In The News: MLA David Swann “Let’s listen to what the protesters are saying”

5 Nov

Let’s listen to what the protesters are saying: Calgary Herald, November 5th
David Swann – Liberal MLA for Calgary Mountain View

Re: “Enough! Here’s a surreptitious solution to the Occupy squatters,” Editorial, Nov. 4.

“Dissent is a relatively limited and always costly activity. Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Emily Murphy were dissenters and little appreciated by the powerful of their time. In hindsight, their work turned out to be profoundly important.

Now in Alberta, dissent raises uncomfortable questions of ideas in vogue, people in power and those comfortable with the status quo. In a democracy, dissent serves as a critical check and balance on abuses of power and privilege.

In a province with oneparty majority government for 40 years, dissent should be even more valued and encouraged by those who understand that unchecked power corrupts.

In this context, I find it troubling that the Occupy Calgary folks’ efforts have been little appreciated; they have been largely dismissed when honest discussion leading to actions and better policy is needed. These idealistic people sacrifice time, energy, basic comforts and economic opportunities to raise their voices on important issues that confront all conscious citizens.

For example: Are government economic policies serving all Albertans fairly? Is Alberta managing our environment responsibly? Are we doing what we can to create caring and healthy communities? If not, why not? Are hunger and homelessness understood and being effectively acted upon?

If the answer to any of these is no, then each of us has a responsibility to raise the same issues or support the right and the courage these folks are expressing on our behalf. Occupy Calgary is an emerging global movement inviting community leaders to show leadership, to meet, learn and act together to make this planet great for all.

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