we are not a label. Our worth does not come from what we cost or save the system. Our worth comes from something very simple. Being human. Our worth is inherent because of whom we are, a human being regardless of whether it is a spiritual, religious or scientific path that brings you to that understanding.

How does that change the lens you view things through? Who are your experts/elites? Your gurus? Are they coaches? Clerics? Scientists? Ideologues? Celebrities? Who do you allow to shape your world view? Why do you allow them to shape your world view? The Stanford Experiments tried to prove why the horror of Nazism happened, and the outcome was the default for the human being to believe the man in the white coat. The expert or the elite. The one that has power. Sadly, nothing has changed except whom we give the power in our lives. We forget that behind every “white coat” there is a grass roots movement of support that has bestowed that power on them and can strip it away if we default back to the total truth that worth is inherent and we as a species are in this together interconnected through an eco-system of beautiful mystery.

My words of the struggle for a better world dreamed are throughout this site, with the oldest being found in the archives and through these meanderings you can see how even after decades simple battles for inclusion are still being battled. 31 years of my life have been given to this journey, and looking to enter the second decade of my 2/3 of life, I know the journey will continue. But it is a journey where story of the quest needs to re-emerge, where we as societies need to move beyond balance sheets, labels and metrics to understanding what/who is our neighbour. So what follows is some simple musings of issues facing us as a community:

“Don’t call me a saint, I do not want to be so easily dismissed.”

-Dorothy Day, Founder Catholic Worker’s Movement, Single Mum

 

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I encourage you to buy Warren Kinsella’s first fiction work Recipe for Hate, based around true events in the Neo-Nazi-Punk world, for those more of the non-fiction type his seminal work Web of Hate on Canada’s neo-nazi movement in Canada (it inspired me int he `90’s to fight the good fight, and take stands against elites/experts that yes this was a necessary battle)…and why this hit me is seeing the fact that my own hood actually had to have an anti-racist walk yesterday…thank you for those that turned out (my heart was willing–the body and brain decided it was a no sadly)…we are the northeast, we are the world in a few city blocks, we are better than hate, because we know what it means to love your neighbour and be neighbourly. End sermon

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I also encourage reflection for those ideological entrenched on recent Canadian political history as we prepare to repeat in Alberta. In the early 2000’s the PC Canada party was taken over by the Reform-Alliance in media mirrors of a merger vote that saw Red Tories left politically homeless. Some would say it was successful as the Harper Cons eventually won power with their first minority government in February 2006. But just reflect on that for a moment for a party trying to root out corruption, and build inclusion with our First Nations through the Kelowna Accord, lost to a party that sided with the separatists to shut down parliament and strip Canadians of our Constitutional right of Peace, Order and Good Governance. No one else may realize how it will be written by the historians, but also, I do still firmly believe Minority Parliaments are the healthiest forms of governance for our country for it forces the politicians out of ideological blinders to truly what is best for the citizens.

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The fight over Harm Reduction versus abstinence in addiction treatment is just one of the false dichotomies we attempt to foist upon the public. Each treatment resonates with certain individuals (I can just hear the Twitter-soundbite politicos gasp) for it is about understanding the person in front of you and what works for them to be healthy.

It also moves into the idea that triage/silo health care does not always work. The human being is a holistic microcosm that does need to be treated as such. Yes, some things need to be prioritized within medical treatment, but somethings are interdependent, intertwined, co-dependent or simply co-existing. Ala addiction—the use of substance or behaviour creates the label, what causes it is rooted deeper whether you cease or stop the behaviour the actual cause whether emotional, physiological, neurological, etc (or all of the above) needs to be treated or we are setting the neighbour up for failure.

