55 Random People

I got a really interesting email from a participant at the Ideas Festival. I didn’t ask permission to post their comments so I will leave them anonymous but I think you will find them interesting.

My line:
“Former NS Liberal leader Danny Graham doesn’t fit the profile of a politician – and he talked about it last night. It would be nice to have more guys/gals like him in politics but the system is not set up to reward his type of thinking.”

The response:

I’m with you on this.

Take any 55 people at random in that room and put them in the New Brunswick Legislature and you’d have change, new politics, refreshing new thinking.

But here’s what actually happens.

Take five people at random from that room and have them be sufficiently inspired to run for office next time. Have only two of them manage to get nominated as candidates, because the system favours people who are party hacks and who have paid their dues to the system over the years. Have only one of them actually get elected, because those are basically the odds. And then watch as the people already inside the system tell that person that “well, your ideas are interesting, but you can’t really say anything that bold in public because it’ll embarrass the premier, and here’s how things have always been done, and by the way don’t forget the minister is trying to get that funding for that project in your riding, so we need you to be a team player.”

I hate to sound cynical.

Occasionally an insurgent political movement does break through.

You would need an influx of 5-10 new MLAs at minimum to shake things up. Or a new leader. But someone who said things like Danny Graham during a leadership race wouldn’t win the leadership. Party members would recoil: what about the road in my riding? what about that summer job with the province for my nephew?

This is also why John Savage faced a huge internal revolt within the NS Liberal party when he was premier. Because he actually tried to do things diffrerently.

Anyway, I had to vent this after listening to all the great ideas circulating yesterday.

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0 Responses to 55 Random People

  1. mikel says:

    That is the cynical line, but again, we keep hearing ‘we want new thinking’, yet no details on what that means.

    You don’t need a new party to develop policy, in fact that is rarely the way to get new policy. Again, you have to first TRY something before getting cynical about it.

    So I’ll repeat the story, four years ago Charles Leblanc, a guy on welfare, went down to St. John to a by-election and made the residential tenants act a political issue. With another guy on welfare they went door to door talking about the RTA.

    The media never covered it, it was mentioned once in the Irving papers, and at the time the CBC was on strike. Yet after that byelection Lord made a mention in the throne speech that it would be changed, and the liberals introduced legislation on their first day.

    That was two guys on welfare, with only a little known blog. Now, we have here a popular blog with a writer who gets printed in the major dailies. At the very least the aim here is to get decent jobs for New Brunswickers. So who wouldn’t support such a plan?

    If you go look at the CBC you will see just what a lot of people think of the current government, and it isn’t good. The conservatives have a new leader who has hardly a policy in his head.

    So really, the cynicism is not well deserved. YOu actually have to DO something to have hopes dashed. Anybody can wish for a money tree in their yard, and complain that the good lord never makes it appear and dashes their hopes.

    Dare I say, that is a perfect example of the ‘culture of defeat’, when people are cynical because somebody else doesn’t do the work of lobbying government so it will do what they think is best.

  2. mikel says:

    Sorry, one more thing, if you DO want to see another party, check out the Atlantica Party, and of course there are about 20 registered political parties in Canada.

    If I’m not mistaken this Ideas Festival is sponsored by that young group of more than 20 people looking at ‘changing the world’. So there are some potential candidates, if they aren’t learning that the only way to actually make changes is through political activity, then this festival is a real waste of time.

    Even if Mr. Campbell doesn’t join, just TALKING about a political party is an excellent way to build up a base.