Monday, November 01, 2010

What's this about an airport? What, what?

It was dead. We had killed it. It was over, but it is back like some sort of bad movie villain who is resurrected for the tearful final battle scene where it comes out he is really the pet alligator the protagonist flushed in the prologue.
But now the conservatives in the province are passing legislation that has some concerned about "pro-airport" sympathies and, whether it has or not, this perception has some serious repercussions.
Prior even to the election Council had made the decision, and Stephen Mandel weathered the consequences, of turning his back on the plebiscite petition so close to a municipal election that many wondered if it would be the knife in his back. As unpopular as it made him, it showed a strong council that came out largely intact from the election; Edmonton needs a united council above all else. If the new legislation does propose to backhandedly stick it's fingers in Edmonton's municipal affairs, we need to regard this as an attack on our sovereignty; we cannot allow them to treat us the way Ottawa has treated Alberta. To their credit, they've been pretty verbose in denying any interest or involvement in our protracted airport scuffle.

Critics of the resolution are calling it "redundant" and saying they don't understand why this new legislation is being debated if it only covers issues that are already on the table, and it seems a common trend in Canada, upon encountering confusing government policy, to assume that it's because "politicians are stupid" but I have always been mistrustful of this view; it blinds oneself to what might really be a piece of tricky political maneuvering.

On the other hand, I would caution our council against making statements such as, "Council faced this issue in the election, and we have been re-elected," councilwoman Kim Krushell who recently defended her seat against challenger Don Koziak (a Pro-airport ex-mayoral candidate who backed down after a discussion with Dorward, who then lost the Mayoral race). This implies that Edmontonians support their decision to close the airport, and this is the fallout from allowing the election to become a one-issue race; they believe, once they are elected, that we agree. This is not the case, necessarily. Just because we felt you were the most capable for the job does not mean that everything you do is good. It just means we think the other candidates were dribbling baboons.

Not only that, but sometimes they don't even fully represent what type of baboon they are.One of the newly appointed councilors to our city has vowed to hold a plebiscite about the airport, even though he never mentioned it during his campaign. Given that precisely none of Envision Edmonton's lackeys made it on to council, the fact that he hid his interest in the airport (he is not believed to be with Envision Edmonton) means nothing good for our view of who we have elected, i.e. can we ever claim to know who we elected if they are deceptive about their motives and at what point can we claim they have misled the voters? Although, considering his old job was an Edmonton Sun reporter, perhaps we should have seen this coming.

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