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Housing. Our nation needs a strategy, I know several federal parties at certain points have had policies (as I have been part of writing groups for these parties). Yet what is missing is the fundamental of Housing First principle 1: Consumer choice. (or better yet, citizen choice). It needs to be a policy and action that looks at affordable spectrums of home ownership (types of homes-house, condo, mobile) to apartments to lodges without age restrictions to group homes to supportive housing to hotels (yes hotels, many of the chronically homeless have come to shelters because they lived in hotels that closed down, where some money could have seen these places brought up to code, and some extra monies to the owners could have curbed settling in of unsavoury elements) to name but a few. Also, the idea of rooming houses ran by seniors is also something to be looked at, or on-site living in convents/monastic communities, or in shops/warehouses, mini houses…secondary suites, laneway housing, converted garages, the list goes on and on.

Yet it takes a citizen will to force politicians to challenge city planning back to a community and citizen focus and away from money politics.

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In the case of Health Care especially in Alberta we tend to forget that we were governed by a party set on Privatization (breaking the Health Act) through the Third Way that essentially created a system for failure, never forget history or we are doomed to repeat it. On an aside stating you never voted PC, or never voted does not remove your complicity from the state of our province now, for we are all citizens that allowed a party to run our province. Whether it is oil, health care, AB works or other social safety nets, are designed for those moments in life when you need them, not for when you do not. What we have done as a society is create a shame based system so those in need avoid and costs sky rocket for the person literally comes to the precipice of disaster before access and then is in a full cycle that is harder to get out of. And yes I was forced out of a job by taking a stance publicly for universal health care.

I still firmly believe active eugenics may have stopped in Alberta, but seeing how easily the Calgary Board of Education can blame special needs students for budget short falls, how hard it is to access AISH or lack of mental health supports, that passive eugenics is still practice.

And let us not forget the closure of the horrid institutions that if proper protocol was followed would have seen transition of those folks to proper home, group home or smaller care home placements in the community…but instead say nothing but shelter beds…because…eliminating the debt.

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Calgary City Hall is looking to cut preventative programs for at risk youth and seniors while continuing the shadowy no firm numbers exploration of an Olympic bid. Makes you wonder where following the money trail would take you? Also makes you wonder in a generation with these policies how our city will be judged by the way we have treated our young and elders?

Yet this is not new practice at City Hall, for when the Child Sex trade exploded in our city in the mid-90’s what the response was—cover up, cutting vice unit budgets… hmmm…. Lip service, not actions. My high school law teacher asking me when presented with the facts about the child sex trade saying the assignment was to show what is controversial about it? My response led me to being kicked from class that day when I simply stated, “the only wanker that can’t see the controversy based on the facts is the one that goes to the pizza parlour back room in our hood and asks for the child.”

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Political party vetting when I ran in 2006 that saw the questioner unable to comprehend how I could be pro-choice on abortion without using the buzzwords. Yes I believe in a woman’s control over their own body, yes I believe in the family, and I believe we need to build a world in which every child conceived should be wanted and until that happens then this needs to be free and open to all who desire, need or want.

I also believe that the government needs to invest in a system or pre- and post- procedure counselling and healing of the holistic person. I believe we need a freer adoption service. I also believe the pre- and post-procedure aid needs to be open to the one that gave the egg, the one that gave the sperm, and those that may be affected by the ripples within the family.

But I will never say I am anti-abortion for. Yes, this is after coming from a position where an ex who was so lost in addiction made the choice to abort and her only rationale was to inflict pain on me who chose to not come second to a chemical.

I also firmly state I am pro-life with dignity. Which is why I so easily can stand and argue that medically assisted death is a necessity within our system so human life is one with dignity, for it I would not let my fur baby suffer in such a way, why would I let my loved one.

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The continual move away from city accessibility. In Calgary our at home garbage/recycle/compost system is designed for new communities with attached garages, and condos. Yet also falls short in understanding challenges of constantly carrying out buckets of compost in established neighbourhoods. The reduction in garbage pick up removing dignity of the person for those with continence challenges as their garbage output is not reduced but now the overflow is on view for the whole of their neighbours to see.

