Thursday, December 02, 2010

This is not the Bid you are Looking for...

I always assume that when politicians come to conclusions about public opinion, they use official polls and other important measures that probably involve electrodes to discourage deception. The recent incident involving the expo, however, may disillusion me of that notion. It seems that Prime Minister Harper believed Edmontonians did not support the bid because of a media survey he had seen. I shudder to think of which media survey he viewed (The one in the Sun asked how people "feel" about the fact that the federal government would help fund the bid: Happy 47%,  Sad 20%,  or Don't care 33%). If that was the main reason he decided to quash the bid, then I'm not sure he made the right step. It is notable that he says killing it was the right move for Albertan and Edmonton taxpayers (who knows what he feels is right for Canadian taxpayers?) he's just concerned that we might have to pay too much. Thanks for telling us what we want, Harper.

It's true, as our mayor points out, that it depends heavily on what questions a surveyor asks: The question "Do you support paying $2 billion on an Edmonton Expo?" is likely to garner negative approval, but the question, "Do you think Edmonton should be allowed to host the Expo?" is probably going to show support from respondents. This is just the nature of the beast; the only annoyance is that we have two of the most slanted newspapers I've ever had the misfortune to rely on for information. Even just the headlines reveal a deliberate slant towards the conservatives, at least within the Journal (the Sun recently asked "Are the Alberta Tories out to get Dr. Raj Sherman?" which produced an overwhelming "yes" response, which is no big surprise with wording like "out to get".) The question is whether this reflects public opinion, or creates it.

The other article of interest is that Alberta's Metis community lost a lawsuit in their battle to exercise their right to hunt and fish on public land in Alberta, the court turning  it down by citing that it was not traditional Metis territory (I remember the story about the leaking Tailings pond, and how that pond was next to traditional hunting grounds; no one made a stink that we were poisoning the animals we expected them to hunt...). From the comments and responses to this article it seems most people are in favor of "One country, One set of rules" but I am concerned that this may be doing a traditional culture a disservice. It's true there are abuses of the current regulations, even some Native advocates admit that, but it is hard to say then that we should clamp down on everyone. People hold up the notion that we should stop living like it's the 1800's and bring ourselves into the 2010's, but anyone who thinks the residual effects of the residential schools are not relevant, is sadly uninformed. To address both of theses issues I think legislation that would allow hunting, but also encourage the Native community to police themselves with regards to poaching, or hunting for "non-sustenance" reasons. This would encourage stronger community ties but also ensure over-hunting does not become a problem.  I also think the cause suffered a terrible loss with the death of Ron Jones, who died earlier this year, and was a passionate advocate for Metis hunting rights. 


Anonymous said...

Meti? Metis!

Michelle Ernst said...

Oops! My french slip is showing! :o

Thanks for the heads-up!