Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Open Letter to the Leaders of Alberta's Political Parties

Friends,
A week from tonight we will be listening to hear the results of the day's voting being announced.  Which means that we have had now 3 weeks of official electioneering (and at least a couple months of unofficial before that).  Things are heating up.

Over the last 3 weeks I have heard a lot of rhetoric.  Some I have liked, some I have strongly disliked, a lot I have pretty much ignored.  I have heard promises to balance the budget, to take care of Albertans, to improve the education and health systems.  I have heard people willing to actually discuss and a lot of people who were unwilling or unable to move off of designated talking points and enter into real discussion.  But I have not heard something I think very improtant.

If you are graced with the support of the most MLAs and so given the task of heading a government how will your government move to lift all Albertans out of poverty.  How will you ensure that every man, woman, and child in this province has safe and secure housing, a secure food supply, appropriate access to medical care (meaning both those things covered under Alberta Health Care and those things that are not--prescriptions, dental care, eye care...).  You all say you want to make Alberta a better place to live.  Often in my life I have heard about the "Alberta advantage" (which in reality was possibly more mythical than real in my experience).  A province that eliminates poverty, a province where all people have enough to live safely and comfortably.  Now that is something that is a true advantage.

And in the end lifting all Albertans out of poverty will help you accomplish your other goals.  It will grow the economy by leaps and bounds simply because people will be able to purchase things.  It will improve the efficacy of our education system because well-nourished children make for better students.  It will ease pressure on the health care system because living in poverty often has dire consequences for one's physical, emotional, and mental health.

You all want to make Alberta the best province to live in.  I take you at your word (even if I often disagree with your idea of what that means and how to get there).  A province with nobody living in poverty would be the envy of the rest of the country.  So how will you do it.

You have a week to tell me...

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