Solved: Because electoral security and job security outweighed the security of our kids
If Jason Kenney is to rescue Alberta from its current dangerous dabble in socialism, he must accomplish three things– First, to gain the leadership of the old Progressive Conservative Party. Second, to somehow unite it and the conservative Wildrose party into a single conservative movement. Third, to defeat the socialist New Democratic Party in the next election.
Last week, he achieved his first goal, defeating two rival contenders and winning the PC leadership with 75% of the delegate vote. The second goal will be more difficult. Sizeable numbers of PCs bitterly blame the Wildrose for splitting the right and terminating more than four decades of Tory rule. Meanwhile, equally bitter Wildrosers blame the PCs for effectually writing off their whole socially conservative wing. So it’s possible that one or both of the old parties might run candidates in the next election. again splitting the right. However, a vote for either one of them is effectually a vote to keep the NDP in power. Even we politically inastute Albertans aren’t quite that stupid. So if the right is in some way united, the NDP is doomed. Such is the popular view.
However, as I was forewarned last week by my old friend Ric Dolphin, who authors the highly informative weekly newsletter Insight Into Government, this scenario makes a fundamental assumption that is deeply flawed. Seeing this coming, he asks, why would the NDP not call an early election before Kenney can get things up and running? My only answer was that Albertans would perceive this as crass opportunism, and reject it. I could see, however, that Dolphin had no such confidence in the political sagacity, not to say integrity, of his fellow Albertans and he sees an early election as altogether likely.
Meanwhile, the chaos and uncertainty in the ranks of the opposition saved the career of one senior member of the NDP cabinet, notably the minister of education, David Eggen. As described here last week, a parents’ organization discovered that students as young as six in the government-promoted sex clubs were being given lessons in oral sex, masturbation and possible physical positions for homosexual activity. The minister’s office hastened to remove it from the site, though by then the parents had recorded it. Go to: https://informedalbertans.wordpress.com/2017/03/13/alberta-government-funds-website-directing-k-12-kids-to-sexually-graphic-content/
The facts of the case were not disputed. The site, aimed at students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, is run for the Department of Education by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies at the University of Alberta, and by its faculty director, Dr. Kris Wells. The offensive material was linked to the site from something called “Fruit Loop,” which had donated $1,000 to the institute. If parents generally became widely aware that the government was promoting such things, that would soon be the end of the school website, the sex clubs, the government’s contract with Dr, Wells, and almost certainly of the minister of education himself.
None of this happened. Why? Because the parents of the province were not made aware of it. The original press release was ignored by all the print media and ignored in the Legislature by the entire opposition. The CBC carried a story on it, but made no mention of the specific content of the site — “blow job” lessons, etc. — being provided to, among others, young children. I’ve been puzzling over this all week. Surely, if the government was exposing the children of Alberta to what amounted to pornography, this was worth a line or two in the newspaper. But it got not a single mention. They suppressed the story. Why?
The opposition was silent because its whole future was in this self-same week up for grabs in the leadership issue. The core dispute which split them initially is in the main still there. It’s in the gulf that divides the so-called “fiscal” and “social” conservatives. But the issue grows wider and wider, and few people, apart from these parental groups, seem to recognize what is now in fact going on.
Across much of the western world. we are watching a concerted governmental campaign to divorce our children from many of the fundamental values upon which our whole society stands and has always stood. Yes, those values are chiefly Christian. That’s why the Christian schools and Christian home schoolers are so often the government’s targets. In this circumstance last week, the opposition solved its problem by saying nothing, thereby denying parents information that they had every right and necessity to know. A shameful performance indeed.
But what about the print media? Where were they? They too suppressed the story and they too, some said, had a reason rooted in personal survival. The newspaper business, as it functions today, is not one I have ever experienced. I worked for daily papers, large and small, through the late 1940s and the ’50s. Though major dailies of that day were known to occasionally fold, most were regarded as bastions of economic security and profitability.
Nothing like this exists anymore. Alberta’s two giant broadsheet dailies — the |Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald– have merged with their tabloid rivals, the two Suns. I’m told some of the editing for all four is done in Toronto. Estimates of editorial staff cuts over the last ten years range wildly; by some estimates, as much as seventy-five percent of their former staffs are gone, and they’re still shrinking. This means that everyone working for them, from copy boy to publisher, has one question, uppermost in mind: Will I be laid off tomorrow? Followed by the further question: Where will I find a job?
Every Alberta reporter and editor knows the answer to that question. The provincial government is hiring. Journalists make good candidates for two kinds of government jobs– press secretaries and “political staff.” The former are usually non-partisan civil service positions, the latter distinctly partisan non-civil service. An informative article on this by the journalist Graham Thomson appears in the current issue of Alberta Views magazine. Under the Redford government (2012-14) there were 69 listed as “political” staff, under the Prentice government (2014-15) this grew to 71, under the NDP’s Notley to 91 (though some of these are press secretaries, the government says.)
Given the circumstances, can it be any wonder that the press leans left? The negative story you write today about some cabinet minister may be the very man from whom you’re asking for a job tomorrow? End of the mystery.
But not the end of the controversy. A defender of the government objected to my calling these government-sponsored groups “sex clubs.” I told him that’s what the clubs are about. If you belong to a stamp collectors’ club, you talk about stamps. If you belong to an African Violet Society, you talk about African violets. If you belong to a group called a Gay-Straight Alliance, you talk about sex– talk about it, watch videos about it, and then do it — all courtesy of the government of Alberta. It’s impossible to escape the impression that we’re living a society which is visibly disintegrating, always with the worthiest of motives, of course.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century. a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.