On the Wild Rose: Government as a Service Industry

Why do you hire a plumber? Why do you hire an electrician? Why do people specialize in trades?

Well, the answer is obvious. They know something that’s vitally important to our well-being that other people don’t understand. I couldn’t change my plumbing to save my life. I can barely unplug my toilet without thirty other things breaking in the process. So I hire someone who is an expert in this field to ensure that everything is working properly, I give them a sum of currency for their time, effort, and expertise, and eventually if that person needs a rant written online, maybe they can hire me for my services.

Government is no different. We as people don’t know how to fund a health-care system, we don’t know how to police our streets and deal with crime, and we don’t know how to keep our kids educated. This is why we have government: they are experts in a job field we know nothing about and can perform a task that we feel is beneficial to us as a whole.

This is where the Wild Rose Party went terribly wrong. They ran on a grassroots campaign of “ordinary people taking back government.” But think of it this way, are you going to hire the journeyman electricians who knows how a house is hooked up and how everything works, or are you going to hire a former pastor who just started working as an electrician because he feels he can do it better and if he just keep praying, the electricity will work again and strike down all the queerosexuals.

The idea of having people who are on the same level as everyone else running government is a very romantic notion (and if you think about it, ironically enough, a very communist notion really, but we all know that the Wild Rose ain’t much of them thinkin’ types) but it simply would never work. And if it did, we’d all be in a lot of trouble.

Let’s say Pastor Dave made it into politics: he got elected (praise Jesus!), he’s off to Edmonton (with all them big city folk types) to work at the Legislature (that’s one of them awfully big evolution-type words from Satan). He sits down at his desk, shuffles the paper, klinks the stapler a couple of times, nibbles on a pen, and twirls a bit in his chair. And not a hell of a lot else. Why? Because he doesn’t know the job. And unlike a lot of other jobs, there is no onsite training.

Here’s where we might be in trouble if Pastor Dave starts trying to propose and pass bills.

So, we’ve established he doesn’t understand anything. We know he doesn’t know how to pass a bill in government ($5 to anyone reading this that can name all the steps) so who’s going to help him figure out what to do? Other party members? But they’re all busy passing their own bills. Opposition party members? But they’re all queero-lovin’ coloured types. Who’s left?

The lobbyists.

Unfortunately, where government is designed to help the general population (and really, all of the general population, not just who voted for you), lobbyists are designed to help themselves and whoever is cutting their paycheque. More often than not, that’s big business cutting their cheques, out to exploit every dollar they can get. All of the sudden, Pastor Dave is passing everything the lobbyists tell him to. Why? Much like Wild Rose supporters, they don’t know any better.

Simply put, Pastor Dave is just the wrong guy for the job. Sure, he had a great smile during the campaign and he prayed an awful lot, but First Break all the Rules author Marcus Buckingham would argue that the job simply doesn’t fit Pastor Dave’s talents. There’s no way he can excel at this job and to try and learn while on the job is simply inefficient. Government has a bad enough reputation for inefficiency, so why would Pastor Dave learning the job on the spot make things any better?

The real issue with the Wild Rose is that they’re completely missing the point about government. Sure, it’s important to be close to the people and really understand them, but what isn’t important is forming new parties so we can play more partisan politics and get even less done. They’ve completely forgotten that government is a service industry, and as such, should be treated that way.

The campaign is like a resume. Here’s what I can do, here’s how I’m going to fix things.

The election is like the interview. How do you stack up against the other candidates for the job?

If you hear a plumber who simply wants to go in, find the leak, close it, and be out lickity split, you’ll probably hire them.

If you hear a plumber talk about taking apart the whole bathroom to fix the same leak, you’ll question their credentials and wonder if they’re just doing a lot to try and impress and gouge more money.

Getting rid of the RCMP and starting an Alberta based police? Two-tier health-care? Danielle Smith, why do you want to tear apart my bathroom so bad?

I’m hearing a lot of griping that Albertans will never change and that Redford is a weak leader who’s “scared” of the opposition. Well, Alberta’s a conservative province, change doesn’t come easily. As conservatives, the Wild Rose Party should be excited that change doesn’t come easy, Alberta is still conservative but not homophobic and racist conservative.

And let’s face it, why did Danielle Smith run so hard? Same reason any politician would: power. This strange illusion of power that still lingers in government. The only candidate that seemed realistically aware that power wasn’t in his grasp and campaigned on getting people into Legislature just to be heard was Brian Mason. Running politics how they should be run: represent the people, not your ulterior motives.

In the end, Alberta proved to think a little more liberally than the Wild Rose thought. Albertans seem to be ok with alternative sexual lifestyles, with other races and mixing other races, they seem to like publicly funded health-care and they seem to like the RCMP patrolling their streets.

They also seemed to have seen right through Danielle Smith waving apparently free money in their faces. We went through this before with Klein. We learned what $400 in oil bonus money really cost in the end. We know the cost of a party like the Wild Rose. It isn’t worth it.


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