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What our politicians should aspire to…

and many achieve – even though their efforts are noticed by but a few…

But some do, nonetheless.

I go back and forth on Facebook with an old buddy of mine from undergrad. I’m a progressive centrist and he is a dyed-in-wool C and c conservative. We most enjoy the parry and thrust of our debates and always part amiably.

And once in a while one of us – or some other voice that enters into the discussion – makes a point that resonates with all, no matter what the political stripe.

Our 308 Members of Parliament work hard for each and every one of us. Love ’em or hate ’em. Red or blue or orange. East or west. Federalist or separatist. No matter. You can question the motives all you want but each of these men and women have given up any semblance of a normal life for public service as a vocation.

We, as Canadians, hear about only a very small proportion of these men and women. These are the party leaders and their main lieutenants – the Cabinet Ministers and shadow Cabinets and spokespersons, etc. How many do these number? Maybe a dozen, at best? But we judge all of the rest by the actions of these few.

And I am guilty as anyone else. I judge the entire Conservative party by the actions of Harper, Baird, Polievre, Toews and the rest whose style and philosophies I despise. Others judge all of the Grits by what Ignatieff and Rae say. All of the NDP is associated with (and I hate this tag) “Taliban” Jack. All Bloq members are assumed to be just as single minded about splitting up Canada as is their leader.

But we are wrong. There is much more substance to the other MPs. We just never hear about them because they are intentionally silenced or are overwhelmed by the largeness of the personalities that do have the public spotlight shone upon them.

These other 290 or so MPs do matter – most of all to the constituencies they serve.

How many of you have heard of the nameless backbencher who, upon hearing of the plight of a family whose house had burned down, rushed to ensure that any tools at his or her disposal were immediately offered to succor the homeless family.

How about the Coast Guard worker who was seriously injured on the job but was having a helluva time getting approval for the purchase of a prosthetic limb. Newspaper picks it up. MP notices. Things happen.

I remember old Stan Darling who was the Tory MP in Parry Sound/Muskoka for about 585 years. He never went up the party ladder very far but the folks in the riding kept voting him back in because they could count on him to be there when they needed him.

And that is what most of the other 290 MPs are like – a whole bunch of Stan Darlings.

Why am I writing about this?

The old friend that I mentioned at the beginning posted this on his Facebook status yesterday. Where he lives and the stripe of his MP is not important here.

Over seven months ago our little Airforce Assoc. Wing put in for a Federal Grant for new furniture and washroom reno’s… The Fed’s came through; we’re getting our grant. This is one example of the good that government does; the good that MP’s and their staff do for “regular guys”… I just thought I’d throw that out among all the election poo poo….These men and women do a lot of good ya know.

Yeah. They do a lot of good. They all do. It’s nice to be reminded of that from time to time.

Con or Grit or Dipper or Bloq. From Bear Mountain B.C. to St. John’s NL – they believe in what they are doing and they try really, really hard. Even if we cannot stand the leaders and the main figures, maybe we should all show a little more respect to the working level folks. It wouldn’t hurt..


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  1. If you listen to the no-so-Quebecized rhetoric of the Bloc, they say a lot that would be good for the rest of Canada too.

    A Bloc-head associate of mine once told me this:

    Canada is broken. That is obvious if you’re from Quebec, but they know it in the west and in the east too. Only Ontario doesn’t seem to see that. We want to fix Canada. If that means leaving Canada, fine, but many of the things Quebec wants are things other provinces should want, or will want once we get them. Federalism needs to be fixed. If Quebec has to be the lightning rod for that, fine.

    Coming from the west as I do, I was forced to agree with this. I’d have a lot more respect for the Bloc if they’d drop the separatism angle and concentrate on the core message above. Hell, they could probably win seats across the country… largely disrupting the NDP, I’d expect, so perhaps that’s a good thing (I think Duceppe is much, much smarter than Layton).

    In any case, I like this article. When election day comes, peopl have to:

    a) actually get off their lazy arses and vote; and
    b) vote FOR something, not AGAINST something.

    Those two reasons are why we’ve had poor government for so many years… people can’t be arsed to vote, and when they do they vote an “anything but…” line. That has to stop.

  2. Dave says:

    My dad taught me years ago that it was perfectly ok to hate the policies of a man without hating the man. The greatest breakthrough we ever had in governing is the concept of a “Loyal” opposition. One is not necessarily trying to destroy the country just because they differ from me in how they think it should be run. You are correct that the vast majority of the people in politics are honourable, hard working, ethical people. What I do find less than admirable though is that they allow the rabid few, to whip them in line so much. If they stood up to their party leadership as energetically as most of them work for their constituents the entire system would be better served.

  3. Ken says:

    The Bloq? Not a chance in hell. They have one goal only, and it’s a purely selfish one: Break up Canada for the “betterment” of the people of Quebec.

    That’s a big pile of steaming crap, and everyone knows it.

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