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LOEWEN: Public education and the petri dish of B.C. politics-to-come

Image Credit: Contributed/Jeffrey Loewen
June 04, 2014 - 7:32 AM

Christy Clark and her cadre are unwittingly shaping the voice of political leadership in British Columbia for generations to come.

They don’t realize it yet. Christy Clark and her cadre are too busy sweating over a decade of political misdeeds and how these actions will hamstring them in the summer months ahead, when they’d far prefer stuffing themselves at the troughs on the BBQ fundraising circuit. The penetration of their vision, like that of most of our governing bodies, doesn’t seem ever to extend beyond the next election.

Too often, in the hard-ball scrabbling towards the ballot box, it’s the minutiae of special interests that capture all the attention. It’s a game of one-upmanship, divide and conquer tactics, and cynical calculations based on hour-by-hour monitorings of the electorate’s pulse. After all, the first past the post in this race through the sewer gets the Turd Of Governance.

Christy Clark and her cadre are masters of this way of politicking. They learned from advisors to the most effective cynic in recent Canadian political history, the Right Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper. And they learned their lessons well. Those “kids in the short pants” from Trinity Western, as our erstwhile Senator Mike Duffy so memorably named them, know a thing or two about the game. But the advisor-kids don’t have the longview because, well, they’re the kids in the short pants even if they have earned a university degree or two.

Trouble is, the advice of the kids in the short pants never touches on the thing that’s most important to each and every BCer and Canadian, irrespective of whether they’re old enough to vote.

It’s called the “Vision-thing.” And, sister, neither the bodies governing us federally nor provincially seem to want to articulate one.

That’s the beauty of the comparative innocence of those other, too-oft forgotten younger kids in the short pants, our kids.

Our kids love asking questions. Mine did. So many that I often got frustrated. But I tried to answer them as best I could.

Our kids have always loved asking the Biggest Question of them all: namely, why things are the way they are. Ask them yourself, if you have one kicking around on one of their enforced days off from school this week, what questions preoccupy them?

Our kids are not living in a vacuum, you know, despite appearances. Sure they gamely command their smartfreakingphones like nimble vestigial limbs; but along the way they are getting an eyeful. And it’s not just the latest forwarded “sext.”

They’re also witnessing the implosion of the global economy, the growing awareness that their coddled lives in a have province and a have country have benefited enough already from untrammeled consumption. They’re witnessing political unrest the world over and wondering how Canada fits into the bigger picture.

But when our kids bother to turn on the traditional news, all they see is the sycophancy of the political classes and their mega-entitled corporate welfare-bum backers talking about how they, the students in our schools, should feel just jim dandy about forgetting about pursuing music studies or the humanities and instead get jobs in the gaping maw of Hell that is our stricken north as snubbers and purveyors of LNG.

What the kids want to hear is the same thing I suspect I want to hear along with the rest of you fine folks. We want to hear The Vision that our governors have. What are the values that they are fighting for? What kind of a future do we see through the eyes of our governors? Where is the magnanimity in their Vison? Indeed, what the hell is their Vision?

It’s a simple question. But it’s one we haven’t been insisting on posing to those who ask for your votes.

Christy Clark should be mindful of this one: the kids (not the buffoons in the short pants), are asking the same questions and they are damn well witnessing how Christy Clark and the Teachers Federation are handling the current educational imbroglio. But our kids tend to look up to their teachers; and you can bet that when, in a blip of four years, it is their turn to vote, our kids will be looking for folks who address the Vision thing once and for all.

After all, some of our kids don’t need a quad, a boat and three houses, and a job that forces them out of the most beautiful valley in the World to stoke the fires of Hell. They just want to live in a country and a province that cares about families and kids, just like them.

—  Having lost his 2,500 volume library in the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, Jeffrey is beginning to fill the void by writing his own. Reach him at jeff.loewen(at)gmail.com

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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