Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Where would we have been if…




Where would we have been if…

Often in life, we look at our situation and complain. We remember a better time or see others enjoying things we don’t have, and we lament. I wish I was healthier, younger, richer or whatever else could have given me more joy, but I am not. Human nature is unique that way. People don’t often go through an exercise of counting their blessings and being grateful for what they have

Our political system is built to force us to reflect every four years or so on the way we are doing things. There is a gambler in our nature whispering, “bet another time and maybe you will win.” We can bet or make informed choices. We have been so often lied to, that most of us choose to boycott elections, leaving the choice to others.

I’d like to advocate fully informed participation, based on knowledge of what is important to us and those we care about. Let's look at the most important aspects. Regardless of party names, which are misleading, there are only a few options for governing a country or a province which is like a country within a country.

If we wish to have a government, we must give it the power to set up rules or laws, control economic conditions, provide services and keep it all going by taxing us. Since we are participating, we must have ways to dictate how our taxes will be used, in legislating, setting programs, and we need to enforce the laws. It costs money.  Now we have a problem deciding what is the role that we wish our government to play, and how much. I can tell you what I like, but you must decide on your own what you believe is important and vote to make it happen.

I am not a big spender and I always pay my bills. Nevertheless, my first concern is not to have a government which champions austerity. I have seen it many times. In times of need, a government comes in and reduces services, social programs, and public projects. All the people who depend on such are thrown out to compete for unavailable jobs, they reduce their expenditures causing others also to have no income, and the economy grinds to a halt. People try to escape by migrating to other places, and long-lasting damage occurs. The government tries to bring in business by reducing business taxes but the businesses pocket the money and find other locations where the economy is more lucrative.

I look at the little towns and imagine how would we fare if hospitals and schools reduced staff, if government offices cut costs, senior centers were not built and road construction would be delayed. I look at the nearest city and consider how we would be affected if new public projects were not built and people who receive help from government programs would be impoverished. I consider where the extra money from higher minimum wages is spent. I try to figure out how my community would be if seniors benefits were reduced and people with disabilities would depend on philanthropy to exist.

There is a possibility that a new government would be better equipped to build a new oil pipeline to export to oversupplied markets, but jobs for building it would not last long. I could benefit from the removal of “the hated Carbon Tax,” and save two or three hundred dollars a year, but it is designed to reduce pollution which is causing other big problems.

I am not a farmer but I am concerned about the level of moisture in the ground, more than about quick profit from oil. I want us to sell oil while people are still using it, but I don’t want to build pipelines to markets (China) that will not pay our price. China is getting oil from Venezuela, Iran, and Russia. I am very concerned about local money staying in the community to circulate and do its work. I see our kids leaving the rural communities so I hope that they will be replaced by new pioneers who are willing to work hard and keep our communities going into the future.

I try to guess which political party is better equipped to guide us into the future with the least damage to the Province and my community. We’ve known since the sixties that this day would come. Automation and overproduction were going to produce a situation where jobs would be scarce and people would still have to be fed. Service industries would become number one and manufacturing would decline. We began to plan for more recreational opportunities, shorter work weeks and longer periods of education and training which were supposed to be free or reasonable. The idea of earlier retirement took hold. Now the future we were predicting is here, and we must deal with it.

I am not an economic expert, just a regular guy. All I know is that if I don’t vote I have no right to complain. Right at this moment, I am not very happy with our Prime minister, but I can’t vote him out in a Provincial election.

My available choices are to cut taxes, mostly for international corporations, or to keep investing in all aspects of our daily lives and build a more diversified economy that will depend on our work, not only on exports of natural resources. We should have done it a long time ago.

Wishing that big business will save us is like wishing that I will be young again. They don’t have a reason to care, and they will not. I vote to help ourselves, pay our bills and be ready for a future without steam power, horsepower or oil. It's on the way.

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