In a column two weeks ago, I ventured the heretical opinion that the politicians we elect do not receive enough appreciation for the hard work and long hours they put in and for the stress their jobs create for their families. Their task becomes especially trying during a pandemic.
Would anyone care to second a motion that we declare a National Day of Appreciation for Politicians?
Perhaps not. Our instinct as citizens, taxpayers and voters is to criticize and condemn, not to compliment and thank, the men and women we elect to do the heavy lifting of democracy.
But surely this is an appropriate occasion – a year into the COVID-19 pandemic – to contemplate what a bruising year it has been for elected representatives. Although I’m thinking of the federal variety, provincial politicians have taken their share of the bruising.
Chief Executive Officer
London SW1A 1AA
Dear Sir or Madam,
I understand you are the person, the chief executive, who manages the business of the House of Windsor. I have scoured your website – royal.uk – and diligently researched other sources. Yet I have been unable to find any trace of you. No name, no gender, no job title. Would I offend you enormously if I called you CE?
No one has ever claimed that Canada is a breeze to govern. We have too few people spread too thinly over too much territory, too many overlapping layers of government, too many politicians scuffling over jurisdiction – and over cash. Not to mention a constitutional division of powers written in and for the age of the horse and buggy.
As a general proposition, the upper levels of the federal and provincial governments in this country are well stocked with informed, capable people – cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and heads of major boards and agencies. They don’t have to be rocket scientists – we had one of those at Rideau Hall and how did that turn out? – but for the most part, they are smart, responsible people, sensitive to the policies and priorities of their governments.
The Democrats on Capitol Hill had three objectives in their dramatic, at times chilling, prosecution of Donald Trump in his impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate last week.
Two of the three objectives were obvious. First, alert the American people to the fragility of their democracy and warn them that another rogue president might well bring their system of government crashing down. Second, disqualify Trump from ever again seeking high office. Historians will judge whether first objective was achieved; the second was not.
Do you remember?
Four months ago, on Sept. 23, when Parliament resumed following its summer hiatus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went on television and made a promise to the nation: “We will start working as of today with the provinces and territories in order to establish new national standards for long-term care.”
In a remarkable week when he had to ask for the resignation of the Governor General, when a new COVID-19 variation took hold while the original strain continued to rage out of control, and when a supply interruption disrupted the distribution of vaccine, there was one bright note for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Two days to go – two days until Joe Biden is in and Donald Trump is out.
There was a time, not eons ago, when earthlings wondered if there might be intelligent life on Mars. A more pertinent concern for Ontario earthlings in 2021 might be if there is intelligent life in their government at Queen’s Park.