Yet with some thought, and work at a provincial wide level perhaps we could expand the recycle from house program, thus truly reducing garbage so the bi-weekly pick up can work. The expansion could shift as other provinces have done so the monies from recyclables pay for the program, thus  reducing costs to citizens. Then expand to multi-unit dwellings so it becomes cost neutral so this type of bylaw does not increase rents.

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That at the end of World War 2 my Great-Granddad Lewis who was a veteran of both wars battled for the Commonwealth to care for its veterans appropriately, and during my tenure in the world I have fought the same battle in the 21st century. This is a staunch reminder, war needs to be the last resort, and one that we enter into realizing that we need to be prepared to care for those that give some, and those that give all…also this needs to carry through to those we send out to peace keep for they enter the hell mouth as well.

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Look to the Alberta Government looking at removing age restrictions on housing stating it is a human rights issue. The realization is not understanding the complexity of the issue when it comes to congregate (condo/apartment living).

At the very least, if a person or couple have moved to a building believing it is kid free, and they chose to live there because of this a new family that moves in you are setting them up for harassment and complaints. A situation that may only end with one side or the other being evicted. Sadly, an eviction for whatever reason creates an issue on re-housing.

At the worst, you are setting up a place for predators. Sadly, those that abuse children and prey on them do not spend their life in jail. Upon release, they need to be housed, with this new legislation you are removing a housing option that keeps our communities’ safe…yet…

It is also short sighted, in that there are also many folks with the psychological predilection for children (due to trauma or neurology) that choose to work with Alberta Health to keep themselves and others safe. Using pharmaceuticals and other therapies, but also building a life that keeps them away from children as much as possible. Now comes this new bill…and…

Sound bites and twitter politics over critical thought of the best of the whole.

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That over 20 years after I got my knuckles bloody defending my op-ed piece in the Calgary Sun over a person’s right to love and marry whom they choose (and multiple thousand death threats) …both our governing and Loyal Opposition parties still distract by fighting this battle over again thus distracting from more core issues. (yes, for those doing the math, my 18th birthday was when the editorial I wrote in support of marriage equality came out). Why did I write this? I remember sitting with my Nan, when US President Bill Clinton announced he was against it, and her tears and simple statement that maybe if our world were more accepting and Christian as Jesus taught her lovely cousin would not have taken his life. So I took a stand, and took the lumps that came with it.

I am going to be blunt, when it came to clubs I was a part of in public school, the only time my parents needed to be contacted was when we were leaving the school so both sides were creating news and not holding true to the sanctity of learning, growth and discovery of the child. The only time parents were contacted about school behaviours were when they put myself or another at risk.

For those that try to blind with extremism, ideology or religion, let the war bride’s words ring in your ears. If our world was more Christian…love would win, and whom you love would not matter.

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The constant reminder that user fees are a flat tax on the working and poverty classes. A reminder that when political parties speak of the middle class, it is an innocuous term used to gain votes, but pragmatically roles out to households making over 100K a year, thus not the average Canadian.

A reminder that our natural resources do not belong to companies or politicians but to the citizens and need to be leveraged for OUR benefit above all else. That our Constitution Act 1982 does need to be re-opened, a social charter that was originally removed at the behest of Lougheed needs to be reinserted, and the division of powers in Section 91 & 92 needs to be looked at for the reality of Canada in a globalized world and things like Health Care and Education need to be in Federal jurisdiction as we are stabilized at about 30ish million people.

We need to take a serious look at the abolish of the reserve system and either incorporating into the Constitution territories of provinces for First Nations depending on population size (ala Nunavut).

We also need to realize that we only get the representation we are entitle to as Canadians, when we realize the local representative should hold the power of the vote. Party whips and Cult Leader politics are the Americanizing of our democracy to our detriment. As well, for it to work properly the elections acts need to be amended so the candidate needs to live in the electoral district at whichever level it is defined; PACS, union and corporate donations are abolished. Actually, all donations are. Each candidate must attend a set number of debates, public media must carry local candidate ads, interviews and discourses so that the public can be informed. If we really want a throw back perhaps the UFA system should be implemented in which a leader is not elected until all MP’s or MLA’s are elected (like the Constitution dictates) …but let’s take some giant baby steps first. Once the system functions the way it is laid out to, then we can look beyond a first past the post system to other voting systems.

