Regardless of where you stand (or lie huddled in an underground bunker) on this whole Mayan Apocalypse thing, let me suggest that the ancient Mayans had a better understanding than Pope Gregory XIII, the guy who gave us the calendar we use today, of when a calendar should end.
The Mayans ended theirs on December 21st – the Winter Solstice, the shortest day (or longest night) of the year. The days start getting longer the very next day, and if that’s not a logical beginning to a new year, I don’t know what is. So given that I am writing this rant on the afternoon of December 20th and given that Christmas is coming, it’s family time, and I have no idea whether I will feel the ambition between now and Gregorian New Years Day to write another (although I invite you to check back frequently in case I do), herewith and in honor of the Mayans is my year-end report.
I want to touch on three topics.
It’s déjà vu all over again, or Alison Redford’s Dance of the Seven Veils:
Just as in Casablanca, Inspector Renault was “shocked – shocked – to discover that gambling was going on in Rick’s Café”, we learn today that the Redford Government is not going to balance the books next year. Who could have possibly seen that one coming? Read Don Braid’s column in the Herald for a good summation of the rhubarb into which the PCs have put us.
Three things come to mind:
- They couldn’t have forseen that oil prices would fall? That’s what oil prices do.
- I told you Alberta needs a Plan B. Our economic well-being today is almost entirely tied to the oil sands, and that is folly. I will have more to say on the nuts and bolts of Plan B in the new year.
- If we the people expect this much government spending – and Alison Redford insists we do – then we need to start paying a sales tax. Or something. You can’t sustain this level of spending with unstable oil and gas revenues.
I’d sooner give Howie Mandel provincial funding for hair plugs than give Mayor Mandel a dime for a new arena:
I’m sorry, Your Worship, and nothing against Edmonton, but in what parallel universe can you justify asking the province for a hundred million dollars to build a new arena for a billionaire – especially during the NHL lockout fercrikessakes???
It’s been three lockouts since I could justify laying out the astronomical coin required to take a family of four to an Oilers or Flames game. I said when this nonsense about wanting provincial funding for an arena started – and that waslong before the lockout, when I was in a better mood – that the Premier should tell the Flames and the Oilers they can have money for a new arena just as soon as they win a Stanley Cup.
These still aren’t the droids you’re looking for:
Kudos to Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr for pressing ahead, even as the conspiracy theorists in his party were implying that he was some sort of Fifth Columnist for the Redford Tories for suggesting that the Liberals, the NDP, the Alberta Party and the Greens should start talking about finding enough common ground to enable some kind of “Unification of the Left”. On December 19th, Hehr hosted a Pints and Politics evening to see how much interest there might be in having such a conversation. There was enough curiosity to fill the bar. Federal and Alberta Liberals, Alberta Party people, a number of federal Green Party supporters and at least a smattering of New Democrats showed up.
Now the bad news: as is almost always the case in this province when self-proclaimed “progressives” get together to try and find their way out of their morass, there was no program. No structure. No facilitator. No plan. And nobody taking the lead. I asked Hehr about it, and he replied, “Nah, tonight’s just for people to go around the room and chat informally. We’ll do something structured next time.”
I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a “progressive” say, “We’ll do something structured next time,” I could fund an arena in Edmonton.
There are some “progressives” who are content to show up at every Pub Night to do nothing more than drink and talk politics. But there are many who are looking for some structure and direction to give some shape to this Grand Experiment in which they would very much like to participate. They want to have a hand in creating something that will make politics and public service relevant to them and their friends and family – you know, all those people who don’t vote – but when they ask, “What can I do to help?”, all they ever hear is, “We’ll get back to you.”
And it seems nobody ever does.
But enough of this idle chatter.
In case I don’t write again before then, Merry Christmas to you and yours!
And if there is Mayan Apocalypse, see you on the other side!