Mandates from the people.
I didn’t turn the TV on nor did I sit to watch but it caught my attention. The United Conservative Party of Alberta meeting in Calgary was on. Mr. Scheer stood blaming the Federal Government for what low world oil prices did to our economy. Outside in -20C hundreds or thousands of Albertans were demonstrating obviously not in favour. It reminded me of the hundreds of thousands who were protesting all over Canada a month ago blaming oil for climate catastrophes. Albertans are speaking, and Canadians are speaking, but not the way the Calgary unemployed oil patch workers expect them to. Oil has been a blessing for us and there is still a little to go.
What is a mandate from the people that politicians are so adamant to follow? I listen to my own Premier loudly declaring that he has the biggest mandate of the people of Alberta ever and I wonder. With the campaign still fresh in my mind, I take into consideration that he ran a well-financed campaign spending twice as much as his main opposing party. Did he receive the money from people like me or did he have some other way of receiving donations? If he did, then the mandate could be from the donors, not the people, but it is what it is.
He says that the mandate is for getting our natural resources to market, which means building pipelines for oil. He never talks about the meteorological coal mine that is held up in the Crowsnest Pass. He also maintains that we voted for fiscal responsibility which leads to cuts to most of our services which, I remember he promised not to do. I worry about our kids who must pay their student loans after becoming nurses and teachers.
Across an invisible line west of us is another premier, in British Columbia, John Horgan, who maintains just as vehemently that he has a mandate from his people not to allow a pipeline to transport Alberta bitumen across their land. BC has a minority government which seems to be concerned about the environment even while factoring in the costs. The province is doing well economically without exporting oil.
I look east and see four pipelines leading to Quebec. I search for a speech by Francois Legault, the Premier of Quebec. He also claims to have a very strong mandate by his people. Being the leader of one of the two nations who formed Confederation, he feels a very strong mandate and responsibility to shaping what Canada is. His first concern is ensuring that Quebecers will never again be subjected to religious rule and second that we will not force them to have an oil pipeline and contribute to environmental disasters. He wants natural gas but not oil. “No social acceptability for a new oil pipeline.” I take it that they could be convinced with proper guaranties. “Forcing” them equates to rape in my opinion.
One by one, I listen to the premiers of provinces. A few sound convincing. They are concerned about the people of their provinces and the people of Canada. They show care towards humanity as a whole. If there were women premiers, I assume that there would be more show of empathy for future generations, but there are none left.
I respect provinces wanting the best deal for their own. We build our whole social system to compete and win. It is not considered bad to take what you can and disregard those left behind with less or none. If we have power people befriend us and want us to use it for their gain. That is why we have lobbyists and expensive political fundraising dinners. If the money is used to get more power by targeted political campaigns, it is a legitimate way to gain more power and money. Just about everyone I know agrees. Even the judicial system doesn’t operate without money. Thank God we have it, but we could consider more equality for the folks who can’t afford lawyers and bail.
Mandate is a word that we assume indicates that most people voted for a plan which will make their lives better. It describes what a large group of people believe will help their cause. I follow the most recent Federal elections and see a clear mandate forming. As usual, there are differences yet Greens, NDPs, and most Liberals have voted with environmental concerns in their minds. Will the minority government follow the mandate?
I get the impression that our leaders are more interested in winning power and only use the idea of having a mandate to advance their political ambitions. It becomes more obvious after elections. All of the elected officials are walking away from their election promises and begin to work on staying in power. They mostly don’t even try to do what I care about. Yet my Dear Leader is saying “the people of Alberta want,” as if we didn’t see cheating suspected in the way he got voted the leader. I voted for Brian Jean.
I wish to have a simple life maintaining what I have achieved through hard work and long periods of saving. I care about my community, my province, the country, and the world. To my sorrow, I see that I will probably have to fight to keep it until the day I die. Now there is a real threat to my pension fund, to my health care services and the Police force which guarantees my safety. Yes, you may say I am not a happy camper.