Reeve Greg Boehlke must feel a bit like David stepping out before Goliath. As the reeve of Rocky View County (RVC), strong forces bet against him in the competition to defend RVC residents and all rural Albertans from being swallowed up by their urban neighbours.
The urban forces in the Calgary region seem to take great amusement in sterilizing rural land, trampling property rights and stripping local politicians from the authority to make decisions on behalf of the constituents who elected them. They are doing it currently through the CMRB (Calgary Metropolitan Regional Board), that nonsensical fourth layer of central planning government mandated by the NDP.
Thankfully, Reeve Boehlke doesn’t bully easily.
This week, he was in fine form again as the CMRB met for the gazillionth time to discuss regional planning and land use for the region. If money was awarded for results from these meetings, they wouldn’t have a nickel to spend.
Boehlke stood fast by making a motion to consider suspending the work of the CMRB and its excessive central planning regime so the leaders of the region and their administrations could focus on their residents during one of the most unprecedented times in our history. The reeve rightfully proposed that COVID-19 should be the focus and elected politicians and the staff of municipalities should be available for the people who need them, and elected them.
The time, money and resources spent on this behemoth board are tough to measure. Like every big-government idea, they don’t make the dollars easy to track. We do know, however, that they spend millions a year to do what governments can and should be doing without them. Councillor Scott Klassen of Wheatland backed Reeve Boehlke’s motion, saying that the rural municipalities don’t have the abundance of employees that the urbans do, and they need all hands on deck for their people at the moment. Foothills Reeve Suzanne Oel was also in favour of this common-sense decision to consider suspending the board during the current crisis.
Not the urbans, though. The supporters of big government and high tax increases see no reason to stop a big machine while it’s rolling. We’re doing just fine, they said. Let us keep spending and meeting. They have lots of staff to work on this. It’s a hulking machine with one goal: to keep itself well fed.
In the end, the motion failed 6-3, with High River absent.
And while Boehlke may have lost the battle, he did not lose the war. His dogged and determined steadfastness in the face of this absurdity will win the day. History will show that he was on the right path, working to help the people of this region at a time when we need this kind of common sense the most. Even the mainstream media is starting to notice.
Just a couple of weeks ago, it was reported that a three-billion-dollar project was leaving RVC because of the CMRB. Imagine it? At a time we should be clearing the tracks for investment, this red tape machine is allowed to exist and push capital and job creation to Texas.
Keep loading that slingshot, Reeve Boehlke. Sooner or later, this political behemoth will fall and everyone will see it for what it is. Thank you for fighting for rural Albertans and for bringing some common sense and steadfast grit to a table full of staid elite urban bureaucrats who have looked down their noses at the people of this region for long enough.
We are lucky to have you in this region and history will serve you well for your efforts.
Rocky View 2020