Sometimes it’s the escape of the first few drops of water that signals the eventual collapse of a dike.
That just might be the case with Red Deer’s two MLAs and Alberta’s Conservative government, in general.
It’s a stretch, admittedly, to believe that Alberta’s vote-like-sheep electorate is about to change its ways, but it’s possible.
Historically, letters to the editor, received by this newspaper, rarely — if ever — criticize either the representative for Red Deer South or Red Deer North.
But lately the Red Deer Advocate has started receiving such letters, and they’ve been written by people who are well respected by the community at large.
Consider, for instance, a letter from Don Hepburn published in Wednesday’s newspaper under the headline MLA Cal Dallas isn’t fooling me.
In the letter, the Red Deer champion of publicly funded health care points out that he’s not about to be “buttered up” by a feel-good advertisement purchased in this paper by Dallas or convinced that it “can really make up for the ongoing assault of his government on the seniors of this province.”
Judging from Hepburn’s letter, seniors are really steamed about the way they’ve been treated by the Tories.
If so, fair enough. They’ve been treated badly by Premier Ed Stelmach and his pals, but one wonders if, as a group, they have the gumption to follow through and make the Conservatives pay at the ballot box.
Not bloody likely!
Stelmach and his colleagues know perfectly well that it’s largely seniors and middle-aged adults who will return them to office with a majority, time after time.
It’s absolutely not an exaggeration to suggest that you could run a donkey, under a Conservative banner, in most Alberta ridings (provincial or federal) and he or she would get elected every time.
That’s not to suggest that either Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas or Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski are donkeys. In fact, to be fair, both are intelligent and capable individuals who any political party would be happy to have as representatives.
Yet, as letter writer Tom Skoreyko mentioned in a June 11 missive printed in the Advocate, headlined I won’t vote for Alberta’s Tories in the next election, a person can legitimately ask if our local MLAs are simply going along with the flow when it comes to the province’s delisting of some health services and the bumping up of pharmaceutical costs for many seniors.
No doubt, serving the electorate is a challenging job, but it shouldn’t be a free ride. For too long, here in Central Alberta, the general public and media have let our local politicians get away with whatever they want simply because voters overwhelming support one political party — the Conservatives. It wouldn’t hurt if voters and the media started asking some tough questions.
MLAs and MPs, not to mention city and county councillors, are paid with tax dollars.
Albertans have a right to insist that they listen to voters.
Lee Giles is an Advocate editor.