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I Was Invited To The Ledge. Here's What It Was Like.

Government (the NDP most of all) is as entitled as you think it is. In fact, it’s probably worse. My recent adventure at the Alberta Legislature proved it so.


Of course, one doesn’t just walk into government’s house. They can walk into ours practically whenever they please, but we can only walk into theirs with special invitation and security clearance.


This is especially true when one wants to enter The Chamber (it would be better called The Lions’ Den) where Question Period takes place. One has to surrender his phone, walk through metal detectors, and observe strict visiting rules in order to watch Alberta’s MLA’s debate.

I didn’t know all this before. I know it now because I was invited to watch the UCP release their budget at the Ledge. As a sweetener, I was asked to watch the Question Period before it, as well. Now, although I was generously invited by a newly-elected UCP MLA (and a very humble one, with a consummate professionalism, I might add) I work hard to judge all politicians, parties, and government, without political bias. What follows, then, is not an endorsement or apology of any party, but an objective analysis of the day.  


Question Period

What a waste of 90 minutes. I could’ve watched paint dry for an hour and a half, and it would’ve been a better use of my time. But that’s not much of an analysis; everyone knows that Question Period is a waste of time, and everyone knows the opposition turns it into more of a circus than it already is.


Put simply, it goes like this:

1.     An NDP MLA asks the UCP a question.

2.     The UCP MLA rises to answer the question.

3.     The NDP breaks out into a petulant whine as the UCP answers the question.

4.     Repeat.


In fact, the NDP’s obnoxious jeering was so loud, we up in the gallery couldn’t even hear what the UCP MLA’s answer to the question was.


A Tale Of Two Kingdoms

Admittingly, Question Period didn’t brand a vivid impression upon me. The atmosphere of government, however, which can only be experienced, and not described, did. I left the legislature with one thought piercing my mind: Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, and the world is not of Christ’s kingdom. 

For one example of what I’m talking about, take rules. Jesus detests legalism. The Scriptures are clear about that. He doesn’t demand protocol to approach His throne. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,” He says (Matthew 11:28-30). “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven,” He tells His disciples (Matthew 19:14). He doesn’t require pomp or perfection from His audience. There are no procedures, and certainly no petty traditions, to serve the King of the Cosmos. All that’s needed is faith in the Lord Jesus’ salvation at the cross.


Not so in government.


There are so many rules to observe, both for MLA and visitor. One only stands when the Speaker of the House is sitting. Politicians can wave at us from the chamber, but we aren’t allowed to wave at them back. MLA’s need to bow to the Speaker’s chair as they leave and enter the chamber, and we have to make sure we don’t rest our papers on the ledge of the gallery.


If our bureaucracy cared as much about the big rules - like murder, theft, illegal immigration, and assault - as they do the small rules - like when to bow to the speaker, when to stand for the sceptre, and how to enforce the rules for the gallery - we would have a far freer, and safer, society than we do right now.


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