LETTER: Reader takes on MLA Jessica Littlewood

A reader questions the validity of MLA Jessica Littlewood’s recent claims

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the letter of Jessica Littlewood, NDP MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, which was recently sent to a number of weekly newspapers throughout the region.

Littlewood states: “United Conservative Party policies released this month have major implications for rural Albertans.”

Littlewood then provides a detailed description of what she claims is a formal and official UCP statement regarding a tax give away plan, deep cuts to healthcare and classrooms, and the sale of Alberta Treasury Branches.

I am a rural Albertan who pays attention to such things.

Wondering about the statements in her letter and I contacted several people to ask questions, one of them being our UCP Drumheller-Stettler MLA, Rick Strankman. From each person to whom I spoke, I learned that the UCP has not released any information at all about formal party policies. None. And will not be doing so until after an AGM in May.

I learned that at the May AGM, policies will be proposed by the members, debated, and then voted on — again by members — approved or rejected. Only then will formal policies be adopted and public statements made regarding the party’s policies. It therefore appears that Littlewood has either ignored, or doesn’t understand and appreciate, the democratic process when a political party listens to people in order to develop and formulate policies.

The Littlewood letter is clearly intended to promote alarm, even anger, yet its contents and allegations reflect an ignorance of the facts. As an MLA, she has no basis upon which to make such claims. Her letter is hyperbole — hype.

Her statements appear to be an attempt to resurrect any sentiment at all, through whatever means she can, that stirs the caustic considerations that existed prior to the last election. We Albertans know how to fact check. We are capable of discerning when and if, MLAs such as Littlewood (or any others) exaggerate, distort, inflate, or make errant claims about issues affecting the province.

I would respectfully, and kindly suggest, that Littlewood will better serve Albertans if she avoids hyperbole and exaggeration, and instead makes statements about public matters that are fact-based.

Every responsible Albertan wants to make good decisions as we roll around to the province’s next election. And certainly, we are all better served by MLAs who make public statements that are factual and relevant, rather than shrill, rooted in innuendo or a vivid imagination.

My observation would be that Littlewood’s letter does not reflect the kind of dialogue and honest debate to which Albertans should be entitled from their MLAs.

John Satink

Drumheller

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