CANADIANS AND POLITICS PART I

In the last year, Canadians have seen their government rocked by scandal, criminal probes, allegations, and charges of corruption. While the thought of corrupt politicians gets to be less of a surprise the older you get, there is a disturbing trend occurring, and I think that we should be very concerned.

I often use the term ‘a generation ago.’ It refers to a time roughly 30 years ago. It never ceases to amaze me how much the values of the nation, as well as the state of it, can change so drastically in such a short period of time.

When most of us think about the world our children will inherit, whether we consciously do it or not, we tend to think of things being the same as they are now. There are many variables, but I would bet that some of the constants would be a free society in Canada, an open border with the United States, the same freedoms that we enjoy now, and an economy pretty similar to today’s. As well, we simply believe that the world powers and influence will continue to be Judeo-Christian, or based on respect and mutual freedoms, love for our fellow man, and a belief in the sanctity of life. (That last one is failing fast.)

I don’t mean to talk in the negative, but I simply don’t think many really comprehend what is happening in our political arena right now. There is a battle being waged, and it is apparent that good may not always win.

Only a few short years ago, Canadians would have stood up en masse and demanded that those who were in power at the time of massive scandal abruptly rescind their authority and their right to govern. Not today. Not only are Canadians content to simply complain, but polls suggest that a great deal of them would also allow the same people to return to running our country. That is an atrocious indictment on our standards and of how low we have allowed them to fall.

Further, there was a time when there was honour among our politicians. They didn’t see their position as privileged, but as a privilege. In those days, a politician who had been found to be wanting in the area of integrity would have done the right thing and resigned. He would have placed the office which he held in a higher worth than his own reputation. Again, Canadians are not demanding that this honourable act be exercised, nor are our elected officials inclined to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors.

The problem I have with the current situation in Ottawa is not about the politicians or the bureaucrats. It is with us. As well, I am not simply referring to the current Liberal government. This standard of zero tolerance should not have any party affiliation attached to it. By simply agreeing to represent the people of their communities and ridings, politicians should understand that they will be held to a higher standard. If somebody wants the privilege of representing a great deal of others, they should be prepared to be leaders and good examples.

It used to be that there were opposing forces in government in Canada. There have always been liberals, conservatives, and to some extent, socialists. The meanings that we apply to those terms have changed over the years, but the same political stripes still exist. Regardless of the political party, our politicians have ceased to be leaders; they have ceased to lead by example. The sad thing is, for the most part, we have decided that that is okay.

I tell you, it isn’t.