When good people get fired.

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.

5 thoughts on “When good people get fired.

  1. Peggy Nash defeated Gerard Kennedy. She is an outstanding person and the former M.P. for the riding.

  2. Well Maurice, taking in consideration your comments in your last blog about the Conservatives and the NDPers, I am quite sure that you are very disappointed and surprised. I would like to remind you though that the Liberals dug their own graves big time and I doubt they will come back soon. The Liberal party moved to the right big time to be electable and is now paying the price. You have to admit that neo liberal economics and politics have little to do with the Old Liberal ideas. In life we make choices and sometimes those choices are very wrong. 39% of us are conservatives but the other 61% are not. Of these 61% at least 30 are very centre left and that is the reason for the NDP surge. The liberals had that place before but they traded it for power! Canadians do not need to parties on the right. They kicked the one that was opportunist as simple as that. Nothing really difficult to understand. As far as I am concerned the great positive about this election is that Canadians are not that disengaged after all. The ones that manage to endure a very undemocratic and disfunctional system, do know what they want. Of course the Conservatives are already talking as if they won 75% of the vote but that is to be expected and the reason for the great concern I have for the next 4 years.

  3. I have to echo Duncan’s comment about Gerard Kennedy and Peggy Nash. Peggy is an outstanding person who represented her constituents well – she did not deserve to lose to Kennedy the first time around. Now the voters in her riding have decided that she represented them better as an MP from 2006 – 2008 than than Kennedy did from 2008 – 2011 and decided to return her to parliament rather than Kennedy.

  4. You had me until the last sentence. Let me get this straight: only Liberals (and I’m assuming NDs) are decent, hard-working people who really care about their constituents and the concept of public service, while Conservatives aren’t.

    That’s a mighty broad brush, there. I happen to know a great number of individuals who are hard-working, conscientious and caring public servants. Oh, they also happen to be Conservatives at both the provincial and federal levels.

    You can’t honestly keep a straight face and tell me there’s no corrupt left-wingers and that all right-wingers are corrupt. There’s a litany of sins on both sides of the fence. People are people: some get into politics for the right reasons (no pun intended), while others do it for their own selfish agenda. Party doesn’t matter.

    1. Actually, I didn’t say only Liberals are good people. If it read that way, that was not my intention. I know there are a lot of good people on both sides; I was in politics for a while, and I know there are plenty of good people on all sides.

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