I recently had cause to contact my local MLA’s Office because of an issue that I have encountered with the Government of Alberta. The only problem is I don’t like contacting my MLA’s Office because it isn’t accessible and don’t feel that I am represented I further feel that a lack of accessibility should never be encouraged by simply ignoring it. Because of this fact I made the decision to call another MLA’s Office that borders my MLA’s Office. Upon calling I was told that because I wasn’t a constituent that they wouldn’t be able to assist me, they strongly “encouraged” me to contact my own MLA. When I explained that I didn’t want to contact my MLA and told them why they still insisted that they couldn’t assist me; and to think all I had was a question.
I ended up contacting an MLA in Southern Alberta whose staff was very helpful. How incredibly ridiculous is it that it took me more than 24 hours to access democracy; I had to go to another City to access the information that I required.
When I spoke to individuals about what I perceive to be a very serious issue I was told it was protocol and that each MLA has an agreement to not over step there boundaries; a gentlemen’s agreement if you will.
When it comes right down to it I don’t care about protocol or any agreement among elected officials that are elected to represent every constituent equally.
When I was employed in a constituency office this would never have happened 10-15 years ago. Have things really changed to the point that constituency offices are turning people away because they dont reside within a constituency.
Some of you might say that it isn’t a big deal; if a person needs to talk to their MLA they can always meet him/her at the Legislature office, the MLA doesn’t answer questions or advocate on behalf of constituents on a small scale; that is up to the office staff.
I have a solution to this problem; instead of staff turning away citizens creating a situation where the citizens feel that they are not represented, perhaps staff could work on finding an accessible office so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again or better yet would be for Politicians to legislate that all MLA Offices be accessible. If Nova Scotia can do it so can Alberta: