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We can make the world a better place

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 06:00 am

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What a refreshing and empowering expression of hope for the future in the two articles published in the Gazette on Jan. 5. The editorial, “Let 2013 be the year of humanity” and letter to the editor,” Good job, St. Albert” conveyed a spirit and witness of generosity by the St. Albert community. The articles helped reaffirm my faith in the basic goodness inherent in each human being, the cardinal principle upon which our democratic system of governance is founded.

The last statement in the editorial is one we should all stick on the front of our refrigerator to help keep us focused on the real priorities in life and how each one of us can engage in the good work of making the world a better place for everyone. “In 2013, let us work not from a position of insecurity but one of compassion and equality. Let’s focus on creating security, not of states, but of individuals by providing them with what they need – food, a home and the promise of peace.”

In contrast to the expression of cooperation and goodwill within our local community, the reality at our provincial, national and global levels provokes the temptation to be attracted to the voice of the cynic and conclude that the world is headed to hell in a hand basket.

Recent policy changes by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) that have severely cut funding to NGOs (non-governmental agencies) delivering excellent development programs to people in the global south, while granting money for the purpose of promoting corporate and national interests instead of real poverty reduction, are examples of how out of step our national generosity is with our local expression.

More confusing and disappointing to me are the results of a recent survey on the Yahoo home page, regarding a statement by Don Cherry on aid to Haiti. Two thirds of those responding to the survey see the world through Mr. Cherry’s eyes. In the hockey hype language of Cherry, “You got to be nuts to send more aid to Haiti and let’s look after our own first.” He also gives his endorsement to the “common sense” of the federal cabinet minister responsible for CIDA, Julian Fantino. The arrogant, simplistic and narrow nationalistic fervour of these statements are inconsistent with our local Gazette’s editorial statement and, despite our commitment to our local cause, a great majority of us buy into the tribal and self-promotional wisdom of Coaches Corner. Maybe the sport jackets Don wears has some subliminal effect on what two thirds of us consider as common sense.

It is time that the grassroots goodwill and leadership, which has been consistently witnessed in our own community of St. Albert, begin to penetrate the closed and arrogant minds of those representing us in the current federal Conservative government.

Let us applaud our community effort and good will. May this success help inspire a change of heart for our political leaders and empower each of us to “Make 2013 the year of humanity.”

Wilf Borgstede, St. Albert


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