Posts Tagged ‘Vote’


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.

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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


I am not even going to pretend what I write is without bias. I know this. I was raised in Canada in a working-class family that was taught to give a damn about their neighbour. Pretty much the lens I bring to life, as a minister I read my gospel through the lens of the Charter, why? I was one of those pesky Social Gospellers dreaming a better world every minute of every day. I also hold an unwavering belief that people are mostly inherently good, and despite evidence to the contrary, will make the best decision they can possibly make in a given circumstance. It is the one that does not learn as they grow that stagnates.

Due to my wonky brain, it has been a while since I have been able to provide comment to some political happenings, with clarity comes a moment to provide some clarity so here goes:

  • Women’s March: Sad it still needs to happen, but looking at our world we know why it needs to happen until we have truly moved beyond this label to being true equals on our planet. Ideologue extremists on both sides remember that you have the right to express these views because your grandmas and further back took up the fight for equality, so let us always keep the eye on moving forward as one family, humanity, not on bickering, tearing down and regressing.
  • Jason Nixon, MLA and the Sexual Harassment bill (Google it, or even just check #ABLEG feed on twitter). I am not going to discourse on the ethics of whether a sexual harassment claimant should be fired, it is the 21st century and that discussion should be null (for those who believe it is not the answer is no they should not be fired). But where the ball was really dropped was in governance as the case could have created a bridge for discussion and better laws for all. This happened because there were loopholes, and what I have read pressure from a bigger corporation on a small business owner. The bill put forward was to close loopholes for the abused, BUT and this is where ideological pissing matches hurt all…there was an opportunity for the Official Opposition Party Leader to come prepared speaking from his own experience where wrong was done and wanting to ensure another company owner was not placed in this position by a larger corporation and in inter-provincial gray areas. These are the amendments proposed to aid all Albertans for a better, safer future. That did not happen (if it did and I will gladly publish them).
  • Summer Student Job form and Reproductive Rights clause. Ah more virtue signalling from extremists (Virtue Signalling a new term I learned from friends in the religious right attempting to show your piety). They want you to believe it is about being pro-abortion. Read the form, all government RFP’s are online and able to read the clauses. The short 3-4 sentences is a check box stating you will adhere to charter rights, gender rights, sexuality rights and reproductive rights. This was done for many things, one that has come to light is that extremists groups have been using government funds (anyone of my generation or older probably remember the W-5 expose when the Canadian government funded the Neo-Nazi movement on our shores—so do not want a redoux of that)…but more it shows the quickness to literalness:
    1. Laws and freedoms are written in such a way for interpretation, and many things have started by test cases being floated, norms being accepted (e.g. equal marriage, dying with dignity). But also modernization and fights from the brave like Dr. Morgentaller, made abortion de-criminalized and funded—which leads to it being include in charter rights under gender rights. BUT Reproductive rights are more than just abortion. This speaks to autonomous control of your body. It speaks to things like honouring the choice of birth control (contraceptive, external, rhythm); to have or not have children; and thanks to Alberta’s (and Canada’s) horrendous Eugenics history, not forcefully sterilizing persons with disabilities, as we have and had a history of doing.

It also speaks to a medical practitioner not being able to force their religious views upon you when it comes to treatment. If you as a man or a woman elects for a vasectomy, tubal ligation or hysterectomy regardless of age and whether you have kids or not, you should be able to access. To the other end, regardless of above mentioned if medically it would solve an issue the doctor should not be able to use your age, or whether you still want kids to stop you from choosing the treatment (e.g. hysterectomy) as an option instead of suffering for years with a medical condition.

Do not let literalism sidetrack and important conversation. And if you as a group truly feel reproductive rights is the hill you want to die on, take it to court as a charter challenge, I have a hunch there is a great machination for clear addition of this to the charter through praxis, and eventual Supreme Court Decision.

 

  • Saint Ralph Klein is an Albertan myth. Many are wanting to herald back to those “halcyon days” of yore. Yet I challenge you to speak with your grandparents and baby boomer parents about the state of their health care. The Klein Government in the mid-90’s pulled a fast one on our elders. Treated them with disregard and disrespect, removing excellent medical care, and then played a shell game to replace it (check out Kevin Taft’s Shredding the Public Interest for more on this) will a for pay Blue Cross and cost-share prescriptions. Each Premier and Health Minister since Klein has been complicit in this disregard for our elders (and yes NDP this includes your current government). Think of it, each generation that retires has added to the building up of our communities and social contract, they deserve the best. The message sent is poverty and stress is okay. Both of those we know are huge factors in worsening health. I call on Premier Notley and our Health Minister Hoffman to not only return our coverage for seniors’ health care to Pre-Klein levels, but exceed and renew this social contract with our Elders, for it is the right thing to do.

Finally, the greatest division I see happening within Canada is how easy we like to throw immigrants and refugees under the bus, and/or shelter users. Bullocks. For those that have settled the prairies before the prairie provinces were made, and shortly after remembering your family came here, went through settlement shelters where they were given education, money, health care, and land grants on the prairies for settlement. Our forebears knew we were all in this together and did not allow division based on religion or country of origin break them apart. They settled our provinces, grew prosperous together as Canadians. Let us keep building this dream together.

