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LETTER: Time to enjoy your retirement, Jack

St. John's East MP Nick Whalen (left) and NDP candidate Jack Harris.
St. John's East MP Nick Whalen (left) and NDP candidate Jack Harris. - SaltWire File Photo

Way back in the summer of 1985, I worked on the campaign to elect Jack Harris, NDP to Ottawa and we won!

What a feeling that night at the old Battery Hotel where we, as volunteers, celebrated the win and Jack. Writing this now, I remember my walk home that lovely summer night after the celebrations; I really felt like my feet didn’t touch the ground.

It’s almost 35 years later and Jack has a stellar history as an opposition or third party member here in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

And I’m 60 now and Jack is somewhat older than me. I’m retired now, too, and doing volunteer work; still using my education and experience from my 30+ years in health care. I’ve done some teaching and mentoring of people who have used the services where I have volunteered. It’s been quite rewarding.

Thankfully, politics is changing; trying to be more progressive and inclusive, needing more young, but educated and experienced people, in politics. More women need and want to take up the political challenge, rightly so.

Jack, you had your turn over many, many years. You have done what you could.

Further, the days of white guys of privilege, like me and you, too, Jack, being fully in charge are eroding rapidly and the new generation is trying to do things better, inclusively and differently. It’s far from perfect, as we are all imperfect people just trying to do our best. And, in my opinion, not all the blame for the bad political behaviour goes to men. Please remember how women in the NDP-NL treated Lorraine Michael and how the two very capable women and former federal cabinet ministers rendered themselves politically moot because they couldn’t accept how other people do political business.

Yes, we can all strive to do better and eventually, maybe, we will.

So, that’s why I'm supporting the Liberal incumbent in my riding and the man Jack wishes to challenge, Nick Whalen, MP.

Whalen is a young, intelligent, 40-year-old lawyer, married to a local N.L. physician and with a young family. Given the chance Whalen would be a good person in the federal cabinet, too, after the fall election, to more effectively represent N.L. issues than they are now.

But Jack b’y, I’m sorry to say you need to just get out of the way.

Get your ego in check, and retire, (I assume your pensions are healthier than mine) mentor or teach — the political science department at Memorial would be lucky to get you.

But your decision to feed your ego and run again as if anyone in opposition or the third party could really do anything for anyone, disappoints me greatly.

Your federal leader, I doubt, is ready to be prime minister. He does not captivate me at all, and does not seem to be any match for our young, vibrant, good on his feet, articulate PM Justin Trudeau. Trudeau quickly became statesman-like, held his own with other world leaders and surpassed “you-know-who” in how to do politics, and is obviously able to deal with huge international issues and internal party conflicts.

Your decision, Jack, in my opinion, to run yet again is so much more about you than us; and that to me is proof old school, last century-style politics.

Best of luck Whalen and Trudeau. I look forward to knocking on doors in my neighbourhood for you, as I did for Jack, in the name of more progressive, modern, inclusive of those who have previously been excluded, but not yet perfect, politics.

Geoff Chaulk,
St. John’s


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