The leaders of the political parties were traveling together on a bus to the Leaders’ Debate. The bus went off the road and crashed into the ditch. A farmer living nearby hears the horrible crash and rushes out to discover the wreckage. Finding the politicians, he buries them. The next day, the police come to the farm to question the man. “So you buried all the politicians?” asked the police officer. “Were they all dead?” The farmer answered, “They said they weren’t, but you know how politicians lie.”
I actually have a higher opinion of politicians than I let on. The scripture says, The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’ (Dan 4:17) Politics is God ordained and plays an important role in bringing order and stability to any society. Many don’t know I ran in the 1993 Federal Election for the Reform Party in Winnipeg South. 15,100 people thought I would make a good Member of Parliament. Second place, but close only counts in horse shoes. I am still a Reformer at heart and I don’t see any party that resembles what we were trying to do in the days before the Reform party became the Canadian Alliance and then was swallowed up by the Tories. I met Steven Harper in those days as he was also running and was elected as a Reform MP. He didn’t like the tedious work of a MP and quit after only one term. You will remember he only returned to politics to run for the leadership of the newly re-branded Tories.
Make no mistake about it he is no longer carrying the Reform banner. In those days we were a populist party that was trying to reform politics and put the power of government back in the hands of the people. We wanted an elected Senate, citizens’ initiative and MP recall. Those things are not even on the political radar today. Preston Manning used to be fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson on this issue;
“I know of no safe repository for the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to increase their discretion by education.”
Today governments treat the public with contempt and almost all the power of parliament is concentrated in the Prime Minister’s Office. Back bench MP’s have almost no say in the political agenda and are subject to party discipline if they do not go along with the party line. There is little difference in the four major parties in that regard.
In many ways I am grateful I lost back in 1993. It is a thankless job where you take a tremendous amount of abuse. It is the media that has actually trained politicians to lie. If you tell the truth to the Canadian people about the state of the economy or what you are going to do about it, you get jumped all over for being either an uncompassionate right wing capitalist or a crazy left wing nut job. So instead they fudge along, never really answering any questions, spouting platitudes about the good of all Canadians or preserving our values for the next generation…. blah blah blah.
That’s why I was a terrible politician, I like to tell it like it is. I remember doing a debate at an advancing eduction class for seniors. I told them that the Canadian health care system was on life support and that if we did not reform the system we could expect huge wait times for surgery and that some people were going to die in the queue. Not only did they not believe me but they booed me. The media branded me as a fear monger yet five years later everything I had warned of had come to pass.
Here we are in our 4th federal election in 7 years and almost nobody is paying attention. There is far more interest in Wills and Kate’s royal wedding and the NHL playoffs than what is happening on the campaign trail. We are snoozing our way to the polls. I don’t see anyone out there with a compelling vision for the future of our country. Having said that I still believe it is very important to get out and exercise our civic responsibility to vote. There are many excellent Christian people running in this election that deserve our support. My advice is to find out which candidate in your riding will vote in the House of Commons most closely to the way you pray for our nation. It is a mystery to me how people can pray and believe a certain way and then go and vote for a party or a candidate whose values are completely contrary to theirs. It is an easy choice for me. Rod Bruinooge, running here in my former riding of Winnipeg South, is a member of our church. He has been a huge defender of the rights of the unborn and an excellent MP. We all need to seek out the bible believing Christians that are running and support them at the polls. These people are paying an incredible personal price to bring their faith into public life… the least we can do is stand behind them. See you at the polls.