Saturday, March 17, 2012

Conservatives Aren't From The Devil

Kitchener, ON

"We need to do something to get rid of these c***s."

It's rare that I hear that word at all, let alone in a room full of people, but there he was, a "gentleman" speaking up at an event where NDP Leadership Candidate Nathan Cullen was speaking. To his credit, Mr. Cullen wagged his finger at the questioner and encouraged those assembled to keep the dialogue polite.

Although most of us wouldn't use that word when describing our political adversaries, there are plenty of us doing our part to contribute to the toxicity that we see in Ottawa.  We start labeling each other. Those of us on the left may secretly call Stephen Harper and his team "right-wing bigots with a hidden agenda," and those on the right call us "give-everyone-a-pony socialists who have no morals."

We must move above the fray if there is to be any consensus and co-operation in the next 3+ years in the House of Commons.

Recently I had a scheduled meeting with my Member of Parliament, Stephen Woodworth of Kitchener Centre.  Mr. Woodworth has been heavily lampooned locally for several reasons, the latest of which is what some see as the beginning of re-opening the abortion debate in Canada.

The day arrived for our meeting, and I must admit, I went in expecting a curmudgeonly, aloof guy who was simply meeting with me for "brownie points."  Instead, Mr. Woodworth proved to be extremely engaging and we talked about family and a few topics before getting to the meat of the meeting (no pun intended.)  I walked out with a new respect for this Conservative.

Similarly, I happen to know one of the other Conservative MP's in our area, Harold Albrecht of Kitchener-Conestoga. Harold was my pastor for at least a year, and during that time I quickly found out that here was a man of integrity, a real stand-up guy.  When we New Democrats lost our leader Jack Layton several months ago, we gathered at Speaker's Corner in downtown Kitchener. Who was also there? Harold Albrecht, showing his support and conveying his condolences.

Speaking of Jack Layton, he was called "Smilin' Jack" by many in the media, and that's because he could vehemently disagree with the policies of his adversaries, but not make it personal.

And that is the point of this blog entry. As we go forward as the Official Opposition in the next 3 years, we have a choice: to persist in name-calling and labeling Stephen Harper, Tony Clement, John Baird and others as devils, or we can do what Jack did: roll up our sleeves and work for Canadians. Mr. Harper, Mr. Clement, Mr. Baird and others have families, causes they are passionate about, and they love this country.

Whoever our next leader is - and we'll find out in a week! - would be wise to implement Jack's rule of keeping his caucus from yelling in the House of Commons when others are speaking. My pick for leader is Thomas Mulcair, known to have a temper. But I believe Mr. Mulcair can take a statesman-like approach, and rise above the fray of name-calling and demonizing.  This does not mean that we remain passive concerning the policies of the Conservative government, many of which we vehemently oppose.  We must get to the bottom of the electoral fraud scandal, and fight when taxpayer's money is spent on needless things like million-dollar gazebos and unneeded prisons.

But surely we can hold our tongue before calling our political foes c***s.

Mark Andrew Alward


j cooper said...

I agree that this is not the type of language to call the conservatives. More appropriately, they are close to being fascists based on the bullying tactics that they have used since the formation of the Reform Alliance and Conservative parties. How easily we forget history and the 1930's. This is the kind of activity that right wing parties used all over the world to gain power and to punish and destroy their opponents. Yes, we can be polite and smile. In addition, we must be careful not to be naive about their outward politeness and their intent.

Cameron said...

Nice post, Mark Andrew. You're absolutely right. That's what always bothered me with the way people demonized George W, or assumed he was entirely stupid. It ended the possibility of a reasonable debate on policy. It's toxic and cynical and just continues to turn people off of electoral politics.

Also, I think John's comment is important. It's dangerous to buy into them being 'nice guys and gals' in the same way demonizing them is. It again takes away from real debate on policy. I know that Woodworth is committed and does care about people in the community. That doesn't mean that his actions won't be damaging. It's his actions, not his being, that's the problem.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Woodworth makes lots of trouble for his own party, he was told by the party to drop the whole redefining of a human being because they knew it was an abortion issue. He did it anyways, and the party had to distance themselves. Sorry but from another Conservative I’ve heard he’s a buffoon when it comes to politics and he’s constantly frustrating the party by gravitating towards the wrong topics. Nice guy, not a great MP.

I think we DO need MP's to work FOR Canadians, and Canadians deserve a voice to tell them when they don't agree with what is going on.

Stephen Harper was the one to call NDP socialists, he called out the Liberals and NDP for some kind of "coalition" that never happened.

He consistently demonizes the two other parties with his name calling, trying to scare Canadians into thinking one will bankrupt the country with puppies and rainbows (also destroying social decency letting those gays marry and women have abortions all the time) and the others will lie to you and hand money over to their friends or stuff their own pockets.

We shouldn't use the tactics the Conservatives use... but we do need to defend democracy, and sometimes go on the offensive, it’s only fair to call him a devil when his actions show he’s a schemer.

The biggest problem is he can do whatever he wants with a majority... just look at what he's done so far... another 3 years and this won't be the same country.