Like the rest of Canada, last night, I watched with interest as my neighbours to the east voted in an NDP majority in Alberta, after an eternity of conservative government. At this time, I want to urge calm. An NDP government is neither:
- the returning Christ Jesus, coming with benevolent left-wing salvation for you all, nor
- a commie devil incarnate, here to make you line up for industrial grade toilet paper.
After all, if the world’s political spectrum runs from 1 to 100, Canada’s political spectrum runs approximately a 1% spread, so let’s just try to have some perspective. In a global context, instead of a government that’s a tiny bit slightly right of middle, you now have one that’s slightly left. The end is not nigh, nor is nirvana. Let’s be real.
But there is something encouraging about the election result and that is that people were willing to make a change at all. A record number of women elected, a record number of minorities, and a new political party – I believe these are inherently good things: women and minorities because their voices matter and they deserve and need representation at tables of power. A change of government is a good thing because it shift the political agenda that underpins social and public policy. Unless there is change from time to time that agenda becomes entrenched, and we start to mistake it for objective truth.
Still, change is hard. Old ideas, perspectives and policies will be lost, others will take their place, and these will be, on all sides, beneficial, negative, neutral for individuals, communities, and the province as a whole. Regardless of whether you’re celebrating a win or grieving a loss right now, being human beings, we will quickly begin to emphasize the negative. The easiest thing now is to criticize a new government, or sit back and wait for it to start serving you. Don’t.
Dry your tears (of joy or devastation, I don’t judge) and do your part. It won’t be easy, but it will be OK.