Community Meetings

Not my finest hour.  Not my finest hour and half, actually.  Everyone was talking and making nice.  Our MLA was there looking earnest. I just seethed.

She has been looking earnest and pleasant for twelve years now and counting. Content, too.  Maybe even a bit smug.  And, in my opinion, she has accomplished little to nothing that whole time.  In fact, in those twelve years she has been to our community meetings only twice.  This was the second time.

Why did she come?  Well……………..there is an election coming up…….

The meeting went on for awhile as the various and often magnificent volunteers told of their numerous accomplishments in the community in a style not unlike students do for the teacher in an elementary class.  It was good.  It was nice. Some mentioned needs and plans for the future.  It was all typical community meeting stuff.

I hate that stuff.

Could be me, I suppose.  

It was also noticeable to me that none of the work done was attributed – even in part -to funds given by our MLA or Provincial government.  Although the Regional district was acknowledged for their continuing good efforts.  They are good. We have a good rep there.

The Feds, of course, have been absent in so many ways and our loss of Comox Radio is turning out to be a problem.  But no one counts on the Feds for anything. And none of the plans or projects suggested were addressed to the MLA even tho a few of them were entirely within provincial jurisdiction.

Clearly we do not ‘see’ the senior governments as doing much for us.  We never said anything to her, asked her for anything or put our MLA on the spot. She diligently took notes which looked like work.  It wasn’t.  And we were nice

But I wasn’t.

I had had quite a few conversations over the years with our MLA (mostly written) and they were always overwhelmingly unsatisfying and limp.  Often not responded to.  She was like cold custard, like Congee. They leaked off into ether and time and forgotten-ness.  Not even left firmly in memory….somewhere else…almost dream-like. Talking/writing to her was like talking to a smiling automaton while being slowly but heavily sedated. Her hand shake is a dead-fish.  She said or wrote blah, blah, blah and I would respond and so on but nothing was ever done. It was horrible.  It is also typical.  Smile-pasted-on, deflecting, looking sincere and concerned, saying nice things………..I have had enough of that.

Mind you, I have had enough with all politicians lately.

I hate that, too.  I WANT some hope.  I NEED some hope. Sadly, I GOT NO hope! Not from them, that’s for sure.  (I actually DO HAVE hope – in the almost invisible, definitely subtle, quirky underground local economies working at the neighbourhood and village level all over the world.  People are quietly revolting to established politics.  But just at a nano-level.)

I even asked her once if she had any power and she assured me that she was influential in the party (NDP).  “Good.  Then make them do something.  Fix ’em.  You are the one our hopes are riding on because the Liberals are crooks.  Prove that you are better.  Get ‘er done!”  That conversation was eight years ago.  Nada.

Yes.  Of course, I offered to help.  If you are gonna make demands, you have to do your part.  She didn’t want or need my assistance.  Offered free of charge.  

In my last missive to her I asked if John Horgan even existed…… the party is a specter, a shadow, a mist of nothing and getting less and less all the time.  “If you are so influential, why have the NDP seemingly de-materialized?”

Anyway…………bottom line: I am NOT happy with any government (even those in other countries) and you can imagine how I felt about this impotent and enabling group of limp nincompoops of which she is an influential member.  Isn’t that an oxymoron? Being influential and having power in a limp dish-rag of a group?

When I am NOT happy I say what I think.

I told her out loud and addressing all in the room that in 12 years she had collected over $1.5M in salary and benefits (I know it is more but that is her take-home).  She would likely collect another million if she quit today and just kept collecting her pension.  Did she think she had done a good job? She replied ‘Yes, I have!’.  

By any measure, she has not.  Bear in mind that the Provincial government gives us absolutely nothing but the one-room school which they threaten to close most years.  Bear in mind, any monies they do or should give us are OUR taxes in the first place.  They are just there to collect, distribute and take their cut.

They ALWAYS do that.  They never miss a paycheque.  The government takes theirs and more.  The opposition party takes theirs.  She takes hers.  They don’t give us ours.

Much to my surprise, she was defended by some.  Only two or three meekly replied in kind with my sentiments but, by and large, she remained unmoved, unchallenged and unscathed by the citizens so poorly served by her and the rest of the ‘entitled elite’ in government.  They like her!

I am guessing my own polling numbers tanked.

Well, that’s ‘community’.  That’s the way it is.  We have some great people out here. We don’t always agree but we get along.  We don’t think alike and many don’t seem to think at all but we all tolerate everyone and even enjoy each other’s existence now and then.

I am, it seems, the politically odd man out of a group of completely odd men and women.   I have expectations of our reps.  They are just happy to see ’em.

I hope never to get that accepting of politics-as-usual.

But I guess I need to stay away. Being nice and polite to politicians could be contagious.  Community meetings………………..

13 thoughts on “Community Meetings

  1. I’m sympathetic.
    Powerless but sympathetic.
    I expect nothing from the “whipped” political slugs that infest every level of govt and whoa be the person who defends a politician I loathe( which is …basically….most of them).
    Unfortunately, if any politician other than the party leader grows a spine and begins to ask their own leadership uncomfortable questions…….banished.
    And this is the “democracy” our fathers and grandfathers fought and died for…..
    The entire political system with its archaic rules and regulations formed years ago before lobbyists were even invented…….. needs an enema

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    • Enema and THEN a flush! I am just fed up putting on a polite Canadian face to a political charlatan. Leaches. Sometimes good manners is just stupid. With politicians, it is most of the time.

