Living

Before you post that…

I love how Facebook can be a place to share and learn different perspectives. I hate, hate, hate, how Facebook turns too often into skirmishes of opinion.

In case you don’t know, I live in Alberta. Rural Alberta. In case you don’t know, Facebook has turned into a battleground (at least on my feed) over a local issue that suddenly seems to be overshadowing all the international memes that have dominated the last couple of weeks.

There’s a new bill that’s been brought forward in our legislature that addresses farm safety and the labour rights of farm workers, mostly aligning farms with Occupational Health and Safety and WCB laws that already apply in other industries. It includes some language that has smaller, family farms very concerned. It could affect the legality of children helping with farm chores, the hiring of seasonal help, even of neighbours lending a hand.

It’s very troubling for many of my friends and neighbours, and I’ve been very hesitant to state an opinion, as I can see several sides of the many sides of this issue. I’m still not going to (state an opinion that is), but I couldn’t keep quiet anymore about one main thing:

Perspective

Here’s a fact that most people are not aware of, or at least they are not acknowledging: This law was coming. Pretty much the rest of the country has similar legislation, and wether Alberta elected a Conservative, NDP, Liberal, or Wildrose government this past election, a law for us would likely have been on the to-do list.

If this law had been presented by a conservative (small ‘c’) government, would the outcry be the same? Likely there would be the same concerns, but would I be seeing the same aggressive promotions of petitions to kill the bill?

Does this seem like a slap in the face to conservative voters? Sure it does. Does it feel like the big city is bossing around the farmers? I can understand that. Does it seem like the drafters of this bill need dose of farm-way-of-life reality? Um, yes. Definitely.

But I’m afraid that too many people are going on what they’ve heard from the media and family and friends, without reading the entire bill themselves, without orange or blue glasses on.

I’m not saying that to necessarily support Bill 6, or the current provincial leadership.

I’m saying it as a wake up call to quit throwing mud. Bills are amended, laws are changed–All. The. Time.

Intelligent, constructive feedback is going to get way more attention and consideration than emotional rhetoric. Why are we wasting time abusing each other verbally and virtually when we could be having a conversation (and a few thoughtful people are) about the nuts and bolts of how this type of legislation might work, given the realities of life for the Alberta farmer? Get involved! Get the bill to committee! But please, do it courteously and thoughtfully.

At the core of it, this bill is about safety. Let’s not forget that. Despite the cringe-worthy comments from both sides, could we assume for a few moments that everyone’s intentions are good? I know I don’t have to look very far to find a struggling family farm, but I also don’t have to look far to find someone who has been affected by a farming accident. Maybe put on their glasses while you read Bill 6, and see if you start thinking some different thoughts.

Perspective. That’s all.

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