June 15th, 2024

Letter: For the sake of the kids, act like adults

By Letter to the Editor on December 6, 2022.

Dear editor,

An open letter to UCP MLAs:

There was once an officer who was known throughout the military for his utter incompetence. Still, it was said that his men would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity. That is, they wanted to have a ringside seat when he made his next spectacular blunder. And yes, they did end up with lots of amusing stories to tell, but ultimately found out that following a clueless leader is not wise. Especially when people start dying.

In 2014, 10 Wildrose MLAs followed Danielle Smith across the floor to join the PC party. You can look up their names and do an online search to see how their careers unfolded after that, but following her didn’t end well for any of them.

Since then Smith has said nothing and done nothing to show that her judgement has improved. But the stakes are much higher now, because we’ve been experiencing a serious pandemic. Now her incompetence won’t just be killing political careers, it will result in real-world consequences like disease and death. Many of those who will suffer and die will be little kids.

In these times there is nothing even faintly amusing about Smith’s fecklessness. Even the Alberta NDP aren’t cheering her on as she makes blunder after blunder, because some of these blunders will do harm that will last for many years, no matter what happens in the next election.

Widespread illness among school-aged children will bring lifelong trauma and potentially serious medical issues to those kids who survive, and to their parents and teachers. Even those of us with no young children in our families are feeling a sense of helplessness and dread that affects our mental and spiritual well-being.

This is my message to every member of the United Conservative Party, and to those independent MLAs who might be tempted to join Smith on her anti-vax, anti-mask crusade or other ill-advised initiatives.

She is a true believer, so there is probably no way to change her direction, but perhaps you can change yours and follow her reluctantly, or not at all. You can choose to act like “true Albertans” if you want, or like flag-waving Canadians or libertarians or fossil fuel promoters or whatever – those are of course choices you are free to make.

But “freedom” and “choice” are words that have no meaning or value when applied to children – they have very little agency, and rely on adults to give them direction and keep them safe.

I’m hoping you will choose to act as responsible adults.

Dave Bahnmiller

Medicine Hat

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