Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can Captain Kirk Save Calgary-West?

Nation, I had the distinct pleasure of being in attendance at Kirk Schmidt's speech, "An Independent Vision for Calgary West and Canada" on Sunday, October 21st. I've gone on and on about all the reasons that partisan, party politics are going to inevitably destroy the foundations of representative democracy, so I won't belabour the point. Suffice it to say, if you live in Calgary West, I would strongly urge you to go to Kirk's website and check him out for yourself. A legitimate alternative has been sorely lacking in Calgary West for quite some time, and now that the riding HAS one, it is your democratic duty to get yourself informed. I'll help where I can, but getting in touch with the candidate directly is your best option.

Kirk feels that an independent MP is in the best position to hold the government accountable, support them when appropriate, and oppose them when required. Among the issues Kirk feels the people of Calgary West are concerned about:

  • Income Trusts - what, exactly, made the government change its mind?
  • Debt Repayment - Throwing all of the surplus at the debt doesn't, in fact, save us much more than investing the same amount at 5% rate of return. In the meantime, Student Loans and other programs could be more fully funded. If paying down the debt as quickly as possible makes sense, then let's do it. But if we're paying it all down just to obey political dogma, that's... not so good.
  • Environment - A specific plan is important, especially to Albertans. Strong support for Project Porch Light. More funding for public transit systems in our major centres.
  • Accountability - Electoral finance reforms brought in by the Harper Tories aren't working, as evidenced by the fact that they're now in trouble for violating the rules they just brought in.

My favourite quote from the entire speech, which lasted about 20 minutes, was this gem:
Leadership isn't just about talking, it's about listening.

From many other politicians, that would seem like a meaningless platitude. Having met and spoken to the man on several occasions, I can tell you that when I hear Kirk Schmidt say those words, I get excited for the people of Calgary West, and the chance that they have for meaningful representation in Parliament.

- E.S.

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