Top News

RUSSELL WANGERSKY: No more heroes. Please.

Strong November winds kept the Canadian flag on full display during the ceremony.
No more political 'heroes' … please.

I’m writing this when it’s virtually election day in Prince Edward Island, while a provincial election is underway in Newfoundland and Labrador, and while a federal election looms like thunderheads mere months away.

And I’m writing it after reading a column by Terry Hussey posted on the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador website (you can read it here.)

While Hussey is talking particularly about the election in his own province, I think it’s a good jumping-off point to look at politics right across the country. Hussey, to put it in a few words, wants the truth about the current realities, and a clear, big-vision plan for the future.

I disagree.

Because I don’t want a grand plan. Not anymore.

I’ve been to the political circus too many times, and I’m sick of the Big Top.

What do I want?

Well, I don’t want political ideologues — of any stripe. Not catering far-right or far-left positions that serve only to bolster one side of centre or the other. I don’t want promises of provincial or national pride or flag-waving or the finest rhetorical speaker alive who can fire us all up to believe in ourselves as never before.

I don’t want big ideas. I want perspiration, not inspiration — because inspiration is too easy to fake. Ask yourself: in your province, can you pick out a politician who has learned to fake it, and fake it well? I sure can — I’m out of fingers and toes counting already.

I don’t want the latest wunderkind.

I want a plod, someone who looks at public office as a necessary and difficult job that they plan to do and do right, but perhaps will only get to do just one term. Someone capable of making decisions that, if need be, clearly do the opposite of paving the way for re-election, but that are decisions that should be taken anyway.

We don’t need another hero. We need practical, pragmatic hard workers who would never, ever describe themselves as career politicians.

I want people who sees themselves as servants of the public first, and leaders of a province or country second.

The more someone blows their own horn, the more you realize that they really, really love that sound.

I want leaders who understand the need and value of immigration in an aging country, and who can view that need in a pragmatic way that doesn’t see the issue as something that has to be gunned up or leveraged using white nationalism as a voter-getter in any way.

I want a boring government with a healthy respect for evidence-based decision making, a recognition of the value of science in those decisions, and a willingness to spend an entire electoral term listening to people outside the inevitable echo chambers of premiers’ offices and the prime minister’s office.

I want governments that recognize that their decisions are not implicitly the right ones, simply because those are the decisions they made themselves.

I don’t want sparkle. I want shoe leather.

I don’t want them to be pugnacious: I would prefer them to be informed and careful and thoughtful. Someone who can “fire up the troops” at will often doesn’t have to do anything else.

Who needs heavy lifting when we have pride, right?

We don’t need another hero. We need practical, pragmatic hard workers who would never, ever describe themselves as career politicians.

I want premiers who don’t see the value in speaking engagements in other provinces, and who frankly don’t care if pundits say that they’re boring.

With all due respect to those who work very hard and do good work in the exceptionally difficult world of commission sales, we don’t need any more salespeople leading our governments.

Give me a dedicated person from order fulfillment instead.

Russell Wangersky’s column appears in 36 SaltWire newspapers and websites in Atlantic Canada. He can be reached at russell.wangersky@thetelegram.com — Twitter: @wangersky.


MORE FROM RUSSELL WANGERSKY

Recent Stories