As you might expect if you’ve read this blog before, I’m not too thrilled with the results of Monday’s election. Or, as I’m calling it, Our Darkest Day.
Just kidding. I find Stephen Harper fairly loathsome, and I don’t like much of what he proposes for Canada. But the people have spoken, and I’m of the opinion that in a country like Canada, nobody can push us to go somewhere we don’t want to go. In other words, if Harper goes all Republican on us, the public will punish him. I think. But what do I know? I thought the Liberals would finish second!
But you know what really bothers me? What ticks me off in an election is when good people are defeated. It bothers me when people who are good at their jobs, care about their constituents, care about the country, are, essentially fired.
Maybe this bothers me more than it bothers most people because I have personal experience with it. In the last Alberta election, a lot of excellent people — most of them friends of mine — were fired by the voters. Why? Because they ran for the wrong party.
You wouldn’t have found a more dedicated group of MLAs than people like Weslyn Mather, Bill Bonko, Mo Elsalhy, Rick Miller, Bruce Miller and Bharat Agnihotri, all MLAs for various Edmonton ridings. I know how hard they worked, how dedicated they were to their jobs, what long (and sometimes pointless) hours they put into their jobs. And they were all turfed, for reasons that had nothing to do with their job performance.
A lot of MPs were fired on Monday. I can’t speak about any of the Bloc Quebecois MPs, or any of the few Conservatives who lost. Maybe there were a lot of loafers in that lot, I dunno.
But can anyone tell me why Michael Ignatieff would lose his seat? Say what you like about his party, but does a man of his quality and stature deserve to be defeated? Maybe I’m naive, or idealistic (I can honestly say I’ve never been described that way), but isn’t he exactly the kind of you want in Ottawa?
And what about Ken Dryden, another defeated Liberal. Here’s another quality person. I had the privilege of meeting him when he was in Edmonton during the Liberal leadership race, and I was tremendously impressed (OK, maybe a little awed, too … it was KEN DRYDEN, for God’s sake!). We should be lucky that a guy like Dryden entered politics, instead of making his money selling his autograph to suckers for $20 a pop.
Saddest of all was the defeat of Gerard Kennedy, another former leadership candidate. I had lunch with him during the Liberal leadership, and I was amazed by his breadth of knowledge, his easy rapport with people, and his genuine concern for society (he founded the Edmonton Food Bank). He was, and maybe still is, a potential leader for the party, and I hope that despite the loss, he stays in the game.
So why would Gerard Kennedy be defeated? Beats me. Only in politics do really good people lose their jobs.
The last word on this goes to an MP named Glen Pearson. I’ve never heard of him until I was directed to his blog, which tells of his shock at being defeated. Read it, and tell me if it doesn’t make you genuinely sad. I don’t know him, don’t know if he was a good MP or a dud. But read it and tell me if this guy doesn’t sound like the real deal, who was defeated thanks to some skullduggery by the Tories.
Read his blog at http://glenpearson.wordpress.com. It will tell you, much better than I can, why so many good people never go into politics.
Maybe the people who defeated Ignatieff, Dryden, Kennedy and Pearson are quality, A-1 folks who played fair and square and won. But I doubt it.