Most of my friends seem to have firmly fixed views on who is right and who is wrong in Canada’s current political crisis. Those of my friends who are evangelical Christians seem especially sure of their convictions. Sometimes their absolute certainty on such at best uncertain matters reminds me of a humourous comment by Mark Lowry regarding the preachers of his childhood, to the effect that they were “sometimes wrong but never in doubt”.
Well, I confess it – I’m an evangelical Christian too. But despite that fact, I seem to have this curious propensity to want to see all sides of an issue.
Yes, I do have my preferences as to who should govern our country. On balance, I prefer Mr. Harper’s leadership to the other available options, despite his evident weaknesses (all leaders have weaknesses, even though it isn’t considered politically wise to admit that fact – and therein lies part of the problem). I am relieved that the Governor General agreed to prorogue Parliament and thus save the government from defeat at the hands of the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition, because I believe the newly-elected government should have a chance to govern.
But I also hope that the government and the opposition parties profit from their 7-week recess to take stock of their attitudes and come back with a determination to actually work together for the good of the country. That, after all, is why they were elected. I would like to see our Parliamentarians – especially the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the leaders of the Bloc and the NDP – grow up and learn to behave with humility, dignity, civility, integrity, statesmanship and grace. Our country needs real leaders – not just people who are good at outwitting one another in backroom deals, and coming up with effective put-downs and sound bites to make themselves look good and the opponent look bad.
Our Prime Minister did not win a majority government, no matter how much he might regret that fact. He can only win the support of the House if he is able to convince at least one other party that his government has worthy policies to offer. That task will require him to overcome his legendary stubbornness enough to actually follow up on his recent offer to receive constructive policy suggestions from the other parties. And the opposition parties, who haven’t been very convincing in their claim that their coalition was born out of the purest and noblest of motives, need to make up their minds to treat the resumption of Parliament as a chance to make a positive contribution, not just as another opportunity to grab power. If they play the same game again when Parliament resumes in January, they may find that they pay a heavy price at the polls in the election that is almost certain to follow. Canadians seem to be saying pretty clearly that they are tired of all the game-playing.
Well, that’s my take, anyway. I think it’s time to move beyond partisan approaches and seek a more collegial approach. We are in a crisis, and no other approach will do. In closing, I’d like to encourage you to read this excellent article by Bruce Clemmenger of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Feel free to post your comments.