‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ -Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill’s quote and offer of service to his country is quite dramatic and bold, and may result in unreachable goals for whoever among us humble citizens plan to jump into politics, whether at the municipal, provincial or national level.
If you have a right of vote in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, you either:
– already made your choice along party line or according to candidate’s positions
– will not be voting for whatever personal reason
– are still ‘screening’ candidates in search of the ‘ideal’ one.
So then, what are the specific qualities expected of an ideal candidate?
According to different political scientists and specialists, here are some typical profiles and qualities to look for: politicians should be people that have a significant life experience and be willing to share it with constituents/population, they should be mature and independent in all aspects of their life (financially, emotionally, professionally, …), they should display integrity, competence and humility so as to not promote and glorify self, they should be team players and be able to assume leadership if and when required, they should have the courage to face challenges that are outside their normal comfort zone, able to entertain lobbyists and media without falling under the pressures of wealth, vanity, sex; most of all, they should envision what the future will require rather than try to survive the present or be haunted by the failures of the past: voters want someone with a vision, with a direction rather than a catalogue of unrealistic promises, they have to trust their candidate to deliver what is expected of them.
James Freeman Clarke, a renowned American theologian, summarizes it all by saying that ‘the difference between a politician and a statesman/stateswoman is that one is obsessed about the next election while the other about the next generation’. Which one are we/you looking for to represent us in G-P-R?
Once elected, specialists tend to classify politicians in two classes: the ‘trustees’ who see themselves as the supreme authority in taking all decisions that were granted to them when elected and feel free to proceed without further authentic consultation; on the other hand, the ‘delegates’ see their role more as liaison between their constituents and the government; they tend to use their charisma, their appearance, their elocution as weapons of attraction to voters.
You will have noticed probably that there hasn’t been any mention of ‘party’ yet, the reason being that we are searching for the ideal ‘individual’ to assume the function of MP, discovering his/her values, independently of party affiliation. A follow-up article will discuss how Canada’s multi-party system can be both a blessing or a curse for voters that try to make the best choice in all good conscience.
If, in the meantime and in order to help you evaluate every candidate fairly, take time to listen to some personal interviews, to speeches or debates they participate in, while keeping in mind our friend Winston Churchill’s final quote and recommendation: ‘A good speech should be like a skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest!’