It is tough to be a teacher these days.
There are all these ludicrous claims and conspiracy theories out there. So much misinformation. People with mystical ideas about how things work. Nonetheless I try to power through. My husband tells me I can't correct everyone who is wrong. He asks me why I bother.
Last summer I engaged with a fellow on Facebook who insisted there was an International Citizens Court that had determined Canada would cease to be a nation in July of 2015. He insisted that if I just visited this website, I would have proof. I argued with him but what was the point? At the end of the day, he was still wrong.
A couple weeks ago I read the judge's ruling in the case of "Meads vs Meads" in which the "vexatious litigant" believed he could prolong a court case and by implication refuse to pay child support by using such tactics as adding double colons in and around his name. Mr.Meads believed this would give him some sort of magical identity above the law. According to Judge John Rooke, people like Mr. Meads are given legal advice by fake lawyers (or "gurus" as he calls them) who get paid to advise their clients of untruths to "disrupt court operations and to attempt to frustrate the legal rights of governments, corporations, and individuals”. Meads did prolong his course case, but he didn't win his battle.
Then we have Mr. George Clark, "Albertans First" and the Alberta Plebiscite Warriors.
Mr. Clark is of the belief that if he gets enough names on his petitions against Bill 6 and the carbon tax, he can force the government to call a plebiscite which would lead to the democratically elected Premier and her political party being thrown out of office. And if the Lieutenant Governor and the Premier refuse to accept these petitions, he will present them directly to the Queen. So what if he doesn't realize the Lieutenant Governor's role is apolitical and that Mrs. Mitchell- and the Queen- are unelected figureheads who are not in the business of overruling democratically elected governments. He can say what he likes. He'll still be wrong.
Clark's supporters feel these measures will lead to someone else becoming premier. Someone who will change the global economy and increase the price of oil and bring full employment back to Alberta. Lately his movement seems to have lost momentum and he's resorted to photos of dead birds under wind turbines.
Clark claims he has a "team of lawyers" working on these petitions, I can't imagine any lawyer advising him that his strategies have any legal bearing. Perhaps he is working with one of Mr. Meads' gurus. Or perhaps tilting at windmills is what he does best.
It must be easier to blame a political party for our economic woes than recognizing we are powerless against the real issues of global oversupply, decreased demand and a worldwide economic slowdown.
It must be easier to believe the provincial government's minor increase in corporate tax rates and personal tax rates for the wealthy and the "drama" surrounding the royalty review have driven investors away rather than admit that a provincial government can't control the price of a global commodity or acknowledging this is a problem with no simple solution.
As a teacher, I know people like simple solutions. Don't we all? But they aren't out there this time and what is the point of being willfully ignorant about reality?
Deliberately and repeatedly misinforming the public about measures they can take to throw the government out of office distracts us from creating real solutions. Suggesting the government and the thousands who voted for it are the "enemy" is a mistake. And I have to wonder if all this talk is about using people with limited knowledge and those have lost their jobs to gain political advantage. Not about dealing with the truth or finding what is best for the people.
Yes, people have a right to their ignorance. But how does that help? At the end of the day, like Meads and Clark and the guy who believes Canada isn't a country, these people are still wrong. The teacher in me wants to change that.
People are hurting in Alberta. Magical thinking and willful ignorance won't change that.