I don’t normally write about politics, but given the stunning overthrow of the Conservative Party in Canada two days ago, I thought this might be a good day to offer up some advice to my truly “blue” friends today.
Why did they lose?
Well I’m no political pundit, but I say it came down to something my boys are learning all about in grade school: character. In fact, character is officially part of the curriculum of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).
“Character development at the TDSB is about helping students learn and practice positive character attributes. When we build good character, we build strong communities.” –TDSB website
Every month classes focus on learning one attribute and every month a few kids from each class are awarded a certificate for embodying that trait. When I looked at the list, it’s clear over the past 10 years, Stephen Harper and his regime (which is pretty much how he’s run things) overlooked some very elementary lessons about good government and community.
Respect--The blues showed respect, ugh…for small-minded, paranoid and/or uber wealthy constituents. They also have respect for the dollar and oil companies (that is until the price of oil tanked, at which point these workers were SOL).
Responsibility–Here’s where Harper really shone. He was fiscally conservative. He never ran a deficit (aside from 2008 when his “Economic Action Plan” stimulated the economy and lined the pockets of advertising agencies everywhere–great signage and commercials btw).
Empathy–The PM showed great empathy for the wealthiest 1% when he issued them lump sum Universal Health Care Benefit cheques the summer before an election (thanks for the bribe btw). Even better was his henchman Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander who has great empathy for all those Syrian refugees who have been sponsored to come to Canada but just can’t seem to ever seal the deal by actually being admitted to Canada.
And then there are CA’s really empathetic comments about a boy, dying of liver disease who was hoping to get a transplant from his Spanish cousin. The cousin was sent back at the boarder. Alexander was contacted to help untangle the red tape but never responded. When the media confronted him he said, something to the effect of, “I’m in the middle of campaigning, why are you asking me about this?” To which the reporter astutely responded, “BECAUSE IT’S A PERSON’S LIFE!”
Kindness & Caring–Despite Harper’s comfy sweaters in the last campaign, it’s hard to look warm and fuzzy when you’ve got the same eyes as Karla Homolka.
Teamwork–Teamwork is a great asset to the Harper party so long as you keep your mouth shut and do everything Harper’s handlers tell you to say/do. Especially if you’re a scientist.
Fairness–Aside from the robocall scandal of the last election and a “misprint” of ballots in certain ridings that were pre-ticked conservative this time around, the Blues ran a very long, very rich campaign. They managed to lose in spite of an uneven playing field.
Co-operation–Ummmm…you could probably ask the premiers about this one. My favourite tweet from today?
Integrity--Mike Duffy, the earnest attempt to make the niqab a political issue…or even Justin Trudeau’s hair as a mocking centrepiece. Thanks Steve for making the explanation of this word to my kids so nuanced!
Perseverance–calling the longest campaign in recent history showed great perseverance. It also taught us to never give up on people, like the Ford brothers. Despite your perseverance to see this campaign to the end–inclusive of game show-like antics reminiscent of the Price is Right–it somehow didn’t spell success.
That said, journalists commented on how “relieved” you appeared during your concession speech. So were we, Steve-o. So were we.
Here’s hoping the Conservative Party will go back to the drawing board for some soul-searching and take a page from elementary school curriculum and focus on character building.