Governments in Canada – including federal, provincial and civic governments – have reached what I describe as “decay by bankruptcy.” This decay by bankruptcy describes the bankruptcies these collective governments face in funding, ideas, leadership, ethics and honesty, and in accountability. These governments are failures, and the result of these failures has been an alarming collapse in national, provincial and civic pride and declines in the more “measurable” indicators of economic growth, invention, new business creation and declining educational standards. Once a nation begins this type of decline, velocity increases, and stopping the decline becomes incredibly difficult.
One local example serves to highlight this bankruptcy. Individuals committed to our “library industry” have made no secret of their desire for a second library in St. Albert. I am in no position to analyze whether such a library is required, and this commentary will not address this issue or answer the question. Rather, my comments focus on how this desire has been handled, and how bankruptcy leads some individuals to claim “No” actually means “Yes.”
In our recent civic election, voters were invited to vote on whether the planning and funding process for the library should continue. The question was not worded in that way, but voters went to the polls believing the question was: “Should St. Albert proceed with the building of a second library?”. That is the question the voter thought he or she was answering and they voted accordingly. What happened after the votes were counted highlights what I’ve labelled as this decay by bankruptcy. When the individuals who want the second library realized that the vote was clearly “No,” they immediately began to call into question the legitimacy and result of the vote, and the need to continue on with plans to build the second library, regardless of what the voter said. Had citizens voted “Yes” in majority, library supporters would have instantly accepted the result. However, when the voters did not give them the endorsement they wanted, they proceeded to claim that “No” really didn’t mean “No,” it meant something best described as “Yes, sort of.”
The people clearly understood they were voting “Yes” or “No” to building a second library. The people have spoken. Unfortunately, library supporters have begun to act like the determined child who wants candy, despite their parent’s refusal, and believes that constant whining and complaining will ultimately get them the item they want.
The voters have spoken, and every elected government has the responsibility to honour the truth of our system and respect the wishes of the people. To refuse to accept such public direction insults the voters and weakens our democracy. Please do not run public service ads encouraging people to vote if, at the same time, you also send the message: “We’ll ignore your vote if we don’t agree with you.”
All three levels of government in Canada have reached this decay by bankruptcy and our country is paying the price. If we do not demand that these governments change their ways, history has shown, on countless occasions, that the inevitable and ultimate result is societal collapse or revolution.
Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.