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GETSON: What Matters to you? A fragile Democracy, and Solutions for the Future

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

They have us outnumbered. When it comes to countries that don’t have a democracy as their form of governance, they outnumber those that believe in democracy. It could be further argued that there are even less pure democratic states, if you take into context which democratic countries still have an attachment to a monarchy in one way shape or form. So, is it any wonder that there are continued pressures chipping away at our democratic values and principles?

Further compounding the issue now is also the rise of socialist ideology. It could be argued that our predominantly capitalistic free enterprise systems are what gave folks the ability for a couple of generations sitting on relative wealth and lack of strife to pontificate on how bad our system might be. If you want to get a real perspective of the neo-Marxism mantra put effect, talk to someone who managed to get out of the countries that fully embraced socialist and communist ideals.

These are the folks telling me of all the alarm bells and warning signs they are seeing in our present situation - things that makes them afraid for our future; if we keep flirting with these socialist ideals, we will end up like the countries they fled.

When I was working in the United States managing project teams, I had the opportunity to present at several town council meetings. I also had a chance to get to know my US team members well, and in the process, had a chance to get a decent read on how they felt about their country and democracy.

Regardless of their political leanings, they take democracy seriously, and love their country. They are a patriotic bunch, and they value their freedoms. As we all know, they didn’t just negotiate their freedoms over a few years - they fought for them. Then of course, to settle the way their country would be run after that, they had a civil war over it. Fighting for your freedom, overthrowing an oppressor – it all tends to have a generational effect, something that can be very long lasting, imbedded in culture.

They pledge allegiance to the flag – to their country – not to a leader, or a monarch. They are one nation under God. Just about every position of authority is voted in, and the most critical positions have an expiry date, such as their Presidential terms. They sure didn’t want another pseudo king or queen reigning over them.

They needed to have a term limit for that kind of power, if their citizens were to be truly free. The US constitution is old compared to the Canadian constitution. Heck, I’m older than the Canadian constitution at the ripe old age of 48. Recently I had a chance to hear from the last surviving person who helped write our constitution, and to sign off on it.

Let that sink in for a bit. We as Canadians ran for a long while without a constitution, and in effect, the mother country as it were, being Great Britain, still itself does not have a succinct constitution. The UK is based on common law, bits and pieces of legislation, and precedence set over the long history of that great country, but they do not have a constitution as a standalone document like the USA, or Canada.

We are very fortunate to be able to have someone who is still with us to help us clarify the intent of our constitution, and how it came to be, as well as the challenges that they had with a very headstrong “knows better than the rest” Prime Minister at the time. It feels a little like deja vu all over again, hearing from a former premier who had to deal with

Pierre back in the day, compared to what we have been dealing with the last six years.

Something that is left out of the history books, it would seem, were the struggles for the provinces to deal with an overreaching Prime Minister. When they were formalizing the rights of the citizens, hearing from a man who was there up to his elbows in crafting our constitution provides unparalleled insight into what is taking place in present day, and how our constitution isn’t being respected as it should.

Unlike the US, we have not had the numerous constitutional challenges, courts ruling on it, or the constitution to be put into full effect during challenging times, real times of turmoil and strife. We as two Canadians simply do not have the same experience in these waters. The US had external and internal wars, real big events that could put the country at peril or risk of falling to enemies both foreign and domestic.

We, however, find ourselves in an area now, where many policies put into effect have yet to be tested in a court of law, under the real scrutiny of that document that sits above all others - the one document that the law, and the law makers are beholden too. That document was written to be permanent, not to be tampered with.

Times may change, politics may change, but the constitution was written to be unmoving and unfaltering– the thing that holds us together when things could start to come apart. So, when I hear from a person who was at the table, who helped negotiate the words that were to bind us together as a nation and ensure the rights and freedoms of all citizens of this country, I sure as heck listen to what he has to say.

When that person is raising the alarm that governments are stepping out of line with their policy, and that interpretations are being made loosely on what freedoms we have, I take that seriously. When I hear statements made that the constitution can be suspended by the current government in times of strife, war, etc. yes, I believe that as well. So does our constitution. It has four tests however, that the event would have to meet the applicable criteria. When those same tests are made against several of the current policies that are in place to manage covid…well, they fall short in layman’s terms, and massively short by a man who quite literally was an author of that highest law in our country.

We had better pay attention. It was my sincere belief that given the data we had at the time, and the impending challenges that our healthcare system was about to face, and for a very short time frame, extraordinary measures were needed to deal with the covid. We are no longer in that state, and we as a country need to put that pandemic genie back in the bottle. Omicron will be the last wave we should be managing. It will infect those who have a vaccine for the initial strain of covid, or those who have not. We are very near to the end of this. As we have seen in recent days, the UK Prime Minister made the declaration in the mother parliament – it’s over.

As some may be aware, I was asked before Christmas to be a guest on a podcast hosted by a gentleman named Shaun Newman out of Lloydminster. It was a great experience, and I had a chance to talk about many of the items that I’ve been working on over the last few years, including the Economic corridors.

To many, the concept of defining and formalizing these corridors is our way of building our future in North West Canada. We also spoke about how being an MLA works, how we came to many decisions in the House to vote on certain bills, and how I became an MLA in the first place. I also spoke about how if people are frustrated, they need to be part of the solution, to flex their democratic muscles as it were, and that begins with being a member of a political party, participating in a community, and being part of that

grass roots voice. Shaun liked what he heard and told me a number of the things I said gave him hope, and apparently many of his listeners across our country and in the US felt the same way.

Based on the feedback from that initial interview, I’ve now been invited to be part of a panel on the 5 th of February down in Kitscoty, Alberta to talk just about some of these items. Solutions for the future. I will be the only sitting MLA on the panel, but will be joined by Danielle Smith, Dr. Eric Payne, a lawyer by the name of Andre Memauri, and another Doctor yet to be announced. Tickets are currently on sale for the event and can be found at the Shaun Newman Podcast site (SNP), on my Facebook page, as well as my web page. I look forward to having fulsome discussions and sharing ideas with fellow panel members, as well as those in the audience who will be in attendance. There are several folks out there who still believe in our constitution, and really want to work on solitons that pull us together, not drive us apart.

I hope that you can be part of that. Your voice does matter, so flex your democratic muscle and be part of the group that is working hard to put the genie back in the bottle and implementing solutions for the future.

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