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  2. Yep.
    The niavety of newly elected politicians never ceases to amaze me.
    I have a cousin on a town council, A friend is an MLA and another friend helped a new MP get elected( actually every one of them was elected because the long term incumbents were so despised)
    “When I get in power I’m gonna change things!” was the battle cry.
    I’ve spoken to every one of them.
    They hate it.
    Completely powerless.
    “Shut up. Vote as you’re told, Say nothing unless we approve it”
    Democracy in 2016
    But the moneys ok.

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    • I learned that just running the one time. Before I even got to be nominated I was told I was going to be a puppet (in so many words). The party system is SSSSOOOOOOO wrong.

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      • Well,
        You could always run against the lazy sack of “shite” that represents your riding in office and then go crazy as an independant public official.
        Pull a “trump” and just start spewing the most outrageous, vile, unsupported bs and have some fun!
        Besides. you got to boot out the sloth for at least one 4 year term……..
        Think of yourself as “Ralph Nader” with the social skills of a wombat.

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      • I actually do have SOME social skills. It is just that they are veneer thin. Maybe less. Measured in microns. I can be NICE. But only for SOOOO long. After that (10 seconds?) let us GET TO THE POINT, TELL THE TRUTH AND MAKE SOME DECISIONS. And after that, maybe a pint of local ale and then let us all GET ON WITH IT!

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  3. Perhaps like most MLAs her vision of the job, as one in opposition, is to show up and oppose. In my riding,we have an opposition MLA totally under the radar. Thus he can do nothing for me and in all the years I’ve voted, my party seldom gets into power. Net advantage to my riding is zero. What follows is a digression. Saturday morning was cool, cloudy, with light rain. I drove by a lady on a downtown bench looking worse for wear, with her possessions piled high in a shopping cart. What her mental state was, is not clear but she sat there talking and rocking. The “Tyee” reports that social assistance in BC, has not risen for ten years. The government continues a twenty year feud with BC teachers. Billions are poured into roads and many of the are tolled. Gas is 25 cents a litre higher than most cities in Canada. The BC Government in claims that they will lower taxes but instead they pile on more fees. Government thinking seems to be that higher fees are not taxes thus the user pay slight of hand. My local MLA according to the “Handbook on MLA Duties”, claims that he is doing what he should for the riding. His party is branded as the high tax party but the recent rise in fees: ICBC, tolls, BC Medical, gas transit fee, and BC ferry surcharges point to the party in power who claim not to raise taxes. Hyperbole worthy of the Donald.

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    • Well, she self described as “opposition in legislation and drafting policy” which, of course, requires meetings ad nauseum. But NO ACTION, NO SWEAT, NO HEAVY LIFTING! In other words, she self describes as a ‘meetings-only’ person!
      I should think that being in ;opposition’ should also mean: GETTING HOLD OF THE REINS OF POWER and that does require a lot of work. And it should include acting-as-if-you-had-the-power…..because being an MLA HAS to have some inherent power attached, doesn’t it? I mean, if you were a bureaucrat and an MLA was asking for a result, wouldn’t you provide it regardless of their party?

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  4. First of all, I’m still trying to figure out Canadian politics. I actually like our MLA. He’s NDP so is part of the opposition. He keeps us informed via the local newspaper and radio, and now lives here in Powell River so we see him around town a lot. He’s accessible and an all around nice guy. He stands up for local issues and issues for all of the Sunshine Coast which he represents. On the federal level, we had better representation when we were part of the riding that included West Vancouver. Now that we are lumped with northern Vancouver Island we don’t see or hear much. – Margy

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    • That last sentence you wrote kinda says it all…………..
      Canadian politics is not good and needs changing. The BIG promised movement for electoral reform currently being limp-wristed through the ‘consultation’ process is long overdue. And Just-in is already waffling over it. It’s a sad case. But worse is the parliamentary system. Your MLA is just a ‘nice guy’ and that is because he is in the castrated opposition. Can’t DO squat. Sadly, even the governing party’s backbenchers are in the same position – impotent except for easier access to snivelling their agenda to the ‘cabinet’ that has the real power and is – for the last few decades – increasingly ‘whipped’ by the premier. Put bluntly, we have a dictatorship thinly veiled by layers of pretense. Which party ‘in’ doesn’t seem to make a difference either. BC has sold itself to foreigners (lumber, mining, petro-resources, fish) forever. And they have not reinvested in we the people. Without reinvesting in our own citizens, we will continue to be resource-supplying lackeys. And I am feeling kinda laid back today…….ask me when I get ticked…………..

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      • It is interesting what you say about the lack of reinvestment in BC due mainly to a government policy which facilitates resource extraction with little regard to the future. BC is treated as a hinterland which favours the extractors over the residents. Yes trees are replanted to a certain extent, some fishery hatcheries replenish stocks, but little incentive is offered to producers who want to add value to our resources. Why are we exporting raw logs?

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      • Makes no sense. But, even worse, why not diversify the economy (like they have with movie production) in other areas? Why do we not have great laboratories and ‘tech’ districts? Why the hell don;t we grow more of our own food? Why does Money’s Mushrooms (I had been in their mushroom barns in the Fraser Valley years ago) import their product from China? Makes no sense. Why is Okanagan fruit more expensive and less high quality in BC than in Belize? Why is all our lumber second or third grade? The list goes on.

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      • My parents wanted to install a fir floor that was clear, vertical grain and free of pitch pockets but the flooring had to be imported from Oregon. High value logs are exported to high value extraction mills off shore

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