06/12/2011

Politicians with Conscience?

I have been thinking a lot these days, about politicians, the people who we elect to lead and shape this country of ours. About who they seem to be, what must motivate them and how they respond to issues.

Seeing them at work, generally isn’t a very pretty sight. Think of Peter McKay. It is embarrassing.

Then, yesterday, listening to the radio, I heard a story about Italy’s Minister of Welfare. When during a press conference, Elsa Fornero began to announce a rise in the age the people will be eligible to draw on their pensions and that many pensions will no longer be adjusted for inflation.

Ms Fornero said “We had to … and it cost us a lot psychologically … ask for a …” before she could not continue, breaking down in tears. Prime Minister Mario Monti had to step in to finish her sentence, with the word “sacrifice.”

I thought, how refreshing, a politician who actually gives a damn about the people she was elected to serve.

In contrast, with winter coming on in the Northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat, families are living in tents, un-insulated shacks and abandoned construction trailers, children are sleeping on mouldy carpets and there is a decided lack of running water and sanitary facilities. When the Stephen Harper Government was finally embarrassed by the media into reacting to the shocking conditions the PM’s first reaction was to absolve his government of any responsibility and blame the situation on financial mismanagement by the community.

How refreshing it would be to have our elected leaders taking part in the dialogue, speaking from the heart and working with us to find solutions. I am sick of scripted responses, talking points instead of speaking from the heart. I want politicians who do more than cover their asses when things get messy.

Sometimes I despair.

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