Monday, 24 November 2014

Pierre Trudeau - Just Watch me

Above is the prime minister of the day facing troubled times and preparing to initiate very tough measures to deal with the terrorists of his time, the FLQ. I am putting this here not to comment on what he did or not do but to show how a strong leader behaves. He is being challenged by aggressive reporters in the open, by himself with no supporters, or handlers or anyone else around him. Trudeau accepted the reporters challenge and held his ground with confidence.

Above we see strength. How does it compare to what we see now from our current prime minister?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why the US is not like Canada

I just watched a clip on youtube of Bill Maher interviewing Martin Short and he wondered why the US isn't more like Canada in its progressive nature.

The short and quick answer to Bill Maher is easy. We progressed while the US didn't because of major social movements for progressive change that started out here in the west. Alberta is home to them. Progressives of the 20's who ultimately merged with the Conservatives.  The Social Credit of Bill Aberhart which ended up betraying it roots and turned into a socially regressive political party. The UFA (United Farmers of Alberta) who helped form the CCF. More importantly though was the formation, in Calgary, of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) which became a strong movement for social change and ultimately became stronger with the CCF forming the government of Saskatchewan under the leadership of Canada's most respected politician, Tommy Douglas. Tommy, with the help of a strong grain market, showed the country how to use the wealth generated for the betterment of all its citizens with the implementation of universal medicare despite  of  strong opposition from conservatives and the provinces doctors.

In the 60's the CCF made an alliance with a strong labour movement which gave birth to the NDP again with Tommy at the head. The NDP under Tommy Douglas then later David Lewis and Ed Broadbent became the social conscience of Canada. To keep them at bay the Liberal party took over the most popular planks of the NDP platform and made those planks their own. Our social safety net was put in place. Not good for the federal political fortunes of the NDP but good for Canada.

Now the hard thing to have to tell Bill Maher. Our current government, the Harper government, is doing its absolute best to dismantle those decades of progress by emulating the  Republican Party's  regressive agenda.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Conservative wins in boring Yellowhead Byelection

Conservative, Jim Eglinski, cruised to a victory on the votes of 10% of the eligible electors in the large riding of Yellowhead. The election results show only 16% of eligible voters thought it was important enough to cast a ballot. In this election one looking at it one can't really blame the other 84% that stayed home to surf the web or whatever. It is up to all candidates in an election to show us why they deserve support and to get that support to the polls.

By all appearances here in Grande Cache there really was no campaign. There were no forums to give candidates a chance to layout their respective platforms. In the last week leading up to election day we saw the appearance of a couple campaign ads in our local paper. One from the winner and the other from the Liberal candidate. Apparently most candidates had few resources and no concerted election campaign. In the campaign a Libertarian, NDP, Liberal and an independent ran in addition to the Conservative.

A feel good story this week, in the local paper, (Grande Cache Mountaineer) showing the love affair between federal conservatives and the chamber of commerce tells us the conservative candidate did make it up here to talk to a handful of, I suppose, supporters. Nothing in the story tells us what our new MP would like to accomplish or what he or his government is going to do for the citizens of Grande Cache or the country for that matter but we do see that he is worthy of support because the outgoing Conservative MP, Rob Merrifield, who nominated him says so. That should be good enough for us. We really don't want the benefit of a Northern living subsidy do we?

Well guess it is back to business as usual for Harper's government.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Home Town Battle Field

A very good song for this day to remember all those men and women who stood up for us.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Yellowhead by-election Does Grande Cache Care?

A by-election sparked by the resignation of conservative MP Rob Merrifield will be held November 17. With the election only a couple of weeks away it is surprising that there has been no indication of a campaign until the past couple of days when a couple of signs have been erected. From the signs we see the Conservative candidate is Jim Eglinski and the Liberals are running Ryan Maguhn. A google search tells me Eglinski is an ex RCMP office from Edson and Maguhn is a municipal councillor from Hinton. Oh, and that google search tells me Cory Lystang is running as a Libertarian. That is it. That is all the info out there.

I'm not sure if Grande Cache cares as there has been no visible effort to host a candidate's forum. More surprising than that though is it appears the candidates don't care enough to let us know who they are or what they will be doing for us. In the past election the Conservatives won the riding with 77% of the vote, the NDP coming in second with a tad over 13%, the Greens a bit over 5% and the liberals coming in at under 3%.

Looking then at the past results and the lack of campaigning it appears we will see coronation for the candidate of the party that has mocked our democratic system and instituted policy based on their narrow perspective of our great country. Looks like we will have to wait until the next federal election to see if there will be a significant challenge to the autocratic rule of the governing Tories.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

9 Years too Late?

In 2005 I had the opportunity to attend the 100th birthday party for Alberta with my colleague on Crowsnest Pass municipal council, Gail Sygutek. That day was the start of what was to be a good friendship. Noting that, it is not the intent of this post to elaborate on our relationship. The event held at Commonwealth Stadium, in the pouring rain, was graced by Queen Elizabeth. Of course the show piece of the ceremonies was a video history of Alberta's 100 years displayed on a very large screen.

I watched with anticipation as the video moved from one geographic location to another showing us all what the province deemed important enough to be showcased. My anticipation turned to hopefulness and then to utter disappointment as we watched the history of agriculture, oil, then tourism and the communities that built up around those industries. There was no mention of any of our Crowsnest Pass towns, Coleman, Blairmore, Frank, Hillcrest, nor Bellevue. Neither was there any mention of Lethbridge, Drumheller, Canmore, nor Nordegg. No mention of the fact that coal and coal mining towns were a major contributor to Alberta's economy from the turn of the century up until the 60's.

Not one coal mining town was mentioned in that version of our history save for Edmonton, (oil, and capital city) and Banff (noted for its bid to become the capital). What a horrible feeling to be the guest of our province  and to find our host was ashamed of its history in coal and all of us that were part of or grew out of that history.

We now have a premier that hails from Grande Cache, worked in the coal mines at Coleman, and was a member of the UMWA. I am hopeful that Jim Prentice will remember where he came from, institute policy to the benefit of working men and women, and insure that coal (not just its history) plays a role in Alberta's economy.