Saturday, February 16, 2008

Investing in Our Community part I

A key platform plank of the Wildrose Alliance party is that we will provide stable, reliable, and unconditional municipal funding and allow service delivery at the local and community level wherever possible.

Just as I don't believe that rural MLAs should dictate policy in the cities (I support a Charter for Edmonton), urban MLAs shouldn't be dictating policy in rural Alberta. Where there is a need for a one size fits all approach across the province then fine, but the operating assumption should be that nobody knows the needs of a local community like the locals who live there.

Here in Beverly- Clareview we have more social problems than many other ridings. Drug abuse, prostitution, poverty, and crime all occur here. The problems are not everywhere, some areas are relatively gentrified, in fact, but where they do occur it has a significant impact on quality of life. Abstract debates about things like tax policy are of little interest to a resident living in a troubled area.

Our local community associations are more aware of what the problems are and are in a better position to get people involved, such that residents who might otherwise be indifferent to the needs of others feel they have a stake in their community's welfare. This obviously doesn't mean the province has no role. It means the province should recognize the local assets that exist and make the most of them. Our faith communities are a great asset and politicians should not be so squeamish about church and state boundaries that they are are slow to congratulate our churches for the work they do in reaching out to those who are suffering. It is entirely possible that an old-fashioned revival would do more for our children living in troubled homes than a new government program. A young man who reads Rick Warren or Max Lucado and decides he is going to turn his life around, especially with respect to his family, might well have a greater positive impact than if made he made no changes in his life but got a government cheque. That said, I am a firm believer in fundamental principle that government should not be supporting any one religion over any other, including the choice to be non-religious. I just think that the explanatory power of anomie is significant and worth thinking about.

With the progress of science and technology, man has stopped believing in magic powers, in spirits and demons; he has lost his sense of prophecy and, above all, his sense of the sacred. Reality has become dreary, flat and utilitarian, leaving a great void in the souls of men which they seek to fill by furious activity and through various devices and substitutes.
- Max Weber

No comments: