Anybody who has spent much time around any legislative body has seen them. People, usually young, scurrying around in ill-fitting suits with lopsided ID badges who are often quite overworked and underpaid. This is the staffer-class in politics. These people are often recent poli-sci graduates or folks who got hired by the party in reward for years of hard work and volunteering. The jobs really don’t pay very well and are notoriously unstable due to political conditions.
Most staffers understand that they are always just one election away from potential unemployment. Staffers can at least prepare to a degree and take their unemployment in stride after an election.
This week’s events were unlike an election. Danielle Smith and 8 other opportunists abandoned their constituents and party members when they negotiated a secret deal and joined the party across the floor. What has been forgotten is that bevy of young staff members who were caught flat footed and now face unemployment at Christmas time.
Last night a female staffer was escorted from the offices while others had to pack her things. More of this will clearly be coming and many who haven’t been fired yet sit in frightened limbo.
Let’s be clear, the Prentice government does not want these staffers. These were loyal partisans to the Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives don’t want them suddenly accessing their party databases. These staffers will be toast and the reduced Wildrose caucus simply doesn’t have the resources to keep them.
Not everybody is as heartless and self-serving as Danielle Smith thankfully. A fund was set up last night to at least soften the blow to these victims of political treachery and as of this posting it is over $7,000 already.
People from across the political spectrum are pitching in as even former NDP Leader Brian Mason has donated $500 along with a myriad of both smaller and larger donations.
Please consider tossing a few dollars in to help the young families hurt here. We have just witnessed a case of the worst political betrayal in Alberta history. Let’s end the year with a little Christmas magic to show that not all of us are as heartless as some of our political representatives appear to be.