fbpx
Connect with us

Opinion

MCALLISTER: Protective or Punitive? Why government measures are an overreach of power

Perhaps the best thing that will come out of this strange season is an awakening to the fact that governments are not all-knowing and all benevolent, and that citizens are far more capable of carrying on without the hand-holding that governments are so happy to offer.

mm

Published

on

Society is a finely tuned relationship between those governing and those governed. Over hundreds, if not thousands of years, we have learned something vital to how governments and citizens work together to create a thriving future for all. Forgive me, but some lessons are just too important to forget, and it seems like this present state of COVID-fuelled emergency is causing some unfortunate forgetfulness in government ranks.

There is a reason why we have a government and an opposition, (supposedly) robust system of checks and balances, separate branches of government, a constitution, and traditions. These are not holdovers from a bygone era that we’ve somehow outgrown; these are the hard-won fruit of generations who, for good reason, made sure governments stayed in their lane. Left or right, each aspiring political movement needs a balance. There are no dreamy all-knowing sages sitting on Parliament Hill, no matter the fluorescence of their socks.

Simply put, it is a relationship of trust with solid guardrails to keep us moving forward. Both sides need to trust in the goodwill of the other. Citizens have a role to play, and we trust them to do their bit by playing by the rules, paying taxes, and stepping up to serve their country well. Likewise, governments have their work set out before them, and we offer them trust to do just that as they craft laws and uphold the rule of law for the good of all. It’s a balance, and it seems this balance is teetering in Canada.

We give our governments the power to call a state of emergency, because it’s in the best interest of all (or most) people. But it’s a power we don’t give lightly, and most definitely, don’t withhold the right to criticize the government when those powers are misused. The fact is that governments in Canada have used these powers to utterly transform the daily lives of her citizens. We are restricted in our ability to provide for our family, to travel, to gather, to worship, to play, to see family, and run businesses. This is profound. But make no mistake, Canadians fought hard to make sure that these powers, and impositions, are measured and revoked if necessary. 

So, thank you, dear governments, for trying to protect us. But know this, citizens are not numbers to be moved around; we are partners. We can be trusted to do what is right. It might seem crazy for government officials in their board rooms to trust citizens, but that’s how this works. Canadians are sensible people who can follow directions and make good choices. Threats of prison time, tickets for rollerblading with family, citations for basketball, and threats of police interference when neighbours stop (at a distance) to see how each other is doing on park pathways – all of these are happening right now in Canada. Each an example of government forgetting the relationship they have with their citizens. It should be a wake-up call for everyone. Make no mistake, this is classic government overreach. 

Governments love holding the reins of power; and wresting them back into the hands of citizens can take generations – history reveals how this goes. Governments in Canada at all levels – municipal, provincial, and federal – need to be very careful with every move that restricts basic freedoms. The trust we as citizens have given the government is not a free ticket to impose at every turn, we will and must demand account for every action that limits Canadians under these emergency measures. 

A word of wisdom to our government: trust us, treat us like adults and we will stand by our government. Mistrust us and impose gross over-reaching punishments, and we will not forget those checks and balances that we created to keep you in line. 

Perhaps the best thing that will come out of this strange season is an awakening to the fact that governments are not all-knowing and all benevolent, and that citizens are far more capable of carrying on without the hand-holding that governments are so happy to offer. Perhaps COVID-19 is teaching us all more than we know.

Bruce McAllister is a columnist for the Western Standard, Executive Director Rocky View 2020 & is the former Wildrose and PC MLA for Chestermere-Rockyview

Bruce McAllister is a columnist for the Western Standard, Executive Director Rocky View 2020 & is the former Wildrose and PC MLA for Chestermere-Rockyview

Opinion

LETTER: BLM mural is expensive virtual signalling

A reader says that Calgary’s mayor and councillors that want the BLM mural can pay for it themselves, and shouldn’t paint over what’s there already.

mm

Published

on

This BLM [Black Lives Matter] progressive virtual signalling by Calgary City Council has gone too far.  Look farther into BLM and you will see a well organized political movement. Now, funded by City Council to the tune of $120,000 of our taxpayers dollars for BLM murals in Calgary that helps this political movement. How does that help taxpayers Mayor Nenshi? 

 A respected Calgary artist, Doug Driediger, gave us (1995) Giving Wings to the Dream. Which in my opinion deserves respect from a virtual signalling city council. Our city is in a financial crisis, but city hall seems to find cash for pet projects that make little sense to hard working people who are just making it.  

Why are we, as a city funding this mural? It’s not public art, but it is a political statement from a BLM political movement! If BLM wants to paint murals, then BLM can fund that themselves and I hope not erase (paint over) a mural that may Calgarians have enjoyed over the years in downtown Calgary.  

Easy to virtual signal for a cause when it comes out of the taxpayers pockets Mayor Nenshi. You and city council want BLM murals then chip in and pay for it yourselves.  

It’s time for a change at City Council, time for a change from progressive virtual signalling councillors to fiscal responsible councillors who won’t get caught up in political movements and then pass the bill onto the taxpayers so they can pat themselves on the back. 

Respect of cultures all cultures.  

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB

Continue Reading

Opinion

CLEMENT: China’s Hong Kong crackdown comes to Canada

China isn’t just extending its iron rule over Hong Kong, but now charging non-Chinese citizens in the West for supporting the democratic resistance.

mm

Published

on

Hong Kong’s National Security Law is just over a month old and the Chinese Communist Party is already wreaking havoc in what was once one of the freest places on earth. The law – which effectively silences almost all criticism of the government in Beijing – has quickly been used to arrest pro-democracy voices in Hong Kong.

What started with the rounding up of pro-democracy students and political leaders has now turned to arresting prominent Hong Kong business figures, including Apple Daily’s founder Jimmy Lai. Lai was arrested this week on charges of “colluding with foreign powers,” when in reality his crime is that Apple Daily is a wildly popular source of pro-democracy news and commentary in Hong Kong. 

To make matters worse, the National Security law is also being used to target anti-communist voices abroad. The CCP formally charged a handful of pro-democratic leaders who have successfully sought asylum abroad. In addition to that, the CCP extended itself to charge Samuel Chu, who has been a naturalized US citizen for over 25 years. When asked about the charges laid against him, Chu stated “I might be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I will not be the last. If I am targeted, any American and any citizen of any nation who speaks out for Hong Kong can, and will be, too”.

A foreign power charging non-citizens for violating laws in a country they don’t live in shows that in the eyes of Beijing’s CCP, their reach knows no bounds. That overreach, and persistent threat, landed on Canadian shores just this week. Sing Tao – Canada’s largest Chinese language newspaper – rejected an advertisement that spoke out against Hong Kong’s National Security Law. 

While the paper is free (in Canada) to run whatever ads it likes, and reject whichever ads it doesn’t, it does raise questions as to why the paper would turn away several thousands of dollars in advertisement money. It isn’t baseless speculation to assume that the paper rejected the pro-democracy ad because it would put those involved on Beijing’s blacklist. The CCP has already signaled that it will charge US citizens for supposed crimes against the Chinese state, so naturally that same adventurism would extend to Canadians guilty of promoting democracy in Hong Kong.

This over-step by Beijing demonstrates that the CCP won’t just oppress their own citizens, which adds more fuel to the fire regarding how Canada should treat companies like Huawei or Tik Tok. Beijing’s 2014 Counter-Espionage law and their 2017 National Intelligence Law mandates that individuals and firms must support state intelligence work when asked, which pretty much guarantees that your data could be handed over to the Chinese government if Beijing were to ask for it. While these companies may claim that they are independent from the Chinese state, it’s incredibly unlikely that these companies wouldn’t comply if asked for data. If these companies didn’t comply, it is certain that the Chinese state would simply take what it requested, and reprimand those who didn’t comply. 

Regardless of what mainland owned firms want to be, their ties to the CCP are undeniable. Coupled with the fact that Beijing will not hesitate to charge non-citizens with crimes against the state makes for a toxic cocktail of privacy violations and state oppression. 

