Phyllis was talking to me about some of the challenges she has faced while campaigning, and this is where my frustration set in. She spoke about talking to business people who said that while they would like to vote for her, they "couldn't" because if they didn't vote for the party in power, their area wouldn't get any government grants or other favorable financial consideration. She also said that business people were afraid that if it were to become known that they voted Green, people would stop patronizing their business. Think about that: people are afraid to vote for someone other than who is already in power. Afraid that their infrastructure or community grant needs will be turned away if they don't tow the line. Afraid that they will be ostracized.
Does this sound like Canada? Does this sound like a democratic process? NO! No, it does not. It sounds like the tyranny of an arrogant, elitist group of people who think they are entitled to continue ruling this province how they see fit, bullying citizens by partisan disbursements of their own tax money. Maybe they don't go around overtly bullying and intimidating people (just covertly so far), but we all know how bullies operate: through creating an atmosphere of perpetual fear and uncertainty. A bully doesn't have to actually hit you to get your lunch money, a bully just has to have a reputation that makes you afraid enough that you give it up 'willingly' and say thanks for the opportunity. Pretty soon you just get used to handing it over. We've been handing it over for 37 years -- it's time to stop.
So, Albertans, get out and vote! Vote for who you believe in. Vote for who will do the right thing, do right by this generation and the ones to come. Do right by the only planet we have to live on.
Oh, and vote while you still can. Not all Albertans are getting an equal opportunity to vote, because there aren't enough returning officers to go around - just part of the "Alberta Advantage" I guess. Some ridings that had polling stations in the last election will have to go without this time. But apparently The leader of the Conservative party, Mr. Stelmach, doesn't think this is an urgent concern:
"After the election is over we want to make sure that every area has an equal opportunity to cast their ballots," Stelmach said. (emphasis mine)Ah, democracy: Alberta style.