The Cambridge Dictionary defines oppression -“as a situation in which people are governed in an unfair and cruel way and prevented from having opportunities and freedom.”
That is truly an attack to what most people expect in a modern democracy and one would have thought it would never happen in a local inter-governmental system here in southern Alberta.
Yet now actually, it is extremely unfortunate that we do not have to look far to see a classic example of exactly that;- The urban biased “Calgary Metropolitan Regional Board” has now passed this obviously flawed draft growth plan, that purposefully hinders and prevents some categories of standard economic growth and development opportunities for the rural municipalities of Foothills, Rocky View and Wheatland counties.
And what is even more surprising is that the very board members who voted for this ridiculously selfish plan against the wishes of what was once their rural colleagues, are the local neighbouring town Councils of Okotoks, High River, Calgary, Strathmore, Chestermere, Cochrane, Airdrie and of course Calgary who is the leading player in this mess.
Rural municipalities need economic growth and development just like the urbans do, to help offset increasing inflationary costs, funding cuts from the provincial grant system, plus the increased loss of energy revenues, in order to continue to maintain roads in their vast areas and provide their residents much needed programs and services.
Times are tough enough in these economic times and it’s time the urban board members realize what is needed is good solid regional collaboration, not confrontation and bullying, which is exactly what they have brought to this situation now in their plan to hoard most of the future residential community, commercial and industrial development for themselves.
former Foothills County councillor and MLA for Livingstone-Macleod