A Message From Nic.
My name is Nic, and I believe in community.  

The philosopher Thomas Hobbs wrote in Leviathan that man will persist in a state of war unless they are kept in awe by a monstrous governing power. Unfortunately this is too often the disposition of government, and is part of the root cause of government disjunction. I think Mr. Hobbs may not have met the kind of community organizers at work in our province. I think that together we can cut that big fish's head off and feed the masses with it. 

That starts with building up our neighbours in our neighbourhoods. We are the experts in our own conditions, and when we are consulted, involved, and validated great things happen. Communities fund government and hope it comes back, meanwhile community problems aren’t often enough in the scope of government and so social problems grow. A government that doesn’t trust its citizens does not in return deserve the trust of its citizens. When we fund community first, we will see crime rates drop, addictions drop, poverty drop, and health, education, and local economies modelled on suitable and sustainable solutions.

How do we do this? Malcolm X said “I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action”. If we want social change we can’t wait for the government to do it for us, but we can start with educating ourselves.  So many community centres, organizers, workshop hosts, do this work, and I know many educators that have to work against the system to provide this kind of education, that doesn’t exactly line up with curriculum but is critical to giving young people the skills to create their own programs. We are our own strategy for self improvement, community and individual. We need to bring healing into our neighbourhoods. I live in the west end, and one of my neighbours brought up how many churches, some vacant, in the area, but in a place with nearly 20% indigenous population, not one sweat lodge. We miss our opportunities because we don’t see what’s in front of us.

So what good is government, and what can government do? I think it starts with recognizing value.  Shaun Loney had some great ideas about this in his mayoral campaign (they’re still good ideas outside of that too), but it boils down to government accepting the demonstrated value of people who volunteer in their communities, give their time to help, and ease the burdens and sufferings of their neighbours. If the government doesn’t wish to fund these initiatives I don’t see how it reserves the right to tax the equivalent cost to you, taxpayer. Politicians will talk about the problems of society like it was some creature living in the woods.  We are society, and we won’t trust the government to get better until we see that value reflected back to us. 

Do we still need to fight for ecological rights, overcome massively wasteful development processes, and slog through a lot of bickering about ideals? Absolutely. Will it take effort to convince people that a kind and sustainable future for their kids is worth reconsidering some assumptions about the economy, health, and education? Evidently. But is action worth taking, and urgent action is needed. The electoral system is not designed to allow space for this to happen, nor attract to the position people best suited for that work. Governance is a skill, but we elect people based on often incomplete understanding of the issues, who can market themselves best, and who’s message is the least distasteful. These are not requirements of legislators, but they are the qualities we most predictably make our decision on. So we elect people who are good at getting elected, but poor at governance, organizing, and project managing. 

A Young Green once told me the way we ‘game’ the system is by cooperating. The machinations of power turn to the machines of progress when we cooperate. We find common ground when we decide to cooperate.  We find solutions and innovations when we decide to cooperate. We are strong when we cooperate. And government needs to learn how to cooperate .

Hey there... etc.

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