"Trust is the only capital a government needs, and it's the one thing they haven't got."
I was told this by an Alberta Party Leadership candidate, and I have found most recently how true this statement is.
Three weeks ago, Rick Fraser, Associate Minister in charge of Recovery and Reconstruction in High River stood on a stage in front of a grandstand of High River residents and expounded the efforts of one Darwin Durnie, crediting him with the organization of multiple logistics during the 2013 Flood in the Town. He was credited for setting up the temporary bus system, the building of massive berms, and many other tasks.
Durnie deserved that praise. He was thanked with an ovation, and Fraser started painting himself as the guy who would give credit where credit was due. It was a refreshing moment.
Fast forward two weeks. The Hamptons and Sunrise residents of High River have been escorted in for a peek, let in, kicked out, let back in and kicked out again. At a meeting originally scheduled with the mayor, they end up listening to Durnie explain what happened.
This is when a video of him explaining their homes were sacrificed was taken. Residents were happy, because this is the guy Fraser stood behind two weeks ago.
Fast forward another week, and Fraser releases a statement saying that contractor's "words do not reflect the Government's views".
Durnie, meet bus.
How is Fraser to be trusted on his word if he can't even stand by it himself?
Then they get Albert Flootman out at a presser to explain how the Hamptons were only barely sacrificed with his "straw versus fire hose" comment.
His comments do not change the fact there was one neighborhood sacrificed for the good of the Town. That's not "the Government's views", but it is a fact.
Interesting how "the Government's views" and reality don't coincide. What was I saying about a government needing Trust as it's only capital?
Health Minister Fred Horne's flip-flop-flip-flop on the opening of the High River Hospital in its entirety doesn't inspire the investment of that capital.
Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths has an inability to recognize his Disaster Recovery Program doesn't help those in Flood Fringe or those not in any Flood zone who have no choice. His program will actually cost taxpayers more without a relocation option. This is not just in High River but also in Black Diamond, Exshaw and even Calgary. Griffiths pigeon-holed view on what Albertans "need" doesn't inspire the investment in that Trust capital.
The recent opening of $350 million of office space for PC MLAs instead of spending that money on flood mitigation efforts doesn't inspire that investment either.
When voters no longer invest Trust in their government, they don't allow the government the confidence they need to make tough (and sometimes unpopular) decisions in the best interests of Albertans.
Decisions like changing how we collect our revenue from oil producers to make sure we get full value for our resources.
Decisions like building large-scale flood mitigation projects that will directly affect a few farmers, but save billions of dollars in the long run.
Decisions like not allowing development on Crown lands in the foothills, which has removed the ability for that environment to act like the sponge it used to be. This has effectively sped up all river flow, and can be considered a significant cause of the flood.
Decisions like helping out home owners with no choice because they need it and it's the right thing to do.
Unfortunately, the PCs have lost almost all their Trust capital. If Alison Redford truly wanted to give people a reason to reinvest, I've already given her three ways do it.
But what if Redford doesn't work to have us reinvest in the PCs? The Wildrose Party had their own problems with getting a Trust Investment in the last election, but who knows, they may be able to shake that history of in two years.
Perhaps it's time invest elsewhere. The Alberta Party is inviting you to share with them your concerns and ideas. Right now is a perfect time as we are in the middle of a leadership race. We need your input now to put the best ideas forward. We believe we are the best place for you to invest your Trust because we do it all with you in mind.