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These thoughts continue to crop in my mind like I said as I look back on a life of work to try and build a new world, then the reboot hits and the brain lies to the heart stating that it has all been for nought.

On the grand scale still seeing the pain that exists within our world, yes it may appear as failure. Yet the failure is in stopping to raise the issue that we are all in this together.

These are musings that rest on my heart and are leading me to another pragmatic spiritual work as I look back on history of the sector I have worked in. If one spends time with the writings of J.S. Woodsworth and how his shelter functioned in Winnipeg at the turn of the 20th century, and then look at our system today you can come to a simple conclusion, all that has changed is our mats are thicker. 100+ years on, what needs to change?

We still haven’t answered the core question of his work, for we still look at the person in need, in pain, in sickness, in jail and in our homes, communities’ and lives.

The central question?

The one I have spent a life attempting to unpack, and will be the focus of my next pragmatic memoir?

Who is My Neighbour?

JS


It is official, the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta have a betrothal agreement.  I am going to avoid soap boxing about allusions to the McKay-Harper merger fiasco federally that put centrists out of the party structure and those not wanting the merger unable to vote. Even though under 60% of eligible voters for each party (55-PC; 57ish-WRP) voted to give the 95% YES for both parties (and ignoring the WRP PIN issuing issues).

But the membership that did vote, much like any election the citizens that did vote, carry the mandate and form the government–or in this case the new party.

Yes it does alter the landscape politically whether or not one wants to admit it. Much like the fall of the 44 year dynasty (though I stretch that conservative control back further to Ernest Manning’s So-Creds after Aberhart’s transition, but very few historians back my opinion) fell to Rachel Notley’s NDP. We are 2ish years into a 4 year mandate for what could be another dynasty, a transitional pivot, or a course correction for Albertans where we allow our compassion, rationality and pragmatism to enter fully into our voting so we no longer elect dynasties (minority government anyone? Just for a few terms to correct much of the muck that is our money eating bureaucracy?).

But is the UCP the utopia that will accomplish this? One cannot say as they are a vote tally, and a name. What is being seen, much like the federal vote of merger is an exodus by Red Tories seeking a new political home–this federally gave bumps to Greens, Liberals and NDP, but also the formation of smaller parties like the Progressive Canadian Party as these centrists searched for political home.

That is the story of Alberta currently. The Alberta NDP is calling on them to take out a membership, so is the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberal Party (just look at the Centre Together movement that meets in Red Deer).  There is an open call, and a caution. Slow down when seeking the new home, or the first home. Really explore all options on the table. Contemplate, meet your local associations and members (for it is not just policy, but those members in your area you will be a apart of)…and simply see where you fit?  It may surprise you.  Also remember a strong party regardless of size allows members to speak into all aspects, and craft the policies that shape the party.

The landscape is re-shaping in Alberta. It is our time as Albertans to put out there we no longer want decisions made by blind ideology, rather we want solid Peace, Order and Good Governance that has citizens, not PACS-lobbyists or politicians, best interests at heart.

Begin your party search here (for those with websites simply click on the name, otherwise office contact is listed):

Alberta First Party:

Alberta Liberal Party

Alberta New Democratic Party

Alberta Party

Communist Party Alberta

Green Party of Alberta

Pro-Life Alberta Political Association (Formerly Social Credit)

United Conservative Party (UCP-PCAA & UCP-WRP)

Reform Party of Alberta

I also encourage you to keep your ears open for local Independent candidates in your riding that you resonate with to support. For every voice in the legislature matters for crafting the best social contract.

