Will Canada’s real Conservative leader please stand up?

by Garfield Marks

Andrew Scheer is on record as being the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. But who is the de facto leader? Is it Doug Ford, Jason Kenney or Stephen Harper? Who is really running the show or calling the shots?

Premier Doug Ford has shut down the Ontario legislature till after the federal election. Premier Jason Kenney, newly elected of Alberta, has set up a $30 million war room and spends more time talking about Prime Minister Trudeau, than about Alberta wildfires’ 10,000 displaced Albertans. Stephen Harper was key in getting Jason Kenney elected and keeps giving advice and direction to conservatives.

Here in Alberta, the federal Conservatives will win handily but silently. Here in my region, they could run a sock puppet and win. Our premier can focus his attention on provincial issues because I believe (as I was once told) that the candidates send much of their brochures and donations to candidates in other provinces.

Premier Doug Ford of Ontario had, according to public opinion polls in May, sunk to levels much lower than former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. I do not think Ontario residents want to be pushed by their premier in any direction at this time.

Premier Jason Kenney is still carrying the baggage from his leadership race. Workers, staff, and members being fined — $75,000 last I heard — kamikaze candidate and election fraud investigations and being from Alberta are not positive attributes to encourage voters to support Andrew Scheer.

Stephen Harper is a political creature who cannot let go. He is like a hockey player, past his prime but still hungry for the game. Intelligent, political but polarizing and not a good shadow obscuring Andrew Scheer’s leadership.

So who is the real conservative leader? Depends on who you ask, I guess. Just don’t ask me because I don’t know anymore.

Health or wealth?

by Garfield Marks

The intense desire for personal wealth at the cost of community health may just be ebbing. Perhaps the cost to our personal wealth from the decline in community health is the reason? There are those who judge others by the series of their BMW or the newness of their Cadillac, and yet there is a growing number of folk impressed by a car-free lifestyle.

People may be coming to the realization that they do not always have to strive for the fanciest and newest car on the block, the largest  RV or the biggest toy because there will always be someone with a newer, bigger, faster or classier one.

The race for material acquisition and/or consumption may be taking its toll. Could it be climate change that is forcing people to reconsider?

It is early in the year and we have seen multiple floods and wildfires already and consensus has it, climate instability by humans, is the cause.

There have been videos and stories of million-dollar homes destroyed by water and fires, expensive cars and RVs destroyed, but the most heartfelt were the stories about the photos, mementos and personal items lost.
The focus has been on personal wealth, especially over the last few decades, but we are starting to get weary of the constant battle for signs of wealth, the rat race to keep up with the Joneses, and the need to be seen as the same or better than the others.

When we maintain our homes, there are hidden costs that do not scream, “Look how much I have.” Have we neglected them, our roof, windows, plumbing or electrical to have a larger TV or a newer car?

The earth is our home and perhaps we have neglected it? Too much CO2 in the air, too much paving of paradise, too much sewage in our water? The signs of climate instability is all around us and the costs seem insurmountable. Or is it, perhaps, that the “Rat Race” is not for everyone?

We do not need to move to some Caribbean Island to escape the rat race, to slow down, and to spend more family time. We can do it right here.

Just prioritize Community health over personal wealth.

It will be tough. You won’t get a medal, people won’t go “ooh” or “ahh,” except those closest to you — you know, the ones that really count.

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