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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Worth reading


Just back from another trip to Salt Spring Island, and therefore another opportunity to observe the insanity here at home from a distance. It’s not only the distance, of course: the island vibe is different, so that one sees the same old stuff in a new light.
In that light, might I suggest that everybody get out of here for a week.
Go someplace — anyplace — where the locals see things a little differently. Which is most places, really, other than Arizona. Spend the first 2 or 3 days paying attention to your new surroundings, drinking it all in, chatting nonchalantly with the locals, breaking your routine…and then turn around and look back at the place you came from.
And tell me that we don’t look ridiculous.
It has been a tough couple of years in Alberta. No — let me correct that. The last couple of years have been tougher than we’re used to.
Which is not to suggest for a moment that the financial and emotional pain that the jobless are feeling isn’t real. Or that those who still have jobs aren’t feeling real stress and anxiety over the uncertain economy, over how secure their own jobs are, and over the workload which they used to share with one or two colleagues in better times. And while there are bright spots and positive signs in Alberta’s economy going forward, that’s cold comfort if you’re not in one of the sectors that’s doing well or working for one of a few companies in the oil and gas sector that have recently started hiring again.
But while being scared, anxious, and depressed are totally understandable individual reactions, it’s our collective response that looks ridiculous.
Normal Albertans (and yes, I use that word intentionally and will explain why in a moment) are going about their business…head down…helmet on… not rocking the boat…trudging. (“To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on.” — Geoff Chaucer’s character in A Knight’s Tale)
“Normal” is a loaded word these days, but I’m using it to describe the tragically silent majority of us because our silence is leaving the field wide open for a handful of people who are the farthest thing from “normal” you’ll find north of the 49th to move in and fill the vacuum.
A year and a half ago, normal Albertans acted abnormally, took a chance, raised their heads above the ramparts and voted in an NDP government. Or, more accurately, voted out a bloated, arrogant, out-of-touch and borderline incompetent PC party whose only remaining identifiable value after 44 uninterrupted years in power was the hunger to remain in power.
Why did we do that? Well, the silent majority wanted change, and in 2015 the NDP was the only reasonable choice. The Wild Rose’s social and fiscal values were simply too far right for most of us.

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