That’s why in liberal democracies, we must remain vigilant and support our fellow democratic voices who end up in the CCP’s crosshairs. Because at one point or another, this could affect people in our nations.

David Clement is a columnist for the Western Standard, a Director at 21Democracy and the North American Affairs Manager with the Consumer Choice Center.

Continue Reading

Opinion

MORGAN: It’s time for Joe to go

Cory Morgan writes that other politicians have been driven from office for much, much less than what Joe did.

mm

Published

on

With news that the Calgary Police Service has asked the RCMP to begin an independent investigation into Councilor Joe Magliocca’s expense scandal, it becomes clear that it is time for Mr. Magliocca to step aside from his council seat.

Citizens have little patience for well-heeled politicians abusing expense accounts on the backs of taxpayers. In 2012, a $16 glass of orange juice expensed by Conservative cabinet minister MP Bev Oda caused such outrage that Oda eventually resigned in disgrace. It may have been small peanuts and the controversy overblown, but it was a symbol of disrespect to taxpayers, rightly or wrongly. Magliocca’s abuse of his expense account is much worse than anything Oda did.

This wasn’t a one-off – or even an accident – for Joe. A forensic audit concluded that there has been a pattern of personal expense abuse carried out by Magliocca for years. From room upgrades to luxury hotels, to airline seat upgrades, to what appears to be the outright fraudulent efforts to cover up the event hosting expenses by falsely adding names of attendees who were never there, it is clear that Magliocca has a serious and ongoing problem with abusing the taxpayer’s trust. Any private organization would have fired Magliocca years ago.

Conservatives are few and far between on Calgary’s city council. Councilor Joe Magliocca had been considered one of them. That makes Magliocca’s repeated and flagrant abuse of taxpayer’s dollars for his personal benefit all the more odious and damaging. Nothing undercuts calls for fiscal restraint more effectively than hypocrisy. How could or would anybody take Magliocca’s calls for the city to tighten it’s fiscal belt when he has so brazenly gorged on the taxpayer’s flesh himself?

It’s not as if Magliocca wasn’t paid enough as a counselor to begin with. With a base salary of $113,416 plus benefits and pension, along with an already generous expense policy, there was no excuse for Maglioca’s abuse his expense account so flagrantly. It is a slap in the face to taxpayers who are currently wondering how they are going to make their mortgage payments in light of ceaseless city tax increases and who can’t afford to go on vacations, much less lavish ones fully expensed by their employers.

So far Magliocca has been silent and keeping a low profile. Yes, he paid back a few thousand dollars, but that was of course only after he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Joe knows he can’t justify this, so I am guessing that he hopes that if he keeps his head low that this will blow over. This is not going to blow over.

At this point, the only acceptable response from Joe Magliocca should be his immediate resignation as a city councilor. This may even serve Joe’s interests in a sense, because if there does indeed turn out to be criminal wrongdoing found and he is convicted, at least some evidence of remorse will have been shown prior to sentencing.

The next best thing at least would be for Magliocca to openly announce that he will not be running in the next election. His brand is befouled and there is no way he could win his seat on council again. It would leave Joe as a lame-duck councillor, but at least the path would be cleared for for principled candidates to begin campaigning to replace him in 2021.

If Magliocca does run again, he could cause damage to the entire outcome of the election. Joe could split the vote with a real conservative and put yet another free-spending councilor at the table at a time when Calgary can least afford one. Magliocca’s presence in the election would likely turn into a sideshow where his ill-behavior is used to try and discredit conservatives running in other wards or even for Mayor.

Joe Magliocca’s political reputation is irreparably damaged even if he doesn’t know it yet. The best thing Joe can do for the city of Calgary now is to step aside. This election is much too important and we can’t allow this circus to keep us all from finally getting the fiscally responsible mayor and council that we so desperately need.

Politicians have been driven from office for much, much less than what Joe did. It’s time for Councilor Magliocca to do the right thing.

Cory Morgan and a columnist for the Western Standard and a business owner in Priddis, Alberta.

Continue Reading

Sign up for the Western Standard Newsletter

Free news and updates
* = required field

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard owned by Wildrose Media Corp.