Editorial – Little picture ramblings

Jeff Burgar

Is it a war between desk-bound civil servants, and the public they are supposed to “serve?”
If so, the public is destined to lose. Every time!
Government is staffed by busy workers. Politicians tell workers what they should be doing. They do that through broad strokes with policies, laws and regulations. The bosses one or more steps below walk a political line between keeping the elected politicians happy, and keeping their own underlings happy. These “bosses” carry out the details.
So what happens when these bosses figure it is safest all around to do as little as possible? Keep their staff and department people happy. Don’t rock the boat. And sail happily along until it is time to collect a pension? Yes indeed, what happens?
We just said it. Do as little as possible. Don’t make waves. Sail happily along.
So, in the “little picture” of things, we have a simple detail like local government minutes of meetings. Check your own county, municipal district or town. How detailed are they why the council made a particular decision? There is no reason good minutes can’t be written. Let’s do as little as possible.
Some people actually say “The Municipal Affairs Department told us not to write minutes.” Please, show us something in writing.
What government these days is not really making rules and laws. It’s more like The Ten Suggestions, not the Ten Commandments. Why? Because provincial and federal governments these days too often decline to enforce their own rules.
Perfect example, and a “bigger picture,” is the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia. There have been unlawful blockades across Canada on many other projects. This particular pipeline is part of the biggest private investment in Canadian history. Elected officials of Wet’suwet’en bands and hereditary chiefs there, are at odds. So of course, blockades are the obvious answer!
These days, it is being argued the elected chiefs are not legitimate because elections are a “settler and colonist” construct. Incredibly, the BC government says to the people building the pipeline, get a court order, it’s out of our hands!
Well, yes, some of us also didn’t agree to pay income tax when we were born. Or ever. Income tax is just a “construct” of people in Central Canada trying to put us down. As in many places, blockades go up, blockades go down. Mostly, the people running them get tired, or get some vague promises, finally, from governments. But it just keeps going on when government does not enforce rule of law.
Back to little pictures. The last elections in High Prairie were run not particularly following any real rules or policies. The Alberta government says in effect, “Sorry, that’s a community issue. Work it out with council.”
Without picking on the elected council which is just caught in the middle of this, it’s sort of like telling the fox to discuss things with the chickens. Space does not allow elaboration, but there is definitely room for improvement in elections there.
The now deceased MLA and former deputy premier of Alberta, Larry Shaben, would say about all this, “You just don’t understand.”
Well, that’s for damn sure!

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