What should we expect from our politicians? Surely coherence and consistency are prerequisites (or should be) in carrying out their oaths of office. We also expect them to have a sense of vision and the courage to carry it out. It is our expectation that they become knowledgeable about the issues they become responsible for. Government leaders should additionally have a modicum of wisdom in fulfilling their executive duties. A sense of creativity would also be nice.
Canadians are generally non-combative in our approach to governance. Overall, we support a system of government which is based on a market economy with a leadership role for government in defence of individual and collective freedoms along with addressing community-wide social issues and environmental integrity. We do not expect everyone to agree with everything our various levels of governments do, but we are most comfortable with civil discussion and debate, and respect for our institutions and heritages.
One hope was that our parliamentary system of governance — founded on peace, order, and good government — would have shielded us from the current self-destructive excesses of our imperial southern neighbour, but that hope is fast proving false. The current unhappy state of Canadian political life is partly due to the crisis of confidence in the body politic within the U.S. We are, after all, a colony of the U.S. — economically, culturally, and most tragically, for our territorial integrity and defence (see the Northwest Passage and Arctic islands ownership).
On the national level, the parliamentary official opposition is now led by a politician who actively supports the Canadian version of the Jan. 6 Washington mob. This so-called Freedom Convoy illegally closed our borders, terrorized Ottawa citizens, and threatened Parliament Hill. He decries mandating vaccines against pandemic diseases and would introduce cryptocurrency as a national currency. In the meantime, the sitting Canadian government has fractured Canadian society into isolated groups of citizens, endowing a majority of Canadians with a generationally-based collective sense of guilt for the founding of our nation and our national heritage.
On the provincial level, the leading candidate for premier proposes we one-up Quebec in balkanizing Canada. Should an Alberta-only Charter of Rights and Freedoms be enacted, Alberta would become the only province with sovereign powers, contrary to the Canada Act of Confederation.
Thankfully, our city council recently regained some sanity as they abandoned a proposed financially non-viable solar panel farm project. Past practice of making final decisions in camera also may be discontinued. Unhappily, costly renaming of current streets and neighbourhoods will likely be added to our escalating tax bills. Holding public hearings on transformative residential developments in established neighbourhoods will continue to be managed as a politically necessary nuisance. Our dysfunctional public transit system is not on anyone’s agenda.
One had hoped the glorious days of summer would have prevented a winter for our discontent. Let’s prevent a sad fall by all of us helping our city council set a responsible budget.
Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician.