I am aware that there is a risk of loosing many of my faithful readers, those who look for humour in these epistles. If you are one of them, best you skip this political diatribe, feast your eyes upon he New Yorker cartoons at the end. They are extremely funny, particularly the one with the witches and the baby carrots. They do have relevance to my comments and it will be explained at the conclusion.
Firmly made the decision to remove myself from the furor of political reportage. My comments make no difference, there are no people in my sway. It is merely depressing to deal with the mess of the world, it has occupied too much of my time over the years of this blog.
(To hold sway is to have great power or influence over a particular person, place, or domain)
Touching down briefly – it was most heartening to read that Donald Trump’s sway over the politics of the United States of America has lessened. The Economist described the midterm elections as turning into a ‘red trickle’ not a ‘red wave’, as predicted by pundits. The results of the Pennsylvania Senatorial race proved a sweet delight. Dr. Oz, staunchly supported by Trump lost, although predicted to be the pushover winner. What you say?
You: Alexis, he is a Muslim. You should have been supporting him.
Me: No he is not!! He describes himself as a secular Muslim. There is no such thing as a secular Muslim. To be a Muslim you must be observant. Dr. Oz has not practiced the five pillars in eons. He is a physician but not a scientist and he is a misogynist. All in all, clearly not a Muslim in good standing.
But closer to home, I do have a vested interest. Closer to home is Canada and even closer, Alberta. My attention was riveted by a Toronto Star online article written by an Edmonton reporter, Kieran Leavitt. Its basic premise is that Premier Smith “likes to use Quebec as an example of Alberta’s unfair status in the country, but experts say she has a simplistic understanding of the situation.”The article begins: “Alberta is trying to cosplay Quebec — and that could cost the province, say critics. Premier Danielle Smith sees in Quebec everything she seems to want for her province. More autonomy. More control of the federal money it gets. More political heft.”
That’s the case she lays out as she preps the province for her cornerstone Alberta Sovereignty Act, a piece of legislation experts warn could be unconstitutional, but that Smith sees as political leverage in a long-standing battle with the federal government.She also wants Alberta to have more control over immigration, its own pension plan, and a police force, just like Quebec.”
Leavitt interviews two experts who was eloquently and intelligently on the matter.
“But University of Ottawa constitutional law professor Errol Mendes says Smith’s is a dangerous populist message — not based in a real understanding of Quebec or the Constitution — that’s plopping the country into a pot of water and slowly turning up the heat. He said that what she’s been saying about the Sovereignty Act is “actually not founded in any constitutional framework which allows you to do what you’re saying you’re going to do.”
I do love Mendes’ language – plopping the country into a pot of water and slowly turning up the heat. It is an interesting metaphor. Perhaps you could look that one up yourselves.
Leavitt provides much information about the dissimilarities between the two provinces, saying in essence the two are apples and oranges. But, this in my mind, is the most compelling argument. “We Albertans want the Federal Government with us and on our side for the following reason. There have been signals from Ottawa, for instance, that the nation’s gas industry could be developed further to help with the situation in Europe stemming from the war in Ukraine. Alberta could pounce on that opportunity to expand its natural gas industry and also help offset the use of coal in parts of the world contributing to the fight against climate change as well as its own fortunes.” says Mendes.
“But the federal government and Alberta would have to be getting along,” he said. “This simplistic sovereignty kick is not only damaging to the country but, in my view, is profoundly damaging to the province itself.”
Daniel Beland a political scientist professor at McGill University weighs in, concluding the article: “The Sovereignty Act is actually going quite far,” he said, and Smith is “creating something that is likely to be a Pandora’s box constitutionally.”
Beland uses the phrase; opening Pandora’s box. This is an idiom with an extremely interesting history. If someone or something opens a Pandora’s box, they do something that unintentionally causes a lot of problems, which were not know about before something that creates a lot of new problems that were not expected. In other words: a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something.
Wikipedia has more to say on the matter. Pandora’s box is an artifact in Greek mythology. Pandora’s box is connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod‘s c. 700 B.C. poem Works and Days. Hesiod reported that curiosity led her to open a container left in the care of her husband, thus releasing physical and emotional curses upon mankind. Later depictions of the story have been varied, while some literary and artistic treatments have focused more on the contents than on Pandora herself. The container mentioned in the original account was actually a large storage jar, but the word was later mistranslated. In modern times an idiom has grown from the story meaning “Any source of great and unexpected troubles”, or alternatively “A present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse”
Wikipedia contains an extremely long history of the evolution of the myth. Pandora’s Box contained the seven deadliest sins:wrath, gluttony, greed, envy, sloth, pride and lust. The evils flew into the world. As the last evil was to fly out, Pandora slammed the box shut and hope remained. So there is hope, even in the midst of evil.
Leaving ancient Greece and back to modern day Alberta. Premier Smith’s proposed passage of the Sovereignty Act is going to create a host of problems that are not expected, by her or her yes men.
The problem with certain politicians, Premier Smith and Donald Trump for example, is that they surround themselves with yes men. A yes man is a weak person who always agrees with their political leader. There is no diversity, no heated debates, no original or innovative thinking shown in those circles. People surround themselves with yes men who tell them what they want to hear and insulate themselves from contrary data and perspectives. Neither Trump nor Premier Smith want their viewpoint challenged.
By proposing the Sovereignty Act Premier Smith is demanding an unwise interference in the government of Alberta. That woman is messing with my province. I deserve and have earned the right to speak out and I just did. I am also taking this on because I must say no to injustice. A professional, learning scientifically that my early abuse had certainly taken place said simply: “No wonder you became a lawyer.” Then in addition, as a Muslim woman I have an obligation to say NO to injustice.
Now onto the cartoons. The first is of a witches’ brew, a synonym for the Sovereignty Act. The other cartoon speaks of picking apples – Alberta and Quebec are not apples but apples and oranges. The third, with the spellbound wife: some members of UCP seem spellbound by Premier Smith.
In my never ending quest for knowledge and understanding I have been attempting to understand the character of Premier Smith. I shall write of this is a later blog.
The link to the Toronto Star article: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/analysis/2022/11/07/is-alberta-the-new-quebec-what-danielle-smith-sees-as-the-future-of-her-province.html