I was told several times by folks who have been in politics for longer than I have that during election periods it’s often called “The Silly Season”. Having been through one election cycle in 2019, I got a small glimpse of what they meant, but this year: WOW. I get it now in full detail. With all of the restrictions over the last 2 years, a federal election taking place during that time, a municipal election in Alberta, a Leadership Race for the Federal Conservative Party, a leadership review of the Provincial Conservative Party, and now a leadership race kicking off for UCP members, the media is having a field day, as are some of the political figures.
Over the last week I’ve been in the “Big City” newspapers twice. One article read like an episode of Jerry Springer regarding a caucus meeting I was in, and just like that show of old, reality is never that exciting or dramatic. This week because of a post I made on social media about a market that took place at the Magnolia Hall showing some of the items that local folks had for sale, I again made the newspapers. Twice in one week, and now the phone lines at the office are just buzzing with outraged people, lots of folks who lean hard left that are rattling off lists of profanities, threats, and the outrage of: ‘how dare I criticize the Prime Minister’.
People who say that they are pro-freedom of expression, inclusion, and are 100 percent opposed to violence are in the same breath rattling off prejudicial slurs, and threatening violence. You just can’t buy that kind of pure hypocrisy.
We are living though a time, in my humble opinion, where we have the most incompetent Prime Minister our country has ever seen. The outrage was fueled by a photo of a sticker that was made by a local lady, that referenced a “train station”. There is no outrage on prolonged travel restrictions, ceasing bank accounts, and having people in jail since February on mischief charges, or in regard to evoking the Emergencies Act. There is no outrage for trying to pass censorship laws, or for multiple ethics violations, or driving the economy into the ground, with a massive trillion-dollar deficit. Perhaps there are $600 million reasons why the corporate media is passing a blind eye to all of this.
Here is something that many may find hard to believe: I don’t watch television. We don’t have cable, or satellite TV. Since free TV is no longer available over the airwaves, that is out as well. You see, about 11 years ago my wife and I stepped away from paid TV. Not out of principle, but because she and I had a bit of an engineering dispute, and since we are both stubborn, neither of us gave in.
After being up in the bucket of the backhoe in the middle of winter, on an extension ladder, communicating over a walkie talkie trying to adjust the satellite dish for an hour, while she gave me direction on which way to move the dish, and having bad communications the entire time, I quit. I suggested she get Bell to do it, because I was not going to break my neck over TV and I wasn’t going to waste more of my home time trying to get it just right. After several failed attempts by Bell to bring a long enough ladder themselves to adjust the dish, she too gave up. No more satellite TV.
We then just decided to buy DVDs, when we wanted to see a movie, and although water cooler conversations on POP culture have never been quite the same, in the big scheme of things, it never really hampered my life. We have a TELUS hub now, and streaming is not exactly the best, so we get our clips here and there from the internet. Our entertainment at home is reading books, buying movies, being outside, learning to play instruments, or making things with the kids. So, when it comes to a series called Yellowstone…I kind of get the high-level overview from others.
In my former industry, I have heard several colorful, and imaginative ways to describe having one’s employment position being terminated. At no one given time, did I ever take these references to be a threat to the person’s life. Being “Ran Off”, “Fired”, “Gunned”, “Gassed”, “Frog Marched”, ‘Punted”, “Bounced” were just some of the ways I’ve heard to describe a person’s contract, or employment coming to an abrupt close.
Recently speaking with a young married mother of two about her home-based business at a craft show, many familiar points of recent conversations were repeated several times. They were in regard to the rising costs of life, covid restriction impacts, inflation, and challenges small farms and businesses face. I did not think that the signs or stickers she had made, had any nefarious meaning or malicious intent. In fact, I found that several of her items used humor to deal with those frustrations, and from the reactions of others at the craft show, they took it the same way. I thought the play on words and the sticker showing folks riding horses, being requested to take someone who is ultra-green to a well-known mode of public transport, given that this same individual is responsible for driving the costs of life through the roof, and that folks are having trouble at the gas pumps with the cost of fuel, was quite witty. I took it as “We need to fire this guy, get rid of him, because he is doing a terrible job!” I sure as heck didn’t take it that this mother of 2 was suggesting someone take a hit out on the Prime Minister.
So why did this all go sideways? Ah yes, enter “The Silly Season”. When something gets negative attention on social media, we have communications folks that help us MLAs navigate through the swamp; as social never sleeps, yet we do. I received a call from them several days after posting pictures of the local event, and they too needed to look up the reference that was causing people such a concern. My swamp navigators advised that there was a story looming and wanted to give me the heads up. After they told me the reference, I told them I’d pull down the post which happened to contain the “Train Station” sticker made by the young mother of 2, that was only one of 8 pictures from the event that day. However, that story was just too juicy for some, and they decided that it needed the attention of the public.
The real issues, that most people are calling my office about, however, are in regard to the rising fuel costs, inflation, and rising interest rates. People are still very concerned about the travel restrictions imposed in our country, when all other countries are taking them away. People are concerned about the quality of education and what real challenges our youth are experiencing. They are concerned with property rights, personal freedoms, and the struggles we have ahead of us in order to be considered a meaningful part of a country with our Federal Government seeming to drive a wedge between us at any opportunity.
Why are the papers not covering that? I believe that it is because the ‘Silly Season’ is upon us, and it is way easier to run a story that keeps people distracted, and an outspoken rural MLA makes it far too easy for them. So for the remainder of the ‘Silly Season’ I’ll keep my sticker posts to a minimum, and possibly watch more TV to educate myself. This will give the corporate media free time to report on the absolute dumpster fire that the Liberal / NDP alliance has caused in our country, so that the rest of us can all work toward getting our country back to normal.