Commentary – A good place to start

Chris Clegg
Let’s follow a train of thought. Patience, people, and you will see my point.

When the telegraph was invented, it changed the way people did business. Messages were sent in an instant. Business was conducted in a flash. No longer did people have to wait for messages from snail mail or the Pony Express. Imagine the excitement of the first messages received from across the country.

Later, Alexander Graham Bell made one of the greatest discoveries in modern history when he invented the telephone. Again, it changed the way business and communication was conducted. Now, people did not have to read and decipher messages. They could actually hear the other person on the end of the line.

Later, communication took another huge step forward with cell phones. Communication was not only more instant, but much more accessible. Now, people could call each other in an instant from most locations.

All these inventions made it easier to do business, or simply enjoy talking to a friend.

Imagine in each of these cases how much faster business was conducted. Imagine the money saved. At one time, businessmen had to travel to meet each other and conduct business. It was no longer necessary.

Then video was invented. Now you could actually see the other person you were speaking to. Closed circuit TV, Skype and other improved methods of communication have made person-to-person contact as simple as the flick of a switch.

Yet – and this is a very big yet – we continue to spend a fortune in every corner of the planet sending our politicians to meetings and conferences.

Why? I realize there are a few of these junkets where personal attendance is necessary but the money wasted on the others boggles the mind.

I ask you, why does the mayor in Falher have to travel to Edmonton to meet with a minister when she could do so in a video conference?

Why does the mayor of High Prairie have to travel to Slave Lake to see her MLA?

Why does the mayor of Slave Lake have to travel to Calgary to see an oil industry leader?

Every single one of these could be done by video conferencing and save vast amounts of money and time.

We hear time and time again from our politicians that they want to save money. Imagine the money we could save by using the technology we have today at our fingertips. A lot less trips, a lot less expense.

The voting public needs to seriously ask its politicians why there is no desire to save money when the technology is so readily available. Why is there no desire?

The answer is simple. It’s nice to go on trips, conferences and conventions. Meet with the minister or premier in Edmonton, and perhaps do some shopping, visiting, see a show or an Oilers game at the same time. It’s one of the perks of being a politician.

Also, many of them get to go to places they would never dream of going in their lives. It’s a very nice way to see the country at the expense of someone else.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer gets hosed.

It is extremely unfortunate that the politicians don’t use the technology available to save us some money. The next time a politician tells you they want to save money, remind them how easy it is to use today’s technology for the benefit of all taxpayers.

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