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Opinion

Our country has lost its way

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  • March 7, 2019 – Red Deer, AB

    Opinion from Terry Loewen

    Canada has lost its way in so many different areas. I’m not sure what the brave men and women that fought 2 world wars would be thinking right now, but I’m sure they wouldn’t be impressed and probably heart broken!

    I’m not sure how this country has become so divisive in such a short period of time, but it is extremely concerning to me. There is plenty of room to disagree and debate with each other, but this pure hate is something I’ve never seen in my 48 years on this earth. It seems people have fallen so far right or so far left, there is no common ground. I believe all common sense has vanished and I consider common sense one of the most important tool per see that one can use in most situations. Whether its business, personal, political, environmental or any other decisions you may make or think about, common sense will usually lead you to the right answer.

    Whether it is in Canada or the U.S., people are throwing absolute non-sense ideas around, trying to persuade their Countrymen to come to their far tilted side and its wrong in my opinion. If you believe full-heartedly that Climate Change is a major issue, fine, but do your research and come up with a sensible solution. Don’t come out as a leader and say no more fossil fuels in 10 years and no more cattle! If you believe that the Oil Sands in Alberta are an issue, then do your research on the project and come up with solutions rather than just protest its existence.

    All parts of Canada have major challenges, whether its economical, social, environmental or anything else, that need to be addressed. Being stubborn and divisive is not going to help the best interests of society. Let’s come together as a nation and show empathy to one another, use common sense, find common ground.  Find and implement solutions! That’s what Canada is about. Not what is happening right now.

    What is disgraceful is the actions of our leaders! They have taken an Oath to do what’s in the best interest of the people they serve, and may I remind them, pay their salary. They may belong to a political party and I understand that parties have certain beliefs, but that doesn’t mean every belief is a fit for your Constituents! They are to vote what is best for their people, not their party! That is what they took the Oath to do and if they don’t do it, they should be thrown out of office. Yes, there are times that the people don’t have all the facts and may not understand all the issues, but not many and certainly not all are that way.

    The very fact that there are Premier’s and a Prime Minister in this Country that are not only NOT following the Oath they’ve taken, but they are outright lying to the people they serve. Its frankly extremely insulting! For them to think they can stand up in public and try and shove so many untruthful remarks to us Canadians down our throats is repulsive.

    The Prime Minister is now using the words “erosion of trust”! He’s not talking about himself if you can belief that? The situation that is at the forefront now is should the government let a company off the hook for illegal activities to save jobs? Are we in a corrupt country? It seems like a dream to me that this is the basis of this most recent lie and deception of the people of Canada. The answer is extremely simple, NO! NO, it is not alright to give a free pass to a company on illegal activity. It sets precedent for every other company in this country to do the same thing. As well, if the government is going to protect 9000 jobs for this company, it damn well better protect every other job in Canada, big or small! We all know this isn’t possible so follow the laws. Its unbelievable that the people in power, that are responsible to make and uphold the laws are trying to give free passes to people breaking the law. UNBELIEVABLE!

    It is truly time for the people of this Country to stand up and take our rights back to fair and honest representation. I don’t have all the solutions, but I believe if someone is sworn into office and they are dishonest and corrupt in anyway, they should be removed from power immediately and put in jail! This isn’t a case of a person going to work and not doing their job, this is outright criminal in my opinion.

    In conclusion, it’s time for our leaders to come clean, do what’s right for all provinces and territories; all Canadians.  Let’s get on with rebuilding this Country that millions of human beings gave their life for. I’ve always been extremely proud to say I’m a Canadian, but right now I’m embarrassed! Enough self interest and everyone from the top down, need to use some common sense and get this Country back to being Proud, Strong and Free.

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    Opinion

    The 5 Stages to an Alberta Party Election Loss

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  • The Alberta Party managed to attain 5x more votes than they did in 2015. Yet were the biggest losers of the 2019 election cycle. To be honest I believe we would have been well served to have the AB Party win a couple seats in the legislature. However, that is certainly not how things went down on April 16th. They gained 5x the votes and lost all three of their seats. 



    I have seen some curious behaviour from former Alberta Party candidates as of late and it got me to thinking: ‘What is the AB Party (both party and individual candidates) going through right now?’ Lets explore what I believe to be happening and where I think they need to go to turn (what is now a fringe party) into the opposition.

    

5 Stages of the Alberta Party Loss



    Denial
    As mentioned The AB Party went into the election holding 3 seats, hoping to build upon their party growth. What they attained was actually pretty incredible. They recieved over 5x the amount of votes they had in 2015. From 33,867 to 170,872. The response to attaining 0 seats was not surprising and was somewhat humble In my opinion. Mandel cited being proud of the AB Party brand and, frankly, they should be. However, he was wrong for blaming polarization as the reason for the loss. You cannot simultaneously gain 5x the votes and blame polarization. The one thing missing here is that there has been no recognition that their platform was extremely weak. They continue to be in denial that their ideas were not inspiring, their vision was lacking, and their boldness was not focussed on any areas of importance. The AB Party is currently in denial. I do, however, think they are moving past this. Slowly but surely. 



