Everybody's in high definition now. Computer screens, cellphones, and television monitors have all adopted new standards that create images that are much sharper than they used to be. They also reveal the blemishes and wrinkles on people's faces that were previously invisible.
High definition is often discussed in relation to the number of lines that are used to create on image on the screen. High-definition television 1,080 or 720 lines, which is something like twice as many as non-HDTV. This means that high definition has more information. Images in high definition are denser. There's more for your eye to see.
But the lines are not the only measure that defines high definition. Two other measures are scans, and frames. The scan rate is the number of times per second that an image is refreshed. High definition is giving your eye more to see, because of the lines, but it's also doing it more often, because of the scan rate. You get more, and get it more often, with high definition. And the third measure, that of frames, can be thought of as the number of timese per second that the image has been created within the four boundaries of the device you're watching. As with the scan rate, high definition is created using more frames per second. High definition therefore offers you something more often.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (Jason Franson/CP)
I noticed during the last Alberta general election, in the weeks leading up to May 5, 2015, that Rachel Notley's image on television and on the computer screen was much sharper than those of her opponents. This was partly because she was choosing solid colours for her jackets, which were dark grey or black, sometimes maroon or even beige. The debates were broadcast on high-definition television (HDTV), which was just coming into its own as a standard. The aspiring premier's image was sharp and clear, and I suppose this had something to do with her upset victory. Voters certainly opted for something different, and the clarity of what was on offer can only have enhanced its appearl
Alberta will hold its next election this year. So I was thinking again of high definition's lines, scans, and frames, but as a metaphor or way of speaking. As in 2015, in the election of 2019 there's going to be more to see of Rachel Notley. And not because of her colour choices but because of her experience as premier for four years. The first two years were overshadowed only by passing farm-safety legislation for which consultations had been weak. Since then, she's managed her cabinet like a master.
Yet she's been at the centre of events that could have led to political problems. During her term, Alberta has experienced dive in oil-prices that have devastated provincial revenues. She's contended with a federal government that has at expressed distinerest in pipeline investments which are an economic priority for the province. In relation to these and other problems, she's taken clear and timely action. Not everyone will agree with what she has done, but she didn't fade into the background. She remained in high definition - visible yes, but more than visible, clearly and distincly resolved.
More importantly she's also been a head of government during a historical moment in which missteps, scandals, and misspeaks frequently, and quickly, bring leadership into disrepute. This is the age, after all, of apologies and walking back. The lines, scans, and frames of high definition mean there's more to see when you look at public figures, and it comes at you more often. The premier of Alberta has been in full view, which will invite comparison with her opponents.
Let me be the first to say it, but I'm convinced - Rachel Notley will take the provincial election in Alberta again. It's clear as high definition.