Friday, September 6, 2013
The leader of our official opposition party calls a public forum to stir the pot on an issue that has been, in my opinion purposefully spun in a partisan fashion. Private property was seized by the RCMP during the evacuation, and yes, some of that property was in the form of guns.
As I understand it, each firearm seized has now been returned and there are mechanisms in place to seek compensation for doors broken down and gun safes damaged in those seizures. But that's not enough for some people. They want to know why these seizures happened in High River and not Calgary or Canmore or any of the other municipalities that had evacuation orders. The inference is that the government was punishing High River residents for electing an opposition MLA.
That's patently ridiculous. The flood happened much faster in High River and caused more damage than in other municipalities and the evacuation order lasted longer. The RCMP have taken responsibility for the decisions made to seize property. I'll leave that decision for them to explain.
What's so sad is that this is the issue that the opposition has chosen to focus on. There're still a lot of families suffering and so many questions of compensation left to deal with. Getting people back into their own homes before winter should be at the top of our list of priorities.
Yet to a certain extent, we've all come to expect opposition parties to seize upon any notion of government wrongdoing to stir the pot of voter discontent. That's the quagmire we find ourselves in. The spirit of cooperation that existed in the worst hours of the flood have been long forgotten. It's back to politics-as-usual. Find the mistakes of the other guy and exploit them for self-serving reasons.
In this case, the government's response is no less surprising. Minister of Municipal Affairs, Doug Griffiths exploded in raw anger at the accusation that his government targeted the people of High River and somehow ordered the seizure of firearms in the community. His reaction was not one of calm response... which was so readily available to him. Instead, he reacted in unbridled fury, roaring that Danielle Smith's claim was "fucking embarrassing."
The relationship between our government and our official opposition has become so toxic, it brings Doug Griffith's own words to mind. On a train engine, or in the middle of my berry farm, I might scream the same thing. But I expect more from the people we elect. I expect them to remember they were elected to serve the interests of everyone in this province and not their own party's interests before the good of the province.
The whole episode is made sadder because so many Albertans have already muttered (about our provincial political scene): "F-this!" So many have given up on the system because it's so beneath what we expect. We're way better than this.
There're tons of good F-words our government ought to be focusing on: foresight... forthrightness... forethought... and future.
As an old berry farmer in standing out in my field. I'd say, "it's about FLIPPING time for my government to start working for the best interests of this province and stop putting narrow interests first."