I want to once more express my frustration over the way our MLA Blake Richards handles his duties, particularly in regard to his tax-dollar supported newsletter to constituents and the accompanying survey.
The way the questions are worded is obviously intended to “dog whistle” his supporters and elicit a desired result. His “message” on the previous page illustrates how strongly his mind is already made up.
“It’s time for this government to act on behalf of Alberta and build pipelines.”
Then he writes: “We’re too familiar with the feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment that have affected us for too long.”
He’s already worked himself up into a froth, and he wants his constituents to feel as angry. “I’ll use every opportunity to hold this government to the task of working for Alberta and demand (my italics) that they rise to the occasion. Nothing less is acceptable for me, for our Conservative team, or for you. No matter what, we will put Alberta first.”
First, these words come from a mind that will clearly not entertain any other possibilities. Second, this is an empty, bombastic rant. Richards is a member of a political caucus that tells him what to do.
Third, this is an immoral and impractical position. He is a representative of an Alberta constituency, and obviously should speak up for constituents’ concerns. But he is also part of a Canadian system of government that should be balancing the needs of all Canadians and the health of our country.
He also has to acknowledge that, while support for the federal Conservatives is strong in Alberta, his party lost elsewhere – in some cases, badly. Is he suggesting that his federal party only supports policies that Albertans want? This “Alberta first” campaign has obvious Trumpian overtones. It drives a divisive and unhealthy pre-occupation with specific economic interests.
And, maybe more importantly than my other complaints, his approach to his responsibilities precludes any rational and sensible debate about the future of fossil fuels in Alberta, Canada and across the world.
There is a legitimate point to be made that we shouldn’t be investing vast amounts in pipelines and other oil infrastructure when mass alternative energy sources are gaining ground that could benefit Alberta. Richards seems to just want to manufacture outrage and discontent. With this approach, he’s certainly not representing my interests, or, in fact, the long-term interest of Albertans.
- Andy Marshall