In order to be in politics today you have to be thick-skinned and live a life that is able to withstand the scrutiny of our media, and everyone with a camera.
In my opinion it is time for Rob Ford to really rethink his position as mayor. In order to do this role effectively you need to be seen as a leader, one who is respected and people have faith in your decision-making abilities and able to follow when they need to.
I also am concerned about his health; the colour of his face and neck go redder and redder with each newscast, and at his current size he appears to be at a health risk for stress and heart condition. Being followed everywhere by a troop of media people, and the constant observation, must be taking its toll.
Typically of these embarrassing scenarios, it is deny, deny, deny, refocus to the ones who brought forward the issue as the bad guys — journalists and police chiefs — and then when the video is on the TV screen, “I’m sorry. I was in a drunken stupor. I may have lied, but hey, I can still lead this city and have the respect of my peers and the citizens. I made some mistakes.” Really?
I’m hoping that the people we elect to positions where decision-making is critical and thousands are depending on their ability to make wise, thoughtful decisions can trust that. In my view the majority of politicians we have elected to manage our villages, towns, cities, provincial and federal government are worthy of respect. Rob Ford reminds me of a character out of a movie about an old southern town from the 1940s. Not modern-day Toronto.
Toronto, like every city, has other issues it needs to focus on other than the after hours behavior of its mayor. Having the city mentioned on every late-night talk show is wonderful for getting on the international map, but as a joke, not really.
Politics is a difficult job and to want to live under such incredible scrutiny will take someone with a big ego, determination, personal strength and a personal code of values that will guide you so that you can do the job you have been supported with votes to do.
The way I see it, the case of the three suspended senators is another case of wanting a different set of rules. Wouldn’t common sense dictate there is to be a set of guidelines around expenses and someone to do checks and balances on those like there is for the hundreds, thousands of others who submit government expenses? So why was that ignored? Arrogance on the part of the senators?
I sit around tables with local agencies where $15,000 could make significant difference to a program that will provide support to parents and children. There are as many ways to look at spending the money wasted in these discussions with the senate as the imagination will allow in a manner that contributes real value to an individual or to an organization.
This is what frustrates so many Canadians when we work so hard for our dollars to make a living to support our families and our government. To see such blatant disrespect of their positions and the trust placed in them is very discouraging, and then every year we are asked to pay more taxes.
It is tough and as I sit here at my keyboard spouting out my view of the world, my name is not being put on any ballot for many reasons and one of them being I do not want that much attention on my life.
So we are in a tough place in our modern world, we want leaders to guide us to make thoughtful decisions because that is their job to be our voice, and to do this knowing every one is watching you and now has a camera on their phone to record your every move.
Politicians will work long hours, be expected to listen carefully to all the complaints and concerns that will come their way, have dinners interrupted, lose precious family times, have to read stacks of reports and presentations and be publicly judged for every decision.
So to all the others who are the majority who represent us with pride, who have our respect, thank you. We have far more solid politicians and people we can trust than those we can’t. I think locally we certainly have councils and mayors that we can respect; we may not always agree but that’s our democracy in action.
Many years ago thousands gave their lives so we could live in a democratic society, lest we forget.
Michele Blais has worked with families and children in the Vernon area for the past 27 years.