Friday, March 13, 2015

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall . . .

Last Saturday, March 7, I attended a rally called "Tell the Tories to Look in the Mirror," or, simply the "Mirror Protest." The rally was called by the Alberta Federation of Labour in conjunction with Better Way Alberta to hold Premier Jim Prentice accountable for a statement he made that Albertans should "look in the mirror" to see who is responsible for the province's current budget woes. This inspired me to write a post on Facebook which quickly started being shared around, and I was asked to read it at the rally. Here is the text of that note, as well as a video of me reading it.
I Looked In the Mirror This Morning

So, Conservative Premier Jim Prentice is telling Albertans that if they want to know why the province is in trouble, we should look in the mirror.

I looked in the mirror this morning. Here is what I saw.

I saw a woman in her early 40s who was not able to secure a career in her chosen field: as a junior high Language Arts teacher. You see, I really wanted to be a writer or a rock star, but I picked teaching because it was "stable." Most of the people in my university class never got teaching jobs either.

My lack of employment was due to Conservative cutbacks to education in this province.

I saw my mother shuffle by in the background on her walker. She just spent a couple of months in and out of hospitals that are poorly maintained and understaffed. Many of the nurses were very obviously overworked through no fault of their own. Patient care suffered as a result.

Alberta's health care system is in shambles because of Conservative cutbacks to health.

I saw my phone go off with a message from my partner. He works in the tar sands. Yeah, one of those people who have supposedly benefitted the most from the "Alberta Advantage." And yes, he makes decent money, when he has work. As soon as construction on a job is complete, he is laid off again with no guarantee of another job. When work is not steady it makes things like planning for the future (buying a house, etc.) difficult. Perhaps this is why there is such a high rate of suicide, depression, and divorce amongst tar sands workers.

The province's finances and oil industry have suffered because of the Conservative government not collecting royalties and because of the flat tax system which allows the most wealthy not to have to pay more taxes.

But hey - look on the bright side: working self-employed hours I have plenty of time for activism against the Conservative government. And my parents don't mind me crashing with them. After all, we're Mom's primary caregivers.

No comments: