Provincial politics in Alberta can be hard to stomach sometimes. The kind of overwrought partisanship that comes with competitive electoral politics is new for many people in Alberta, and it can sometime be distasteful and feel alienating.
But this weekend we saw a bit of hope on a local level.
Waking up Saturday morning, Janis Irwin, the MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, found out that someone had spray-painted “ANTIFA LIAR” in big red letters on the front window of her 112th Avenue constituency office.
Only less than two-years into her first-term as MLA, Janis is probably is one of the hardest working constituency MLAs I know.
She’s my MLA, so it is hard not to notice that she shows up to almost every community event.
If there is something happening in the area, she’s there. If there is a neighbourhood clean up event, she’s probably there. She really exemplifies public service and community spirit.
She is also no slouch when it comes to speaking out against injustice and discrimination in Alberta, especially to her huge social media following.
So it was perhaps no surprise that without being prompted, the community stepped up to help Janis on that cold Saturday morning.
Within a few minutes of tweeting a photo of the graffiti, a random constituent who lives a few doors down was out scrubbing the paint off with acetone. Luckily the cold weather prevented the paint from sticking.
And within hours, along with hundreds of messages of support on social media, cut-out paper hearts and messages of support covered the office door and the window where the graffiti had been.
On a weekend where tiki torch-carrying racists openly marched on the streets of Alberta’s largest city, it is easy to be dismayed and grossed out by politics. But the community response in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood gives a glimmer of hope that ordinary people are standing up and supporting good people in politics who speak out against hate and discrimination.
Keep up the good work, Janis. We’ve got your back.