My Other New Job

Chaos in Print

So I’m now a card-carrying member of the Alberta Liberal party. Not only that, but I’m the treasurer of the Alberta Liberal Stony Plain constituency. How, you may ask, did this monumental achievement come about? How has one who has traditionally been so neutral in politics arrive at this? Well, it all starts with a boy and a dream. Actually, it just starts with a girl. But what a girl!

14 years ago, my sister reached the ripe old age of 6, and was primed to start the first grade. Now, with all of her kids in school, my mother was starting to feel bored around the house. Face it, there are only so many times you can vacuum the rug. This was the late 80’s, and daytime television had yet to reach the highs it currently experiences. So mom had nothing to do. Fortunately for her, elections were right around the corner, and opportunity was knocking. The school needed a new board trustee, and my mother stepped up to the plate. The campaign was long and vigorous, but she was soon elected to the board of 15 members.

For three years, she served the school with trust and honor. She was unique for a politician. She chose a path of openness and honesty, and people responded to that. Soon, the year of 1989 was upon us, and she was up for re-election. There was another candidate, but he was trounced. And once again, my mother served the board. 1992, and again she was up for election. But, things had changed. By now, the Klein government had taken charge, and education cutbacks were in full swing. The board was downsized from 15 trustees to 7. By sheer luck, and a good resume, mom was appointed to the interim board. When that election rolled around in 1992, and with the re-drawn boundaries, my mother was running in what was the geographically-largest constituency. And she got in by acclimation.

1995. Again, she got in by acclimation. And, she became the board chair. A slightly larger salary, and an office. I think this would be a good time to mention that the Parkland School Division #70 School Board is the lowest-paid school board in the Province of Alberta. It’s also the most effective. Mom’s got the statistics to back that up somewhere around here. But I digress. The present day is coming up.

1998. At long last, my mother had some competition! Some upper-middle class snob wanted to put in a bus line so he could send his kid to a “better” school. So, he ran against my mom. The fall of 1998 also saw my disastrous campaign for VP External at Augustana University. That was fun. Every night, we would call each other up and bounce campaign strategies off of each other. We even used the same slogan. She was “a parent who cares,” I was “a student who cares.” She won by a landslide. I lost by a landslide. This makes me wonder about the next generation of voters, and how the good old approach of getting out there and campaigning your ass off appears to be giving way to the “Rob Nichols Approach:” sit on your ass and let others do the work. But again, I digress.

And now we have arrived in the year 2000. Around January was when the phone calls began. The last provincial election was in 1997, so we are now entering the period where Ralph Klein can call an election any minute now. So, the Liberals are getting their troops in place. The Alberta Liberal Party started calling our house at all hours of the day. They needed a candidate for this area, and since my mother is so well known and loved through her school board activities, she was their first choice. With this Bill 11 crap going forward, the Liberals think that they can form the next government, and with this area being a traditional Tory stronghold, they needed someone with the presence to go toe-to-toe with our longtime Tory MLA. So they started calling Mom.

At first, Mom was a bit apprehensive to start pursing the nomination. There’s currently a big scandal going on in the school board concerning French Immersion, and she’s just about had it with politics. But we, her family, knew she had the right stuff to go for it. And so we started telling her that she should go for it. Word soon got leaked to the public that she was being wooed by the Liberals, and she was overwhelmed with public support to go for it. So, when the Liberals called again, she said yes.

With that done, the president of the Liberal Constituency, whom I shall refer to now and forever in these columns as “Retired Farmer Guy,” started calling. It was time to put in place the board of directors for the 2000 Stony Plain Liberal Constituency. Since my Dad has this job-thing that keeps him busy, and my sister has shown no political aspirations whatsoever, Mom asked me to be the Treasurer; just so there would be someone she knows on the board. And to her, I said those words that have gotten me in so much trouble in the past: “Sure! Why not? Sounds like fun!” So, back on April 18, the Stony Plain Liberal Constituency had their annual general meeting, I became Treasurer, and Mom announced that she would be seeking the Liberal nomination.

The date my mother is currently worried about is May 29. That’s the big Liberal convention where she runs for the Liberal nomination. Only members of the Liberal party can vote. And so I bought a membership in the Alberta Liberals.

And that’s whey I’m now a card-carrying member of the Alberta Liberal Party. I know, I’m sure you were hoping that it would be for some noble purpose, like showing my opposition to Bill 11, protesting the years of education cuts that Klein has made, or just because this province’s provincial park program is going down the tubes. Nope. I did for one simple reason. To show my mother that I’m behind her. And if this results in me being roped into a volunteer position for the next few years, that always looks good on a resume.

It’s time for my true selfishness to show. It should be mentioned that I’m not doing this to completely support my mother. Oh no! She has also let it slip several times in the past that I would be an ideal Executive Assistant for her, should she get elected. So another reason as to why I’m doing all this is in the hopes that, after the next election, I’ll be the Executive Assistant to the MLA, and on my way to a fine political career myself. God, I’m a bastard!

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