Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Welcome to the 2011 federal election. Like many other Canadians, I was hoping this election wouldn't come this spring. I'm in the middle of one of my busiest seasons as a greenhouse operator... and that's aside from my full time job as a locomotive engineer... but such is democracy. This election comes as a result of the disgraceful conduct not only of the Conservative party but the selfish interests of the other traditional parties in Canada as well. This last parliament just didn't seem to understand its role is to govern for all Canadians... and not act in the narrow self interest of a few.
This Canadian has had enough. Although I'm crazy busy... I hope I'll never be too busy to engage in Canadian democracy... and that includes the very distinct honour of running as a candidate for a party whose values I have pretty much adopted (though the Greens are tolerant of me for not agreeing with everything... all the time).
Other Canadians are waking up to the reality that a big change is needed in this country to ensure our democracy remains something to be proud of and... something that works for all Canadians.
I will be campaigning in this election on a platform of:
· Sustainable rural Alberta communities getting a fairer financial share.
· Responsible and honest government, working with anyone with good ideas.
· Putting the environment on a par with the economy.
· Ensuring the needs of hard-working Canadian families come first.
It's time for real accountability and integrity, where Canadians feel their political parties are working for the good of Canadians, rather than simply the good of their own partisan interests. In this election I want to engage other Canadians on:
What a sustainable rural Alberta community would mean. There is no greater force for change than a community that decides for itself how it wants to move forward... and has the resources to make it's dreams reality. We need to begin rebuilding our infrastructure to meet our unique needs, for local jobs, for the well-being of rural Alberta families.
We need to re-interpret what responsible government means to us. Above all, ethics and integrity and accountability must have a standard real Canadians agree with... and not some gobbledee-gook political hybrid that allows politicians to twist and turn. It means respect for democracy and fellow Canadians. It means cooperation, compromise, courtesy and collaboration. It means building an economy that has a long-term future that will guarantee Canada is still prosperous long after we are gone.
I was hesitant about being a candidate this election. I'm just an old berry farmer and railroader. My wife tells me I'm not a politician until I actually get paid for my efforts. I think she's right. No one can accuse the Green Party candidate for Vegreville-Wainwright of being an opportunist. This will be an uphill campaign. I have a long way to go to catch the Conservative incumbent. Still, to be able to play this role in this great democracy of ours still brings a lump to my throat.
My goal over the next month is to listen to... but also engage my neighbours... in the streets... in cafes... in schools with tough questions and issues. I'll be on Facebook... this blog and I'll even try to figure out Twitter... but I'll also have to go to work and take care of my greenhouse. I don't have the luxury of time off to campaign... or big money behind me.
Although most of Canadians (me included) are tired of so many elections, I ask everyone to recognise how important our democratic rights are. Many of us did not want this election at this time... but we've got it. Now... let's honour it with our best efforts to understand the issues... dispense the partisan crap... hold our chosen parties and candidates to the highest of our own standards... and vote for the best person to represent us in Ottawa.