Saturday, March 31, 2012

Road trip!

Last week a few of us from the office took a road trip. The occasion was a sad one, the deconsecration of a church that we were selling. For the local people who gathered for this event it was the death of dreams, and a time for them to remember with sadness all the memories of what had happened in that church building over the years: memories of weddings, of baptisms, of funerals; memories of regular worship and of grander occasions like Christmas. And as the Bishop led us in prayers of thanksgiving for all the ministry that had been associated with that place, and read the certificate of deconsecration, it felt a bit like a funeral.

The trip itself was quite eventful. The Treasurer and I started out first thing in the morning in a rented car for a three-hour journey. The roads were rather nasty, as we had had a snowstorm the day before – the first in several weeks. After a slippery start, conditions eventually improved and we made our way to our destination, where we met up with the Bishop and her Assistant. Then, after taking care of a few details at the church, and deconsecrating it, we stopped for a quick lunch and started out for home.

That's when things got interesting. 

The Treasurer pointed out that we were only a short detour away from a local monument, so off to Glendon, the home of the Big Pyrogy! It wasn't hard to find. Just in case you couldn't see the huge Pyrogy held aloft on a fork in Pyrogy Park (at the corner of Pyrogy Drive and 1st Ave), there was a sign pointing the way. Across the street was Pyrogy Park Cafe, with a sign offering All-day Breakfast, Western & Chinese Cuisine, Vietnamese Dishes and (of course) Pyrogies!

Shouldn't have eaten that hamburger!

Election Fever

Alberta is in the middle of an election campaign. Near as I can tell the question is whether Albertans will give the Progressive Conservative Party a majority or an overwhelming majority. Or perhaps vote Wildrose and shift the province to the right, ending a 41-year PC dynasty.

But I have to sit this one out. For the first time in my adult life, I find myself unable to vote. Not because I can't decide which candidate to support. It's because the Alberta Elections Act defines an elector in section 1(1)(j) as "a Canadian citizen, [who] is 18 years of age or older and is, and has been for at least the immediately preceding 6 months, ordinarily resident in Alberta." (emphasis added) Since we just moved here three months ago, that last bit means that we don't meet the residency requirement. So we find ourselves disenfranchised.

Alberta will pay for me to receive medical care. Alberta will certify my fitness to operate a motor-vehicle, and license said vehicle to be driven on public roads. Alberta will even happily collect taxes from me, retroactive to January 2011. But let me vote? Nope. :-(

And, lest this seem like Alberta-bashing, because it really isn't intended to be, let me point out that the same is true in almost all of the rest of the country. With the exceptions of Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, it seems, every other province in Canada requires 6 months' residency before you can vote in a provincial election. It's just the luck of the draw that the writ was dropped before we were here for six months. And I imagine we're far from the only Canadians living in Alberta who can't vote in this election.

Maybe once the dust has settled, and we know which leader's campaign bus has taken her to victory, the legislature should revisit that six-month waiting period for voting. And not just the Alberta legislature, but the legislatures of all the other provinces that still deny the vote to newcomers.