'Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the House
Every creature was stirring, including many a louse.
The flags were hung by the podiums with care
In hopes that some visitors soon would be there.
Albertans were nestled, all snug in their beds
While visions of good government danced in their heads.
And Martha in her kerchief, and Henry in his cap,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter's nap.
When out in the Leg, there arose such a clatter,
Alberta sprang to Twitter to see what was the matter.
Away to our phones, we flew like a flash,
Ripped open the cases, and uncovered the trash.
Speculation abounded upon the #ableg hashtag,
Something was afoot, but how long would it drag?Then, what to our wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
With a smiling driver, charming as hell,
I knew in a moment it must be Danielle.
More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Wilson! now Bikman! now Fox and Pederson!
On, McAllister! On, Rowe, on Hale and Anderson!
To the top of the chain! To the other side of the hall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So to the PCs, the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of deceit, and Ms. Smith too.
And then, in a twinkling, we saw the unthinkable,
The downing of a ship, that seemed quite unsinkable.
As we drew back our heads, and turned back around,
Across the aisle, Ms. Smith came with a bound.
She was dressed all in black, from her head to her foot,
And her clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of betrayal, she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a peddler, selling her smack.
Her eyes how they twinkled! Her dimples how merry!
Standing next to a PC, who didn't call her scary!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
As she proceeded to impart, one final blow.
Prentice stood by, with a Machiavellian grin,
and inside he thought, "It's over, I win."
He had a smug face and butterflies in his belly,
Would his promises stick, like a bowl full of jelly?
He was bubbly and cheerful, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know, I had much to dread.
He spoke a few words, then went straight to his work,
Dismantling his opposition, then turned with a jerk.
The deed was done, Ms. Smith was pacified,
And giving a nod, they walked away gratified.
They sprang to their sleigh, to their team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard them exclaim, as Christmas drew nigh,
Democracy. Who cares? and to integrity, good-bye.
A punch to the gut.
That's what it felt like hearing the news about the floor crossings at the Alberta Legislature. I've spent the last few days experiencing a whirlwind of emotions from disbelief to betrayal to anger to infuriation. The moves by Danielle Smith and her eight colleagues have been the most deceitful, dishonest acts I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing. Even as I write this, the actions of these MLAs remain unfathomable, incomprehensible. There has been much hurt inflicted upon Alberta both to me personally and to all citizens.
Much has been written about what this will do to democracy in the province, the classless acts of the MLAs, and the impacts to Wildrose staffers right before Christmas. I agree with much of the commentary on what this means for Alberta.
I did want to comment on one of the negative consequences of these moves. That being the breeding of political cynicism.
As a political nerd, I spend much time trying to engage people in politics...especially at election time. I have spent countless hours trying to convince people that their vote counts and that they can choose which people and parties represent them. I constantly have to fight against political cynicism and apathy that keeps people away from the polls and from engaging with politics in any manner.
So often I hear the dreaded, "WHY?" Why does it matter? Why should I even bother? My vote means nothing. Nowhere is this sentiment expressed more acutely than within my generation.
Acts like those we witnessed this week only serve to reinforce these notions.
During the last election, I had a close friend who I begged and pleaded with to vote. After much convincing, he took the plunge and voted for the first time. He informed me this week that his vote meant s*%! and that he will never vote again.
What do I tell him? Well there's only a few bad apples that make everyone else look bad? Yeah, that one goes far.
This only goes to reinforce to politicians of all stripes at any order of government: Integrity matters. And Albertans are watching. That is, those who haven't already tuned out.