By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on October 30, 2019.
By Al Barnhill
“United we stand; divided we fall.” – Matthew 12:25
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” – Genesis 13:7,8.
More recently, in June 1858, the great American statesman and president, Abraham Lincoln, made this statement of truth when he confronted the leaders of the states who were advocating for slavery and breaking up the union of the United States. Where is Canada’s Abe Lincoln when the voices of ignorance and prejudice, special interests and political opportunism are flaring up in one of the most blessed parts of the world?
Person X (PX) is a 13th-generation Canadian, a third-generation Albertan who is well-educated, experienced in business, government and education and has travelled extensively in the “global village.” An ancestor was one of the “Fathers of Confederation.” PX’s father and PX were elected to their city’s council and had been active in their community. PX is a devout Canadian!
PX is troubled by the deteriorating political conditions in Canada … so troubled that when PX’s election ballot was cast it had no X on it, no preference of candidate was marked. That was not an impetuous decision. PX has been involved actively in Canadian politics and government since 1967 … when Lester B. Pearson was prime minister and Ernest C. Manning was Alberta’s premier. Obviously, PX took politics and government seriously.
PX was especially troubled by the Oct. 21 federal election. Studying the parties’ platforms, watching the “debates,” reading the daily news and discussing the issues with friends was neither persuasive nor reassuring. While walking 20 minutes to the polling station, PX reflected on the local candidates, their leaders and party platforms.
PX was bothered by the lack of civility during the debates. Candidates making derogatory personal attacks and interrupting each other was clearly ignorant and impolite as well as fragmenting the flow and completion of candidates’ views and their parties’ platforms. Such behaviour reminded him of children squabbling in the school yard.
Serious national questions flooded PX’s thoughts. Why were the party leaders not addressing the realities and serious threats of climate change and economic challenges? Where were the progressive programs? The visions for this wonderful country?
What bothered PX most was the failure of candidates and their parties to address the deteriorating social conditions in Canada … family break-ups, single-parent families, deviant behaviour, obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal gangs and their activities, including murders.
Of special concern to PX is the drug-addiction epidemic. In a recent article, the Canadian Centre for Addictions (CCFA) stated: “Drug use and abuse in Canada is a problem that not only ruins the lives of the users and their families, but also costs taxpayers $22.8 billion per year.”
Where and when in the recent national political campaign were these life-taking and hugely costly illicit drug issues discussed? Where, when and how were policies, programs and actions to combat these insidious, deadly drugs presented substantively during the campaigns for Canadian voters to consider and help them decide which was the better party and/or candidate to support?
Illegal drug production, distribution, use and abuse are a major social, health and economic problem. Where is Canada’s political leadership in facing and resolving these problems?
Al Barnhill has owned a management business for 42 years. He is a former professor of management at the University of Lethbridge, taught business administration courses for 20 years at universities in Canada and internationally, and in addition to consulting work in the private sector, has served as a senior consultant with the federal government and as a special adviser to the president of the federal Treasury Board.