    Anger
    Although we have not seen a direct example of anger from the Party we have started seeing some pretty broad examples of anger throughout the AB Party team/former candidates. I have seen individual candidates who have generally touted themselves as the calm and collected type start to lash out. I have seen insults directed towards conservatives and towards anyone who disagrees with them in general. It is clear that after a couple weeks individuals are starting to feel angry. This is to be expected it is, after all, a human trait. It is now a month after the election. Candidates who worked so hard for so long are realizing what the election cost them both financially, and emotionally. They find it freeing not to be under the “do no harm” mantra of the party system anymore and are beginning to say how they really feel. This is where the rubber really hits the road. The AB party was supposed to be different, made up of candidates who respond with thoughtfulness and consideration. The blinders are being pulled off and we are finding out that the AB party is just another party. They are no different than anyone else. They have their spin, they have their ideology, and ultimately they were fooling themselves into thinking they were different. Perhaps this is an opportunity for their candidates to prove me wrong and pull back on some of the over the top anger and remember that anger is in general, just not worth it. 



    Bargaining
    We have seen a very very clear example of bargaining this week. The AB Party refuses to accept the fact that they are no longer in the Legislature. They have asked for money from they LAO with the intent of being a quasi opposition without a seat in the legislature. They want the funding to do the research while they no longer represent anyone. This is just part of the steps of grief that the AB Party is facing. They are trying to hold on to what once was but no longer is.

    

Depression
    I don’t think the AB party is here yet. Depression in the party sense is devastating. We are going to see growing disinterest from individuals who gave so much before the election. We are going to see folks question ‘What is the point?’. They are going to question the AB party principles, they are going to ask themselves if they should just try to change the NDP or UCP from within. There will be some individuals who pull back and you won’t hear from them again. This is the stage that the Party’s head brass need to address head on. They need to quickly work on inspiring individuals and they need to come up with a plan to allow individuals the time to “shut-off” after a tough election while ensuring they don’t lose touch. If the depression symptom spirals out of control their party will die. On an individual sense, and with sincerity, I do ask anyone who finds themselves getting into this stage to take the time to reflect on the greater good in life. Please seek help if you need to. Depression is nothing to joke about and, yes, an election loss is a legitimate reason for someone to become depressed.

    Acceptance.
    
I do hope the AB party is able to move to acceptance quickly. Let’s look at a few things that the AB party needs to accept. 

    1. They ran a terrible platform – Yes, there were things in their platform that were amenable. However, it was choppy there was no consistency. It focussed on things that Albertans didn’t care enough about. They were bold in all the wrong areas. 

    2. The AB party made a mistake kicking out Greg Clarke as leader – There was no opposition MLA that I liked more than Greg. Make no mistake, (while Greg may not admit it himself) Greg’s demotion was a result of a coup from old PC members who didn’t like Jason Kenney. They were quick to join the AB party and place their own person in the position of leadership. Stephen Mandel may have carried the party to 5x more votes but there is no doubt it was on the kindness and likability of former MLA Greg Clarke. 

    3. They cannot blame polarization for their loss – If they knew that the election was going to be a polarizing one they were perfectly positioned to create themselves as the opposing pole. Instead they positioned themselves as an outlier. The election was polarizing, yes. However, as I already said, they cannot simultaneously blame polarization while championing 5x more votes.
    
4. They are not different than other parties. – Trying to run a party as though Ideology doesn’t exist is a fools errand. The thought that they are going to do politics differently and its all going to turn out does not come from humility but rather just a vain attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. Trudeau is a perfect example of the AB party narrative. He was going to do politics differently too. The AB party just isn’t different from other parties and the idea that they think they are is actually quite frightening.
    5. They need to stop talking, and start working – The AB party is doing themselves no favours by silly maneuvers such as asking for money from the LAO. They need to stop this nonsense and come to grips with the fact that they are now no different than the FCP, the AAP, and the AIP. They should look at the votes they attained as an opportunity to fundraise, not as a passage to being taxpayer funded. 




    
In Conclusion: There is a lot of room for the Alberta party to grow and become the official opposition in 2023. However, this will never happen if they get stuck where they are. They need to move beyond the Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression stages and start to accept their failures so they can embrace the reasons for their incredible success at achieving 5x more votes than they did in 2015.

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    Opinion

    City Hall, Big decisions, projects, city manager replacement @ Glacial Speed

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  • March 2018, City Manager Craig Curtis announced his planned retirement for July 31, 2018, He stayed under separate contract til March 2019 and it cost the city around $400,000 and then putting in 2 temporary city managers before a new city manager could be in place. 14 months to replace a city manager?
    March 2017, the federal government announces the end of a 1/3 tax free subsidy for politicians slated for December 31` 2018. Council addressed that issue by giving themselves a double digit raise in the eleventh hour, November 2018 and it cost the city taxpayers dearly. To be fair Councillor Wyntjes, Councillor Handley, Councillor Higham and Councillor Dawe did vote against these pay increases.
    The first thought would be how those at the top of the food chain down at city hall are well compensated, especially in these difficult times.
    The second thought is how everything moves at a glacial pace down at city hall.
    Besides these 2 issues look at issues like the Riverlands, look at the north of 11A development, look at the proposed aquatic centre for examples to remind us of extreme lengthy decision making.
    What is it about city hall that sees it move at glacial speed then expensive decisions in the eleventh hour? Is it fear, natural procrastination, lack of vision or living in a bubble?
    Would this contribute to our increased taxes and lack of growth? Just asking.

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