…We’re practical and generous and open and bold. We want responsible and accountable spending. At the same time we’re willing to pay fair value for efficient and effective government services, but we want to know each and every dollar is put to good use…

-Greg Clark, Alberta Party Leader excerpt from Facebook Post July 22, 2017


The following is an e-mail that was sent out to parents of students in the Calgary Board of Education. It is there response to Bill 1- A Reduction in School Fees. Please note my pithy, yet thought out response will follow in bold italics. Also note that it is an organization using tried and true status quo methods of deflection in Alberta—when in doubt blame another level of governance for you inability to actually serve those you are charged to serve. As many have noted government is neither business nor non (not) for profit but a hybrid with a dash of exceptional. For far too long in Alberta we have settled for mediocre, and as the School Board Trustee elections approach in October 2017 I implore all Calgarians to vote for anyone but the incumbents for the future of our kids.

Now without further ado, their status quo deflection:

Update on Fees and Transportation for 2017-18

 

Dear Parents/Guardians

On Thursday March 2, the Provincial Government introduced Bill 1 – An Act to Reduce School Fees. This legislation will impact transportation service levels and fees for CBE families beginning this fall.

As directed by Alberta Education, on March 3, 2017 the CBE forwarded a letter from the Minister outlining some details about changes to transportation. At that time he wrote:

“Bill 1, if passed, will also remove bus fees for eligible students traveling to their designated school. That means that if your child attends his or her designated school and that school is more than 2.4 kilometres away from your home, you will not be charged transportation fees. In some circumstances – for example, if parents choose to enrol their child in a school other than their designated school – fees may still be incurred.”

We still have many questions about this legislation. We are working with the government to seek clarification and work through the details.

Until we better understand the impacts on fees and service levels for our families, transportation pre-registration for the 2017-18 school year cannot begin. We had planned to begin in late April. However, with the introduction of Bill 1 this process will be delayed. Early registration helps us plan our routes more efficiently resulting in fewer changes in the fall. It also allows us to share more accurate route information with our families sooner.

We know this timing may be challenging for our families. During our engagement last year families clearly stated they wanted information on transportation – including service levels, stop locations and timing – as early as possible to begin planning for the next school year. We will do our best to provide information on routes as quickly as possible.

We are also seeking clarification on instructional supplies or materials (ISM) fees. We need to understand if this includes bulk purchase of schools supplies for students in grades K-6.

We will continue to update you once we have more specific details about Bill 1 and what it will mean for CBE families.

 

My Response from my FB status April 7, 2017:

So CBE multi-million dollar organization is told to start doing their work within the grounds of the constitution, and they e-mail parents pleading poverty essentially, and that services may be cut to the kids—- hmmm… or do what responsible service providers do and look where cuts can actually happen– that is between budget disbursement and kids, look at the bureaucracy, the pay of CBE trustees, and quit threatening the educational mechanism on the front lines. Do not tell us you cannot start taking registration for busing, plan routes, or are unclear on being able to purchase supplies for our kids. Oh and did you remember this year to collect all tax money from the city? Bill 1 is not the enemy, Bill 1-an act to reduce school fees– is actually making life affordable for families, now do what you were elected to do and provide quality education, safe transportation for our kids.

P.S. The Bus Fee controversy is the CBE finally being called out on the smoke & mirrors they did a few years back to punish Special Needs kids and families. We never have a say in where our kids go to school, the CBE designates based on support structures (which makes sense). For this we paid a reduced rate. Parents of typically developing kids got uppity, but instead of working towards what the government has now imposed, short-sighted “fairness” un-advocates accepted raising bus rates for special needs kids, to the typically developing kids rates.

Now if you send your child to an non-designated school that is your choice, and yes you should pay for buses. But if the school, regardless of child, is designated and requires to be bused, I agree with the Ministry of Education, there should be no charge.

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Ah I love to reflect on some of the greatest things Canada has ever done. And it was repatriated away from Britain to us in 1982. The Constitution Act 1982 (an update on the British North America Act 1867 which made us a nation), and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This is not a digression in the loss of the social charter that was spear headed by then Alberta PC Premier Lougheed. No, it is a reflection on what was accomplished, and for those who are more fluent in the American Bill of Rights, for Canadians what is the key differences. I also always encourage one to read both documents that are the foundation of Canada’s systems.

