Take this with a grain of salt but….
After almost two decades of watching politics in Canada and the US with most likely a little more intensity than the average Joe, I have come to one major conclusion:
The most successful politicians are those that go into the thing with a clear idea of what they want to accomplish. With real dragons to slay. With a passion to change something/anything and that is what compelled them to get into the game to begin with.
These restless lawyers, bored teachers and career minded city councillors that want to get into politics to ‘make a difference’ or because they are just plain seduced by politics (not the money in most cases ).
Consider our current Premier. Now, I am not qualified to serve up biographical considerations here. Nor do I claim to be an expert in Lord-icity. But that poll out last fall was a clear indication that I am not alone in having no clue what his legacy will be. What drives him? What compelled him to get into politics in the first place?
After the 200 days of change, we have seen government-as-usual. No burning passion to change anything. So we drift along sliding, ever so slowly, downward and we get served up marketing pablum to keep us happy.
But in the end, what will we/they say about Bernard Lord. Well, he didn’t crash the thing like Bob Rae. He didn’t try radical experiments. He didn’t try much of anything really. Just incrementally cut expenditures that are not about health. Just plow all new dough into health care and education.
Think about Paul Martin. Cripes, right up until the election, they were still lauding his slaying of the deficit. That was a decade ago. They had a passion and mandate to get that done and they did it. After that it was mostly just move along.com for years.
That’s harsh, and probably based on a narrow view of the world so let me cut to the ‘advice’ part and leave the ‘history’ to historians.
If you want to get into politics. Have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. Have a passion that drives you to get into the game and then fight for it your whole career in politics.
It’s just too easy to get into politics and ‘exist’. Do budgets. Kiss babies. Cut ribbons. Have Question Period. Make changes to legislation. Do government.
But in the end, good bureaucrats can ‘do government’. They can keep the wheels moving. What we want from politicians is ‘leadership’.
What are the key issues of the day? That’s where we want the politicians to spend their time.
I used to think that ‘one issue’ politicians were the problem.
Now I see them more as the solution.
I am hoping that a few guys/gals from Harvey, Minto, Tracadie, Woodstock, Bathurst, Edmundston will get in the game with a passion to transform the New Brunswick economy. Not incrementally make the EI system more lucrative. Not to spend ten bucks more on tourism. Not to try and slay a dragon with a squirt gun.
But to come in and hammer away at that dragon with a great big cannon for 8-10 years or how ever long the public will put up with it.
Let the bureaucrats ‘do government’. Politicians should be about trying to salvage the very future of the province.