By Greg Price
‘So Greg…you voting Liberal again this election?’
That was the question posed to me in the checkout line at IGA by a local Taberite as I was grabbing some lunch on the Monday afternoon leading up to the provincial election.
The following day would eventually usher in a United Conservative Party majority, where Jason Kenney threw Rachel Notley from her throne as premier of the province.
I immediately smirked at the comment, given it has been a pre-conceived notion I’ve been fighting for the last four years. For those who have known me over the years, I’m a fan of the colour orange. Burnt orange like you see with the Texas Longhorns — a big fan. Now a middle-aged man, I’ve liked the colour since my youth, but apparently, I’ve enjoyed wearing the colour the last four years because it was the themed colour of the provincial party in power, you know, those fellow ‘pinko commie socialists’ I enjoy the company of.
I smirked at the previous inquiry at IGA because if I jumped into my DeLorean ‘a la Back to the Future, and went back to that fateful day in the provincial vote of 2015, you would see that there was no Liberal candidate in existence for me to vote for in the attempt of revisionist history.
There was only Grant Hunter (Wildrose), Brian Brewin (Progressive Conservative), New Democratic Party (Aaron Haugen) and Alberta Party (Delbert Bodnarek). And ironically enough, as my more conservative friends who have posted with regularity on their Facebooks for the last four years of how the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been galloping their way through the once-fertile lands of Alberta, destroying everything in its path under NDP rule, I am sorry to report to my fellow commie-comrades and conclusion-jumping conservative ilk alike, I didn’t help usher in the Orange Crush.
I voted Brian Brewin, Progressive Conservative, much like 4,351 other voters did in the Cardston-Taber-Warner riding in 2015, making for 35.5 per cent of the popular vote. Hunter garnered 41.8 per cent of the vote, Haugen earned 19.6 per cent and Bodnarek got 3.1 per cent.
I did this radical thing in casting my vote, I drew upon my extensive history of covering M.D. of Taber council and found a former reeve who was privy to no major scandal under his stead. And while there are always ebbs and flows, Brewin helped run an overall strong M.D. economy that did not involve huge amounts of unmanageable debt in comparison to like-sized municipalities featuring the same types of industry. In my many travels to public events, I found Brewin a very personable family man, that while I’m sure The Taber Times and Vauxhall Advance were not always on the top of the M.D.’s Christmas Card list with some stories we had covered, he understood I had a job to do, and tried to be as transparent as he and his council could be to the press in M.D. of Taber matters. I attended the forums and read his platform, and while I did not agree with everything he said, I voted for him anyway.
Shocker isn’t it? Voting all over the political spectrum in one’s nearly 40 years of eligible voting, and realizing no one party has the market cornered on good/bad ideas that can translate to the vote-making, tax-paying public.
In this and next week’s issue there will be the Student Vote initiative highlighted. Upon interviewing various teachers for the story, I learned there was a Vote Compass program put out by CBC which is a tool developed by political scientists that calculates one’s views compared with those of Alberta’s political parties.
I took the test last week and guess what the algorithm got me? — United Conservative Party.
One of the recent editorials I wrote was slamming the NDP for chasing votes with their bridge funding announcement in Lethbridge, highlighting that the funding would be much more effective in rural Alberta where Taber lies.
But still, run an editorial, column or quoted source that does not agree with one’s ridged stance that is not open for discussion or debate, and it’s the ‘liberal media bias’ card that gets played over and over again.
Bias is not publishing something one does not agree with, bias is making a concentrated effort over and over again to block having a particular voice heard.
A little while back on my personal social media I compared our local municipal franchise fee to the NDP’s carbon tax.
Check out the reasoning why each add on is made to your energy bill and they are near identical — to fund ailing infrastructure and energy efficient initiatives. It was not defending the carbon tax in any way, shape or form, but simply wondering why my local southern Albertans were screaming bloody murder about one, while the other, a franchise fee, with Taber charging the highest allowable amount under the law, gets a free pass from scorn? Bias was assumed.
Is it because one was instituted by the provincial NDP-minded government and the other was instituted by the conservative-minded local municipal government. An add-on tax, money grab, whatever you want to call it, and yet not the same degree of public scrutiny between the two, despite years of attempts by Times journalists to draw attention to it.
Speaking of energy bills, I can point you to a handful of blue-pumping-in-their-hearts hardcore conservatives that are extremely unhappy, who can show you their energy bills since deregulation happened.
When the next Power Purchase Agreement comes up for re-negotiation, will the UCP stand up for your average consumer, or will it be status quo in its various clauses, where there is nothing free market about it with the manipulation of the clauses? And what of politicians who serve on regulatory boards or draft policy miraculously getting ‘consultant’ jobs with said energy companies after their political careers come to an end?
I read of the UCP’s plan to cut red tape by one-third to encourage foreign investment. While that looks nice on the surface, it still has to be critically analyzed. Which one-third are we cutting? Needless duplications of bureaucracy that bogs down the business interest process and scares off investment with unnecessary hoops to jump through, or is it social licence red tape that stops corruption in an economic system?
You have to look no further than the United States to see what happens when regulatory practices are weakened for housing and banking institutions. Saying you are ‘Open for Business’ is not something to be particularly proud of if the avenues you took to get there are to try and make your workforce and resources as negatively exploitable as possible among various First-World countries.
Asking these questions is not some anti- (put political party in power here) bias, it is questions any citizen should be asking to hold their respective government accountable for the greater good of everyone.Whether you voted for a particular party/person or not on a municipal, provincial or federal level, no one gets a free pass just because they line up with your ideologies, ‘right’ or ‘left.’
Politicians are not responsible to answer to their particular party or personal biases with their tax-aided paycheques, they are responsible to their constituents. Blind faith in any party is not a good thing.