Alberta – Election 2019

13Apr19

This has been a very divisive campaign. It’s challenged us all to examine our values and what we stand for. The old political labels aren’t fitting well for many of us as our views and values evolve. We’re being asked to rank order our fiscal and social beliefs as never before and figure out what that means for our vote.

If you’re my friend in whatever sphere, you know I have strong feelings about public life, society, fairness and love. In my curated social media life I try for being informative and doing no harm. 

This election I chose to put more of my views on Facebook than I usually do. It’s a risk to step further out into the realm of opinion and it wasn’t one I took lightly.

I did so because the stakes are so high. Our choices in this election will tell the rest of Canada whether we are socially progressive, whether we are negotiators or fighters, and whether we act in our best interests with anger or wisdom.

Thank you to everyone who enter into the discussion with me. You did so very respectfully. I hope I did the same. And thank you to so many friends who have told me they appreciated my posts. Your encouragement was so important.

Social policy, protection for the vulnerable and ethical behaviour carry a lot of weight with me. You might think that’s what has put me over the edge and cast my support on the side of Rachel Notley and the NDP, with a strong dash of Alberta Party in the mix.

It isn’t. As much I can’t support the proposed change to GSAs, I still wouldn’t be supporting the UCP. Their approach to fiscal policy, climate change, education and health care are more than enough to make me look elsewhere.

Cutting corporate income taxes, particularly to the extent the UCP proposes, will not benefit Albertans or the economy as much as some think it will. It will just make our budget situation worse. It’s an old prescription for a new reality.

The property tax situation in Calgary needs to be addressed. Hoping for a trickle down from corporate tax cuts isn’t going to make a difference, especially in the near term. I would rather see targeted measures to help businesses convert buildings to new uses and support for Calgary in rebalancing its property taxes. 

We need to get pipelines built, but a war room and throwing out the carbon tax won’t get us there. I have never believed that trying to humiliate the people you have to work with – like it or not –  is an effective short or long-term strategy.

Eliminating the carbon tax will only leave us open to the federal government’s imposition of a carbon tax and we won’t be able to determine how to use the revenue. Besides, taxes change behaviour. Make some changes to the tax if you will, but don’t eliminate it. We need to rebalance our energy consumption to include more renewables. No, not at the expense of a strong oil and gas sector, but in step with it as we all adjust to a lower carbon future. A carbon tax is part of that.

Reviewing administration at AHS is unlikely to yield many savings and will distract and destabilize a system that needs to be focused on quality and service delivery. We stand to lose the important ground AHS has gained over the last four years during a period of previously unheard of stability at AHS and cost containment, particularly with the zero percent wage increases negotiated across the board.

Cancelling the work on new lab services will put us further behind. Nothing turns on a dime in a system as large and complex as the health system and it will take years to recover lost ground.

So much work has been done to create a curriculum will help prepare children for the future.  Dropping it makes no sense. The last update was too long ago and the pace of change in our world is indisputable. We also know much more about learning styles and the need for multiple approaches for learning. Let’s move forward, not backward.

And GSAs. As Thomas Lukaszuk said on Charles Adler, the last government’s legislation guiding GSAs was wrong. He was part of that government and he’s changed his mind. Many others have as well. We need to maintain an inclusive safe school system.

I also want an Alberta that has more than one political party with significant experience in government so that we have viable alternatives. The years of big majorities were not good for the province and I hope  this doesn’t happen again. One term is barely enough.

And finally, Alberta will not benefit from letting anger run its policies. It doesn’t work in our homes or workplaces and it won’t be good strategy in government.

 



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