I will support our Wildrose MLA Wayne Anderson when he does something right, such as his demanding better of the DRP program this past Monday.
But I will not support him when his comments jeopardize our constituency’s chance at being heard by the government.
Such is the case when he told Albertans in Highwood that the NDP are socialists with no business sense. He seemed proud enough of that comment to single it out and share it widely on Facebook.
Firstly, to suggest the NDP have no business experience is ludicrous. 10 MLAs have business backgrounds either as entrepreneurs or as economic advisors and experts. That is if you don’t include lawyers, who may or may not run their own businesses as well, at which point that number would be much higher.
Secondly, the NDP are democratic socialists. There is a significant distinction between that and socialism, and that distinction is the ballot box. Alberta elected a government whose principles of social equality and fiscal equality are paramount. To use the word “socialists” as a dirty word is to say you dislike equality, just as to say “capitalists” as a dirty word is to say you dislike getting what you earn. Personally, I believe in the term “equity”, where you get what you earn, but the system isn’t set up in such a way as to prevent people from having that chance at earning.
But I digress with this oversimplification. The point is that if you are planning on using terms in a derogatory fashion, expect to be shut out of conversations.
And that is where my biggest beef with Mr. Anderson is. By discounting the business experience the NDP have, and derogating the NDP, he risks being ignored by the governing majority NDP for his lack of interest in elevating the level of discourse. He lives up to the moniker “Team Angry”, and will likely be ignored. That’s a problem for Highwood.
Another assertion Anderson put forward was that the NDP did not campaign on economic diversification, and that too is inaccurate. That campaign pledge was number 1.4 in their platform, although the pledge may have been implemented a mite early (they said they’d wait for economic recovery first).
Anderson is right about one thing; the job creation tax credit won’t help those who won’t be able to afford to keep those employees once hired. Further, why wouldn’t I fire someone, change the job title of the vacant position, and rehire them just to get that tax credit? There has to be a better solution.
But that idea will be lost on the NDP. They won’t bother listening to someone who does the equivalent of calling them “damn dirty socialists”.
Insert my support of the Alberta Party, but for those of you who find I’m too prone to Alberta Party rhetoric, I promise to be just as critical this time, so stick with me.
Greg Clark, Alberta Party Leader and MLA in Calgary-Elbow, has shown that he can work with the NDP government. His solutions provide alternatives without derogation. He offered a report card in advance of the budget release, marked the budget, and then offered a solution tabling it yesterday. It is my expectation that if anyone is willing to listen to alternatives, the alternative offered as a collaborative opportunity will be the one listened to.
No other opposition party has done that. With Anderson’s comments, I don’t expect that even if the Wildrose offer an alternative, anybody in the NDP will listen to it.
Now is Clark’s budget perfect? If I use his own report card on the budget, his gets a C+, and seeing as he gave the NDP budget a C- (with which I concur), that is a minor improvement. Chances are, had he opted not for brevity and provided the details behind his choices, he would have had a far higher grade. For details on the differences, see my version of his report card here.
Hang on, didn’t I run as an Alberta Party candidate? Why would I not automatically give the Alberta Party’s budget an Grade A rating?
Like other Alberta Party members, I believe in doing politics differently. I believe in MLAs representing their constituencies first. Greg Clark is doing the same, placing focus on the flood mitigations to Calgary’s benefit, and that should be expected of him. He made a report card based on Calgary-Elbow’s needs first and Alberta Party principles second. My mark is critical because I demand more for Highwood.
I also know Clark isn’t going to hold it against me, or whip me into a party line, simply for the very fact that amenable and constructive dissention IS the party line. It’s how the conversation gets elevated. We, as Alberta Partiers, don’t get angry. We get collaborative.
But you better believe I’ll be upset with someone if they prevent Highwood’s interests from being represented properly. Hopefully Mr. Anderson will be able to rectify it and kindle a working relationship with our government to the benefit of our constituency.
If not, there’s always 2019.
The other day, Education Minister David Eggen announced a number of school construction projects will be delayed. 101 to be exact. What immediately ensued was a blame game between NDP and PCs, but what locals need to know is that there is a silver lining.
Among those delayed projects is the proposed Aldersyde high school project.
Yes, I'm happy a school construction project in my area has been delayed.
This extra time will give the Foothills School Division an opportunity to take a step back and re-engage with the public from the ground up. They have come under fire by parents, community members, and myself for not having allowed serious consideration of the location on the Wedderburn lands on the northeast corner of the Town of Okotoks. Now that the school project is delayed, and not expected to be completed until 2018, they have time to really look at that properly.
Parents want that. Community needs it. And above all, it's best for Okotoks' students.
I am concerned that there is an aura of "we're going to tell you how it is" coming from the Foothills School Division. So naturally I'm going to follow up with my buddy the Education Minister to remind him of the issues, and ask that he give the Foothills School Division the gentle nudge it needs to re-engage with its stakeholders. We should be working together, and the back-and-forth through the media has been divisive.
If, after those consultations, it still makes sense to build in Aldersyde, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, "make it so". I highly doubt that, but the purpose of consultations is to consider all options based upon their merits. At the end of each criteria used to justify the school division's choice must be the question "is this really the best for the students?" If it is, energize.
As a side-note, the blame game between NDP and PCs is disappointing and entirely beside the point. It shouldn't matter who caused it. Tell me your solutions. So far the only solution comes from the NDP saying something to the tune of "we need to fix the processes". But the PCs seem to be quite happy shouting "I didn't do it" over the radio stations through their current interim mouthpiece Ric McIver.
First of all, Albertans aren't stupid. They saw the delays with the southeast leg of Stoney Trail in Calgary. The saw the delays with the twinning of Highway 63. They saw the delays in the deliveries of portables to schools after the 2013 Flood. They heard the PC's announcements short months before an election adding to the school construction project list to bring it to a total of more than 230 projects. In each case announcements came with absolutely no possibility of completion on time. It became commonplace to expect when a construction project was announced and a timeline given, that some contractor would come up with some ludicrous way of saying they can meet the timeline, only to be delayed. Albertans were so used to it, they would add on an extra 6 months to any announced timeline because they knew it was going to be delayed anyway. Albertans aren't stupid, they weren't buying it then, they aren't buying it now.
Mr. McIver, the NDP called your party out on your shell game before, now they are again today. Stop whining. You sound like Junior Asparagus in the tale of the broken plate.
It was your party, Mr. McIver, who chose to announce those school projects with no funding guaranteed. Minister Eggen found that funding shortly after you were out of office. You want to know what they've been doing? They've been cleaning up your mess.
Minister Eggen, please don't forget that in the mess of delayed projects you are cleaning up, there are also other issues at play. It's not all politics and blame games. It's about students. And students shouldn't be bussed 10 minutes outside their community to study in an industrial zone.
There is a silver lining. We have the chance now, let's get this done right.