Where change has to start
Like many Canadians, I’m very concerned about recent events in Canada’s Parliament. Many people are shaking their heads and saying, “What on earth is going on here?”
What is going on here ? Arrogance and hypocrisy – that’s what. It’s that simple, and no-one is innocent.
Let’s step back from the rhetoric and flag-waving, and look at what really happened. No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the government’s decision to withdraw the subsidy from the smaller parties is the real issue. That’s what triggered the reaction from the Opposition. Now they’re into a spat, and no-one wants to admit that they realize they’re jeopardizing the stability of the country over something so trivial, because that would mean admitting they were wrong.
And let’s face it, everyone is wrong in this scenario.
The government is wrong because of its arrogance and hypocrisy. The government’s decision to withdraw the subsidy is like saying “we won the election, now we’re going to rub your nose in it”. No matter what anyone says, it was an unnecessary slap in the face to the smaller parties, and the amount of money saved wouldn’t even have been that large in the grand scheme of things – only about a dollar per year per Canadian. And now that they’re in real danger of losing power, they are trying to say that all they are concerned about is the good of the country, when the truth is they just want to protect their own kingdom.
The coalition is wrong because of its arrogance and hypocrisy. While they too are claiming to have only the best interests of Canadians at heart, their real agenda – a grab for power and a chance to get back at the hated Tories – is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. A party that got its lowest share of the popular vote in 141 years is going to save the country by banding together with a party that wants to destroy the country and a party that hasn’t won a federal election in its 75-year history, and the Prime Minister is going to be a man who was so soundly defeated in the last election that even his closest supporters told him it was time to step down? Come on, let’s be honest. This is not about the good of the country. It’s about a chance for the Liberals and the NDP to put Stephen Harper in his place.
But ordinary Canadians are wrong too. We’re just as arrogant as the leaders we condemn. Their cynicism and opportunism are just a reflection of our own. We get the government we deserve. We act so shocked that our politicians are behaving this way – yet I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say “All politicians are crooks”. Maybe it’s not so surprising that they behave like crooks when that’s all we expect of them.
It’s easy to point the finger at someone else – after all, both sides in the House of Commons are doing it, so why not follow their lead and point the finger at the lot of them – but what about us? Most of us have lost our vision for a better country, a righteous country, a country of high ideals. We’ve forgotten that a country can be no better than its citizens. Maybe It’s time for us to take a cold, hard look at what a cynical, self-interested, short-sighted people we have become. We need to expect better of our Parliamentarians, yes – but we also need to expect better of ourselves. If I want my leaders to live by high standards, standards of integrity, trustworthiness, truthfulness, compassion and vision – do I expect the same things of myself? That’s where change has to start.