Politics used to be of a more genteel endeavor. You didn’t have to vilify and hate your opponent the way you do now in the post-Trump world. At least I hope and pray it is post Trump.
In Canadian politics there were lots of decent people on both sides, or ALL sides, of the political fences. Mike Pearson, a Liberal, was a decent man but so too was Joe Clark, a P.C., and Ed Broadbent of the NDP. The current NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh seems decent enough.
Things do seem to have changed, though, where it has come to pass that political opponents are thought of as evil as opposed to just people with an opposite point of view. The first time I ever saw this “they are all evil” point of view was from Joe Smallwood . In the film A Little Fellow From Gambo, a citizen comes to see Smallwood in the Premier’s office and references a little problem he was having with his son. He refers to the new math of the day that his son is learning in high school. Smallwood then launches into an attack of the PC Party, nearly screaming that the new math was TORY math where two and two no longer added up to four. Imagine! This was a speech to an ordinary person who just wanted help from Smallwood with a school problem. It did not have to be an “us and them” situation but to Smallwood everything was politics.
In latter years, politics has become a matter of extremes where the other side of the political coin has been painted as evil. The recent protests on Parliament Hill of so-called truckers was appalling. People dressed up as truckers disrupting life in the nation’s capital claiming that various government policies were bringing them to their knees. Really?
Somebody here I know spent several weekends last year driving around in a mini convoy protesting God knows what. To me it was a truckers protest without truckers. Now that politics of confrontation seems to be on the front burner again this year with the emergence of Pierre Poilievre as the leader of the Conservatives. It is an odd way of getting things done. I would have thought they would have picked a nicer leader rather than a leader with a series of rants against Justin Trudeau. You see I am of an old school of thinking where you are better off being a nice guy and that is one of the keys to victory.
Jean Chrétien, the little guy from Shawinigan, got my vote by being an unassuming, ordinary fellow. One time at our station for an interview, his advisors tried to tell him that I knew what questions to ask. When we were alone Chrétien said he did not care what I asked. He would answer. That is why in that incident where he grabbed a protester by the throat, I was kind of supportive on an emotional level anyway.
It was just the sort of thing that led me away from support for John Turner. He was too perfect, too much ‘the man on the wedding cake’ kind of presentation. I did not like him. I did like Robert Stanfield, an ordinary guy eating a banana at his political convention. I like that.
It is not fair, I know, but Pierre Poilievre doesn’t grab me, although it is early. I am looking for an element he does not seem to have. Trudeau seems more human and seems like a nice guy. That matters in politics.
It seems funny to make political choices that way but I do. I need to like you.