The act opens:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

One little word, God. But it is not a Judeo-Christian God, it is an anglicized affirmation of the creative force no matter how it is defined. For the charter this leads into, when one dives into the archives had all sectors of society speaking into it including and not limited to: First Nations, Churches, other religions, politicians, and justice.

It opens up the fundamental freedoms section:

Fundamental freedoms

 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

  • (d) freedom of association.

There are freedoms spoken of, but notice that under (b) it is not speech, but rather expression. Each fundamental freedom flows into the other, and ties not into just simply an individual’s rights, but rights as they exist in the collective communities, the villages that make up Canada. The nations as well, as you go through the other rights you will note we are not about independent singular lives knowing that actions do not have ripple effects in the pond.

Much like how the nation grew, interdependence in spite of labels. Unity within our diversity (a mosaic) is what this reflects. The charter in 1982 was the culmination of work that began in Red River rebellion under the leadership of Louis Riel in 1869 displayed the first human rights bill, which was built upon under Douglas’ Saskatchewan Government, and also federally with Diefenbaker in 1960. But all these bills came out of a sense of community solidarity.

Not just the words on the paper, but the context, the intent…and sadly that is what has been missing a lot in public discourse in my nation. We gravitated to a simpler black and white system without realizing our nation has never been black and white. First Nations, English, and Francophone. Later saw Scottish and Irish fleeing English colonialism coming to Canada; loyalists from the US. Nordic country settlers into the prairies… to the 20th century and 21st century with refugees and new Canadians of all stripes.

Our identity has been forged in our differences. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY the unity of one nation, under one law of collective rights, for the collective good. Essentially our rights exist up to the point they cause harm to the other, and then we work to welcome the differences of the other into our national fabric to make us better.

For the story of Canada is not one of revolution. It is not a story of religious battles. There are gruesome histories that need to be spoken about in truth, and in reconciliation to move forward from. But as a nation, we have always been driven by answering two questions, since the Skralings rescued the Vikings in Newfoundland…

Who is My neighbour?

And what does it mean to build a community together?

2017 we vote for City Councils and village/town leaderships in Alberta.

2019 is a federal election that currently has two parties searching for identity and leadership.

2020 in Alberta is another election where change can happen for the better.

But it is time as citizens to learn from our neighbours to the south, and what happens when you forget what made you as a people. Not the labels that divide, but what ties you together. No more into a mirror darkly.

2015 the best part of Justin Trudeau was he raised political discourse out of muck racking to a positive spin. Now though is our time to demand better. It is our time to demand political leaders running cast more than management cycles, budget sheets and sprockets–the things the bureaucracy is designed to handle.

Now is the time to demand actual leadership from each riding, from each person running, on their personal level, what is their vision for their village in the collection of villages? We want electoral reform, let’s send visionaries to Ottawa, Edmonton and City councils…not managers. Let’s elect those with heart and passion. Those that understand our national foundation within the Constitution and Charter of Rights & Freedoms.

For these beautiful documents speak to a guarantee the engaged citizens of Canada can hold to, and that is quite beautiful and simple:

Peace, Order and Good Governance.

Let’s dream no little dream. Let’s dream what is possible, and hold ourselves and our leaders to what we said we deserved.

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This is an open letter to the Minister of Education David Eggen, and to the Calgary Board of Education from a father of a special needs child.

This is not a letter focused on the unconstitutionality of school fees; or the ridiculousness and injustness of paying busing fees when a coding system makes my son a number, and I have no choice where to send him because his local school cannot support him, although those are pieces of a system not seeing a full child.

This is from a father grieving with his young son over the loss of a best bud. Think of when you were in elementary school and your partner in shenanigans and adventures? Now think back to what would happen if they died?

What happens in the CBE special needs world?

