Smoky River Regional
The world seems to be reeling from the unexpected outcome of the United States presidential election.
It appears no one expected Donald Trump to win. But then again no expected the vote for Britain’s exit from the European Union to go the way it did, and no expected the NDP to win the election in Alberta. Perhaps it is time for us to re-evaluate our expectations.
Many had predicted that Hillary Clinton would sweep the U.S. election. The media would release polls supporting this, highlighting the fact that voters didn’t really like either choice.
For many voters, it came down to who they disliked least. And I think many people who favored Trump would not publicly state that for fear of being associated with some of Trumps comments.
While I was somewhat surprised at how well Trump did, I wasn’t surprised he won. I think we are seeing a trend were society is voting against the established governments and voting for something new.
The Brexit vote was a vote by the British to retain their independence. The pollsters didn’t expect it. Albertans voted against the established Conservative government and the pollsters didn’t expect that one. Certainly, none of the media or pollsters expected Trump to do what he did, but Americans voted against the long held establishment that ran the U.S. government.
What seems to be common in all three cases is that a large majority of people felt like they were not being listened to.
Many of us cannot comprehend how disenfranchised many voters are. But people are losing their jobs, losing their homes and losing their way of life. Many Americans have lost their jobs due to trade agreements, many Americans have lost their homes due to the housing crash and I suspect many
Americans have lost their faith in their status quo presidential families.
I suspect many Britain’s were feeling a loss of self identity, a loss of their cultural identity and the British way of life.
To some degree we as Canadians can relate, a simple example being the loss of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, being replaced with “Season’s Greetings.”
In the case of Brexit, the U.S. Presidential election and the Alberta election voters were rebelling over not being heard by their governments.
Governments have growingly determined that they know what’s best for the voters. They have stopped listening to the voters, they have isolated themselves in their government buildings and they are not paying attention to the outcomes of their decisions on the majority of the voters.
The Alberta NDP have been in power now for more than a year and a half.
In that time, they have made policies that are dramatically affecting how our province operates. Those decisions will have dramatic impacts on many people, and I believe the negative impact will be most felt by the rural regions of our province.
I think these three recent events provide valuable lessons for our government to learn from. I think the most important lesson is that a government’s role is to govern for the people that they were elected to govern over.
A government’s role is not to enforce and implement their ideologies, it is to take care of the province, it finances, its resources and its people.
In the case of the U.S. government they implemented Obamacare, an effort to provide healthcare for all Americans, a plan that on the surface sounds good, I think we would all agree all people should have access to affordable healthcare.
In the end, however, Obamacare was anything but affordable with some states having premiums over $1,000 per person. The intent was good; the outcome was not. And I suspect Trumps promise to repeal Obamacare helped his path to victory.
One must question if the Alberta governments policies on minimum wage, carbon tax and Bill 6, all implemented with good intention will have a similar impact.
The intent may be good, but have Albertans asked for these policies and will the benefits of these policies make life better for all Albertans?
Is it the Alberta governments role to put the best interests of the Country and the World ahead of all Albertans, the people they were elected to govern over and is it the governments role to force an ideology on Albertans, whether it is in their best interests or not?
The NDP government may have been voted in for change, but have they misread what that change was?