Now that sounds like a name that came right out of the soviet system’s play book. But in St. Albert? Insane thought, isn’t it? Actually no.
Councillor Cathy Heron has frequented numerous ICLEI conferences and workshops throughout her term in office. It is unfortunate and extremely concerning that she chose to take orders and have them backed by other councillors and the Mayor from a non-governmental organization (NGO) instead of those who employ her and pay her salary.
What happened to the independent, free-thinking individuals who used to actually govern St. Albert? Regardless if one agreed or disagreed with them, at least residents were assured that the city’s interests and not an international NGO’s were at the forefront.
On May 01, 2013 council approved a social master plan with a “vision” of what the community should be [and/] *OR* “to direct social policies“. For the history buff this raises an alarming deja vu of the early twentieth century when the Soviets instituted “The Program”. Directing social policies is very communitarian as it proclaims a selfless commitment to community service and a duty to work for the ‘common good’.” In other words, it promotes collectivism sacrificing the individual in the process. A definite recipe for oppression.
Although “The Plan” boasts of having had input from “over 600 residents“, at no time was a follow-up done to see if these same residents were in agreement with their original input compared to what was eventually laid out in “The Plan”. This is an excellent initial demonstration of the importance and relevancy of residents in the city’s Social Master Plan.
But then the Social Master Plan admits that the contents were already laid out for residents even before they were ‘invited’ to participate. To make participants feel that they were actually making a contribution, the plan states that “it may or may not include issues such as housing, transportation, health, education, race and discrimination, inclusiveness, connectedness and social responsibility“. So, from the list that ICLEI laid out for present local administration, a steering committee was formed to “allow” residents to choose.
But then, to be fair, the Social Master Plan site does admit to providing “strategic direction necessary to support the development of the Social Master Plan.” Who else would be as qualified than someone who has been indoctrinated to do this job?
The manner in which participating residents were allowed to “choose” what they thought would be important to this plan confirms how valid residents’ input is to this local government. Remember that nowhere in “The Plan” did it state that the original 600 participants were revisited to confirm that their input was addressed. Instead “The Plan’s” core group used methods of gathering information that avoided any type of confrontation. Any input was done via small groups or surveys. The delphi technique comes to mind. Briefly, this is a technique that uses written surveys, written questions and separate discussion groups to obtain a pre-determined outcome. Participants generally do not realize that they have been used to obtain the desired results.
Reading through the plan, the demise of the family becomes apparent as government creeps in to determine the individual’s lifestyle and quality of life. Of course at this point the dollar costs aren’t determined. But they will be. Transit, housing, education, health, recreation, culture, downtown development (aka DARP) were considered while putting “The Plan” together.
This is alarming to be sure. If the outcry isn’t loud enough, equality will eventually be achieved under the communitarian’s “Program”, also known as “The Social Master Plan”.