I'm trying to think of all the traits I like in my politicians - the aspects of individuals that make me want to vote for them.
First is a strong moral compass that is centered around attempts to view the world objectively. In doing so, a great politician would pursue the ideals of equality, liberty, and the creation of a safe society. Also, they would focus on improving the lives of everybody in its sovereign realm, with an interest in social programming that benefits those parts of society that struggle to experience the same levels of equality and economic opportunity as are viewed as desirable. They would be interested in the environment - whole-heartedly interested. They would strive to make international cooperation a possibility rather than just a pipe-dream.
A great politician would have a soul. A wholly human soul.
And this great politician does not exist. I know that.
I also know that the current Canadian political culture does not predispose it to these kind of peoples. I also am beginning to see why the Canadian system of government is more broken than I believed it to be only days ago.
Canadian senate appointments have been contentious since the sixties, but gained prominence in 2004 and 2005 as Harper, then the Primeministerial candidate of the Conservative Party, promised to legislate senate elections for the federal government's Upper House. At the time, I felt the extension of more democratic rights to the people of Canada was quite dangerous - and, in reality, I still do. I don't know if it is valuable to have an upper house whose senators are elected in by the same people that are electing the government into power - I like to think that those appointed by the previous government can act as a measure of accountability on the current government.
But then I saw this today, in the news.
Bob Runciman, one of Harper's most recent appointments to the senate (yes, the same Harper that was elected to office on a promise of changing Senate appointment laws), is not a good politician. The Liberal Party of Canada has explained why by using Runciman's own words.
“We believe all references to sexual orientation should be removed from the Human Rights Code.” - 1994
“Homosexuality is essentially anti-family. It encourages promiscuous sexuality, a self-centred morality and socially irresponsible behaviour that exacts huge costs from society. The law has every right to discourage people from entering into paths that are demonstratively destructive, physically and psychologically, first to the homosexuals and to society itself.” - 1986
This man worked three times to remove homosexuality from the Ontario Human Rights Code during his time as an MLA for Leeds, Ontario. I'm glad he is now a senator in Canada's government.
But this does not surprise me. If we look at who else has been employed by Harper's government and certainly not reprimanded for his beliefs (ok, admittedly, this man was voted in again after that video was leaked - so he is employed by the people... though there are few people that would argue that Conservative's MPs are actually following the interests of the people...).
It is good to know who Harper puts into the government that has been granted, through history, sovereign rule over me. Who knows, maybe the next time Harper attempts to remove my right to marriage he'll have enough conservative MPs and Senators to get it through the house...