Posts Tagged ‘Driving’


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.Ā  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.