Is It Me? Or Them?

Not sure whether it’s just the heat of the summer or if it is just more noticable now, but it just seems like politicians don’t have minds of their own. I wrote about this subject in my last blog and the overwhelming response I received makes me believe it’s time for a movement of sorts. Just spent a week off, in the blistering heat of Southern Ontario and couldn’t help but ponder on the state of our union. No matter what level of government we look at, it seems that the “state” squashes all the good ideas politicians come up with. Don’t get me wrong, I think we are blessed to be Canadians, that we are global leaders in many areas and Canada’s economy is in many respects, the envy of the world, so we are good, but don’t we want to be great? I recall my time at the political table from 1991 – 2000 and yes there were times that the bureaucracy put up road blocks or pulled the stall tactics. And with not trying to sound like I’m patting myself on the back, but when that happened, I simply took the route I thought was proper process and put forward a motion for the political body to vote on. I did my best to convey why this was right, I tried to be as complimentary and courteous as possible, but none the less I was doing a sell job to my peers around the governing table. And for the most part, I won my argument, whether or not the bureaucracy wanted it. Lets recall the early days of the Harris Government in Ontario. Now, you don’t have to like what he did during his tenure, you don’t have to share his politics, you also don’t have to like him at all, but what you must confess, is that he did what he said he was going to do, regardless of the bureaucratic pressures. Back then I recall hearing rumours from the Queens Park bureaucracy that they had no idea what he was going to announce next, that there was policy writing staff, watching the news feeds in order to find out what legislation it was they had to write next, all without warning, all within the laws of the legislative authority the Premier had. Now in Provincial and Federal politics, it really helps a lot when you have a Majority Government, you never lose a vote, but that is not to say individually elected representatives, can’t represent us, they must, they should and they were elected by us to do just that. One major problem that will scare some is, if a member of a party steps over the line, the leader can eject them. However, the leader can not “un-elect” them, only kick them out of the party, which as we all know can affect their pay and electability in the future, so that may make them a little more gun-shy. I believe it is time, we, the electorate demand representation for our issues and our wants and needs. After all, isn’t that the way it is supposed to work? Are they not elected from the general constituency to represent the interests of that constituency? So, is it just me? The summer heat is maybe making me irritable, some reading this will say the heat is really getting to me, or is it them? Is it that our politicians have forgotten who elected them, why we elected them and what we expect from them? Without pointing fingers, I think they’ve lost the courage that got them there in the first place! And folks, believe me it takes a ton of courage to put your name, your family and your reputation on the line to run for an elected position. Let us not forget, many wouldn’t do or go through what politicians have to, I’ve been there and much of it isn’t fun. However, when you can make change that your constituents want, when you can stand up to the nay sayers and right a wrong, there is nothing more rewarding. So, where do we go from here? Well, politicians are famous for putting out little carrots that encourage us to support them, how about we put out our own carrot, “want our vote? Ok, tell us how you will be different!”

One response to “Is It Me? Or Them?

  1. Greg,

    I certainly appreciate your points about how difficult politics is – it’s a challenge for any family to endure, but you are also right – when you can right a wrong, or genuinely fix something, there is nothing more rewarding.

    Part of the challenge in this particular era is getting our newspapers and radio stations to actually engage in telling the stories our politicians are advocating – it seems that much like party leaders, the press is interested in dictating the story. My suggestion to them is to leave the storytelling and plot development to the individuals who are putting their lives, reputations, and ideas on the line for voting. Sure there is time to editorialize and write opinion columns, but when policy statements are made – get the right, and get the stories out. Do good writing. Cover the story. Don’t bury the lead. Play fair, including giving space to those who are putting in the effort to serve, to represent, and to lead.

    Thanks for writing a blog topic about politics! Looking forward to this fall’s campaign, and trusting your readers will be interested in following things closely…especially things that affect their businesses and employment.


    Andrew Johnson
    Mayor candidate
    City of Cambridge

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