P.S. always remember political parties and ideological affiliations are perfunctory constructs, constitutionally the legislatures provincially and federally are to be elected bodies of independents working collaboratively to provide Peace, Order and Good Governance for Canadians. We have two elections coming up- 2019 provincially, and 2020 federally prepare to vote for the Alberta and Canada you want for yourself and your neighbour, but also stay engaged in between holding our elected officials to their role in governing in the best interest of the citizen.

How do you want your neighbour to treat you?

How do you treat your neighbour?


The Christmas season liturgically is 12 days that bring us to what is colloquially known as “Ukrainian Christmas” in January. It is one of the calendar discerning points between Orthodox and Roman Christianities (and the Protestant Christianities that spun out of the Roman Church). Liturgically this is the journey of what is commonly called the wise men, or like the old hymn, “We three kings”. Better translated the Magi, or magicians. The astrologers, the elder wisdom of the East brought to a creche in a manger in Jerusalem.

It is the story as brought to life in the writings of St. Matthew. Who is believed in tradition to be the tax collector Levi re-named Matthew (which means gift from God) by brother Jesus in his 3-year ministry before lynching by the powers that be. Written for an audience of Judea to understand the different Messiah. Not zealots but those open to the Kingdom idea of the way shown by Jesus. For even the traditions it is wrapped in, lay out a new path. Shattering of patriarchy control by listing women in the genealogy.

And showing the seditionist nature of the Herod family is seeking power even it means inflicting harm upon their own people. The Herod family maintained power as the puppet royals of Israel, much the way munitions manufacturers have made their billions and trillions in commerce—selling/working on both sides. That way guess what happens with whomever wins? You are in favour.

This is Herod that the Magi come to:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5”In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6’But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel’.”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you have found him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

-Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12

 

 

Think about it. Herod would lead a scourge and genocide of the masses. Their first born to silence an idea being born into the world that we are each others’ brothers and sisters. We are in this together. Together a new world can be birthed. Together society can be just. Together we can dream no little dream, but one where love rules.

This is where the Magi showed wisdom in not succumbing to the money, the power and/or the prestige that was Herod. They stood in their beliefs. They did not sell out what they held to be true to appease the money.

How often in our world have we created situations where money/power run roughshod over our beliefs? In employment? Church (me thinks annual general meetings and tithing?)…but even more, as we must remember the Gospel story is a declaration of political intent. Caesar used gospels to proclaim his program for the Empire. So the apostles/disciples were doing the same in proclaiming their gospel of Brother Jesus.

What more needs to be looked at? A story where governance exercises its power not to the benefit of the citizen but the detriment. In Canada we have worked hard to build a just society, yet ideological entrenchment over the past few decades has shook this for we cannot look for what is best for citizens, but are lost in the loop of attack/defend our ideologies. What happens in the interim?

As a nation of just about 34 million we cannot move into our constitution to discuss a new division of power that would allow for a stronger public health and public education system than the one now that has these resting in smaller provinces that moving them up to the federal level for a use of the buying clout of the federation as a whole.

It means smoke and mirrors so each ideology has used Employment Insurance as a surplus way to find monies, instead of being available to those who need it with ease. Y’know the unemployed and those who are on medical leave from work in an expeditated fashion before debt creates an untenable situation.

It is in the province of Alberta bureaucracies designed for AISH (Assured Income for the Severally Handicapped) and PDD that are designed to cull the lists, and protect expenditures on what is available by not using transparency so the least of these live within poverty or not even being able to qualify because the bureaucracy has a “prove you deserve this” mentality that goes beyond confirmation by doctors and specialists.

The same can be said Federally to the CPP-Disability plan.

And lets not forget fighting against the Protestant myth of the deserving poor used by Neo-Cons to strip Alberta Works (Social Services) from being proactive, to being in a state where it is hard to grow out of the poverty cycle you are in once on it.

Yet ideologies argue between the left and the right instead of the constitutional guarantee of Peace, Order and Good Governance. We argue over issues that can be summed up by sound bytes of 140 characters, not understanding that for every bill, for every tax there is a ripple effect in the pond we exist within.  Ideological wars that weary the citizen to a point of apathy that nothing can change so why fight the system, let dark money take root, don’t show up to vote, because no party will be better than any other.

Disengagement due to disgruntlement due to government putting corporate profits over citizen well-being.

Hmmm…or Herod putting his gold coffers over those of his people.

Rome putting absolute power, and taking care of the wealthy class over the masses.

And the Magi know where the baby is, that brings the message of transformative love, and they must make a choice. Will they give in to apathy as nothing will change and tell Herod? Or will they believe the pablum because the last bill took care of their class because they are not the “label” currently being ignored or not Twitter sexy?

No.

They chose to go accomplish what they must, and not serve up their neighbour to death at the hands of ideological madness. For their wisdom was simple and shown in the gifts they brought.

            We are one in humanity. We are in this together from birth to death.

  As you journey with the Magi this season, how will you answer the question Herod in caring for your neighbour?

            Will you let apathy reign?

            Wealth control?

            Or love and care of neighbour win?