Not hopeful of a fresh start

Listening this past week to various national news correspondents reporting from Ottawa, I wondered if our politicians really liked to be known as “battlers” and “bruisers.”
It almost sounded as if we were being prepped for round two of the “Battle of the Gladiators” once Parliament reconvened.
It is a good thing a boxing ring has four corners because the party leaders are going to use all of them.
If that turns out to the case, rather than let them joust indoors, maybe Canadians should insist their elected members all square off on skates on the Rideau Canal and put on a fierce display of bare knuckle hockey fighting.
Maybe they could knock some sense into each other.
Even on Sunday, after a cooling-off period of six weeks, “liar” and “untrustworthy” were words being used to paint the prime minister and his government.
It doesn’t bode well for this Parliament. The rhetoric that is building up does not reflect the need for co-operation.
There was a time when being a politician was considered an “honourable profession.” We judged our elected members for their abilities to lead by listening, questioning, presenting alternatives, and acting with civility and honour.
We expected our elected members to be diplomatic, concerned, and available. We expected them to be trustworthy, able to compromise, and that their word was true.
Today we evaluate our politicians as fighters. Today, the public has come to judge politicians very lowly. Where once politicians debated ideas and programs, today the debate is rancorous and personally vindictive.
John Rafferty, our new MP here in Thunder Bay-Rainy River, already finds himself in a quandary. While his leader, Jack Layton, has let any news-gathering company know that the NDP will vote against the budget regardless of what is offered, Mr. Rafferty told his constituents just last week that he will review the budget document and make up his mind independently of the party.
I wish him luck should he choose not to toe the party line.
Maybe I am misreading the build-up. I would like to believe the collegial co-operation that the members share individually in committee and over lunches and dinner would find its way into the House of Commons.
Maybe our politicians can make the population proud of Parliament and its members. Maybe those members can encourage Canadians to aspire to being elected to the House of Commons, and choose to get involved in politics and voting.
And maybe a fresh start will happen this week.
I am not hopeful.

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