Tag Archives: change

The end of an era awaits you

Wow Alberta. The last 4 weeks have been exhausting.

I am sure right now the PC party is questioning the wisdom of this early election call. It certainly didn’t stay on script.

Alberta has had enough script, it is high time we cut loose and say what we really want. We seem to be on the verge of doing that.

I have some theories on why Prentice thought an early election was good logic, and he had good reason … reason that we have given him, Alberta. It’s our fear of change, our apathy, and our inability to imagine ourselves other than how we are today.

After so many years of PC rule the PCs certainly must feel entitled to governing. They have reason to see themselves as the only available option. They have not seen any real challenge to their authority, and certainly no challenge that they cannot stamp out like a little flame underfoot.

So the first piece of Prentice logic was based in past experience. The PCs have never been burned, and have never stopped to imagine it could happen.

In the past when  times have looked tough the PCs have simply changed costume and come back out on stage as if they had a whole new act. Alberta always noticed the new props and never noticed the old songs.

You have all undoubtedly noticed that I have some significant left leaning values. I do not hide that. I ascribe them to compassion for my fellow man.

However, the primary reason for my excitement about the unforeseen strength of the left in this election isn’t driven by ideology. It is driven by realty. The health of any democracy depends on change. Without change the political process increasingly resembles a popularity poll for Stalin. Voting has to matter. It can’t become a chore, the results cannot be a foregone conclusion.

I don’t know how the vote will go tomorrow but I hope we choose to change, because change is good. The worst reason there is to continue doing something is that it is the way we’ve done it in the past. The worst reason to avoid trying new things is that you are not guaranteed success. Everything you have that is worth while came from someone taking a risk. We have more to gain than to lose.

You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is. ~ Will Rogers

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T. S. Eliot

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks. ~ Mark Zuckerberg

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. ~ Maimonides

It seems to be a law of nature, inflexible and inexorable, that those who will not risk cannot win. ~ John Paul Jones

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~ George Bernard Shaw

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. ~ Winston Churchill

Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies. ~ Robert Kennedy

 

 

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On Co-opted Conservatism and Responsibility Redistribution

Giddy-up Alberta. The writ has been dropped and the politicians are now (openly) wooing us, running six ways from Sunday.

AB all

Sadly, too much of of the wooing involves attempts to portray the alternative as ‘extremists‘.

Part of the way this slander works is by shifting the parameters of discussion in one party’s favour.

For instance, shifting terms of reference so that they appear to align with one group and then pairing that shifted definition with a term not tampered with to lend the shifted term extra credibility. Like linking the word conservative to the word responsible.

Prentice says

Conservative and responsible are not synonyms, and responsible governance is not the exclusive domain of conservative ideology (how we have not figured this out I don’t know). Alberta, you have been duped. You have been inundated with a 43 year feedback loop of tenuous credibility, and it has pasted a paper thin connotative veneer of responsibility and trustworthiness over all things conservative.

Here’s another much maligned phrase: tax and spend. Tax and spend is ACTUALLY what the government is supposed to do. Government collects your tax dollars, then spends that money on health and education and infrastructure. Your taxes are how government pays to keep your province running. Taxes themselves are neither good nor bad. What can be either good or bad is how your tax dollars are spent.

If you pay $100 in taxes and get $100 worth of services in return you have good government. If you pay $100 in taxes and get $50 worth of services in return you have bad government. If you pay $50 in taxes so the government can only afford to pay to provide you with $50 worth of services but you actually want/require $100 worth of services you also have bad government. It’s about value for the money, not about the (shocking) fact that stuff costs money.

Canada is a social democracy. We overwhelmingly support government redistributing wealth to provide universal services. Stop pretending that wanting government to pay for our health care and a good public education system is conservatism at work. It is social democracy at work. Social democracy is, by definition, is the way our government redistributes wealth to provide more equity between have and have not. Stop saying ‘socialism’ and sucking your teeth. You are a socialist. And that’s OK.

Let’s take back the concept of responsible government and divorce it from conservatism.

The real, actual, factual definition of conservative is resistant to change, and that is not a virtue. History is rife with examples of those rough patches when radical change was the best option. Look back through that history and see how awful conservatives look in hindsight. Sometimes the status quo is more a barrier to progress than a banner of pride.

If you keep telling yourself conservatism is prudent and socialism is an extremist idea that can come to no good, you haven’t thought it through. That lack of thought is keeping you from making constructive, progressive changes to how you are governed.

Change

Think Alberta…who is telling you that the conservatives are the only choice and the other options are ‘extremists’? Do they have a vested interest in preventing change? Change is usually opposed by those who have the most to gain from preserving the status quo. You only have to take a quick glance at the big supporters of the PCAA to see that illustrated – their big funders are the ones who weren’t asked to contribute a few more tax dollars to help keep things running smoothly. The status quo is them benefitting from what your tax dollars provide, with them not pay their share. Thats’ conservatism in a  nutshell. If that doesn’t sound right to you, you might not be a conservative. This conservative party maintains the status quo for the benefit of specific parts of society that have the money to fund this conservative government and thereby protect their interests with no regard for the greater good.

Redistributing wealth and power make our society more fair and to allow everyone the chance to participate fully in our society. That broader participation brings with it the benefit of new ideas and the adaptability that makes a nation strong in good times and in bad. Socialism advocates for the redistribution of wealth for the benefit of the entire society because democratic socialism is founded on the principle that progress depends on everyone contributing and being equally able to participate.

I am not arguing against conservatism as an idea. I am arguing against this conservative government and against Alberta’s stubborn and foolish refusal to admit that there are options and that the time has come to consider them.

Let’s take our social democratic values to the polls with us on May 5, leave behind our misconceptions about what is responsible and what is extremist, and redistribute responsibility to a new party with new ideas to help us deal with new global realities. If we want to move forward we need to elect the leaders that put us on the be on the road that takes us there.

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Oh, and Martha and Henry voted Social Credit. Can we drop that hokey crap already? Pet peeve.