Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Lifeblood of Politics

When feeling poetic, one might say that dialogue is the lifeblood of politics, or perhaps compromise, or empathy. Perhaps those concepts are the lifeblood of pure politics, but in the imperfect, day-to-day reality we all inhabit, the real lifeblood of politics is money.

The vast majority of Canadians don't belong to any political parties, and so have never attended events like the one pictured above, where Mike Decore and I seem to be having a spirited discussion. (As usual, Mike looks urbane and dapper while I look like a raving lunatic.)That was the 2009 Alberta Liberal Leader's Dinner, an annual event held to raise funds for the party. Prices vary according to the party and the event, but generally speaking it costs anywhere from one hundred to five hundred bucks for the pleasure of a meal, perhaps some entertainment, a couple of speeches and the satisfaction of helping fuel the engine of democracy.

I would prefer it if political parties were funded by small, individual donations rather than big donations from corporations and unions. Public funding would be better still, and I was glad when the federal Liberals passed legislation to that effect. Ironically, so far the changes have helped the federal Tories more than the Liberals, but even so I think it was the right thing to do. The more individual Canadians get involved in politics, whether locally, provincially or federally, the greater the chance that our elected officials will listen to the voices of the people rather than well-funded special interests.

If you consider yourself a progressive, it's especially important to donate to the moderate/progressive/centrist/leftist party of your choice. Right-wing parties attract lots of donations, and we need to match them, dollar for dollar, if we want to build the kind of Alberta and the kind of Canada we want.

Speaking of donations, today would be a great day to donate to the party of your choice and make a matching donation to Doctors Without Borders, my favourite charity. They're already in Japan helping out the victims of the terrible earthquake and tsunami that hit late last week.


Michael said...

That's just the camera angle making me look urbane Earl...

BTW can I borrow $5 (kidding).

Earl J. Woods said...

The camera loves you, Mike!

"Jeffignment: Earth" said...

So whatever happened to the fifty clams we sent for your campaign way back in the day? I'm extremely disappointed that there are as of yet no highway overpasses, parklands, or hospitals named after me.

Your own Alberta Report in 2009pointed out that full time visual artists typically make 35% less than the average Albertan wage. 2010 was one of my worst years yet for finances, so you'll forgive me if I no longer feed the politcial kitty. We will instead send the money to the Red Cross, which is another accredited registered charity service helping to rebuild Japan.