Editorial – Who do MLAs truly represent?

Chris Clegg

What is the most important job an MLA can do for you?

Is it not to represent the wishes of the people who elected him/her?

Last week, 15 Alberta UCP MLAs, including Central Peace-Notley MLA Todd Loewen, decided to snub Premier Jason Kenney’s Step 1 orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In short, the MLAs claim they are doing what their constituents want contrary to Kenney’s wishes.

“As MLAs, we are calling on our government colleagues to recognize the plea of our constituents,” reads the letter signed by the MLAs.

“After 13 painstaking months of COVID-19 public health restrictions, we do not support the additional restrictions imposed on Albertans yesterday, and we will continue advocating for a transparent path forward that provides certainty to Alberta families, communities and businesses,” the letter reads.

The Opposition NDP weighed in saying the renegade MLAs’ actions were “undermining” public health measures in place to stem the tide of COVID-19.

This is almost a ringing endorsement of Kenney’s actions. It wasn’t mentioned in the news release, of course.

It does bring forth an interesting debate. Did the 15 MLAs do the right thing?

Perhaps not in regard to public health measures, but regarding the wishes of their constituents. Yes they did!

Constituents rightfully get upset when MLAs and MPs do not follow their wishes. Perhaps the best example occurs when MPs from Alberta and Saskatchewan vote against the energy industry thus cutting off Alberta’s wealth.

The NDP were also quick to charge that the 15 MLAs were “. . .using their positions . . . for their own political gain.”

Well, that assertion can be said of almost any issue. It holds as much water as a submarine with screen doors.

The skinny of these 15 MLAs’ actions is simple: did they do the right thing representing the wishes of constituents?

Too often the public complains that politicians get elected, then promote their own agendas. The public be damned! Politicians know best! We know what is good for them!

Frankly, we prefer that MLAs represent the people rather than behave like sheep and go ‘Baa! Baa! Baa!” at the whim of its leader.

Instead of criticizing these MLAs, we should celebrate them for showing courage and going against the wishes of its leader. That is true democracy.

And that NDP charge they are doing this for political gain? We have a question. Just what will they gain by going against Kenney? It’s usually a sure-fire way to get demoted to the back seat forever. What political gain?

Albertans’ freedoms are currently and continue to be under fire from a government that has no idea how to control the pandemic. What a mess! Alberta is no better off than we were 13 months ago.

At least we have a few MLAs who recognize this.

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