A form letter home to parents and then nothing. You as a parent are left to tell your child that their friend will no longer be in school, or coming over.

What I know in the typically developing stream of public schools a death of a classmate, a school shooting would result in deployment of grief counsellors to support staff and students in the process moving forward.

But, the special needs world it is crickets we are met with. Silence, not even personal phone calls to the actual classmates families (c’mon you are looking at classes of smaller than 14); and then staff who are suffering in an abnormality of a child not out living their parents, and expected to still do their jobs same day and moving forward.

Speak of trauma? When the response is: well death is a normal part of this community. Pardon my language but Bollocks. This is about kids, pure and simple, that are there one day, and gone the next never to come back, and adults and students left to process or not process.

So this is one father’s plea. Please quit reducing my child to not a full person, he hurts, he cries, he can use support. When any child (regardless of coding) passes away in the school system, please please please, bring the resources around that community to heal and move forward. So staff, students, and in case of financial stresses, parents–can access on site support to help them grieve and heal healthily.

Because silence just perpetuates silence and silence is pain, and yes silence is neglect, and silence can be abuse.

We are better than this.

Thank you.

Sincerely

One Father who has shed far to many tears with his son for such a short life time.


This week politico’s acted shocked that MLA Sandra Jansen left the PC Party of Alberta after documented harassment and bullying at the hands of the social conservative sect within the leadership race. Now why would it come as a shock? The party leadership did not contact, or step up right away to correct or expel the aggressors, but like many institutions just left the victim to twist in the wind.

The fact she crossed the floor should not come as a shock. It is allowed in our parliamentary system, the ethics of it can be argued until all sides are blue in the face. Yes technically the voter voted for Jansen under one party colour, but this is the gift of the parliamentary system, there are three choices to be taken into account when you cast the ballot: the local candidate; the party platform and then the party leader. Yet the system is designed that it comes down to the choice of the local candidate. In our province’s history this was never more truly highlighted than with the United Farmers Governments, that did not have party leaders. Each local candidate was elected, then those elected chose who would be premier (actually much how the constitution lays out this functionality not how the practice has emerged).

So is it shocking one who has no defense, no support, being abused has chosen to leave? No. Is it surprising that in my province, there are those who are victim blaming? Sadly no, I wish that answer could be different. We are working to create a new culture.

The shock could be that she left a big tent party, to go to an on paper socialist party, yet she was a Red Tory. So by crossing the floor, she has brought her constituents voice into the government caucus which is a win.

Yet it leaves us pondering the other two big ten party’s on Alberta’s political map, that may have tried and failed to woo, or never wooed. But the Alberta Party and Alberta Liberals were unable to secure her.

Of those two, this weekend’s Alberta Party Conference #CentreTogether is showing the best practice for uniting Albertans of all political stripes under a best practice banner driven by bringing all voices to the table. Hopefully it works, because what the PC Leadership race, the Wildrose responses on twitter by MLA’s such as Fildebrandt, and even the myopic ideology within the current government (New taxes not necessarily bad, carbon tax where 90% of Albertans will need to receive a subsidy to pay or exemption is simply bad policy) …something new needs to emerge.

This floor crossing opens up the conversation from zero based budgeting, pragmatic management at the political level, to truly what we need from our leaders: Vision casting.

What is the Alberta that will emerge through all this? What vision will these parties cast heading into an election in 3 years? Will we still be bickering over this tax or that tax? Will we be bickering about where to cut?

OR will a citizens voice come forward that speaks of equality, justice, support, and a provincial home that allows all to thrive through their given aspirations and talents? A home that is affordable for all?

Can this be the voice that emerges from #CentreTogether?

Are we going to continue to allow ideologies to separate us from our Albertan and Canadian narrative of different pieces of the puzzle together to create the full picture of our just society?

Can this be the lesson learned from one MLA willing to take a stand against old boy backroom B.S. and show where the bridges exist instead of the walls?

Only time will tell…but as an Albertan, I have hope.