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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Against cynicism in politics

(Cross-posted from Burkean Canuck).
Some who are the most cynical about politics and politicians are those who have little to no contact with either. Not that there aren't some politicians who are, well, "deficient." There are occasions where it really is a matter of "respecting the office" -- not necessarily the officeholder. But some of the most principled people I've met, I've become acquainted with through politics. Not that I've agreed with all of them, been in agreement on every issue with likeminded politicos, or shared a common approach to the doing of politics with those I do agree with on every important issue. But I can say this: many politicos -- elected officials, political staff, and organizers -- are people who really care . . . "true believers," even.

Then there's the folks who seem to think, "Wouldn't politics be great if it weren't for all those people I have to deal with!" These are the folks who seem to think it's all about the policy. Or, there are those who think it's "all about me," who don't appreciate that it takes a team and that everybody on the team has a role: candidates and elected officials, political staff, organizers, and volunteers. They don't "get it" that politics is a people-driven, personal, and social pursuit -- an intensely human activity.

Pat O'Brien, former Liberal and, then, Independent MP (1993-2006), writes about "50 things I love about politics" (Comment, 23 Feb 07), here, in a way that reflects all of this. And, he doesn't forget to talk about what is most important . . . marriage, family, and God.

Posted by Russ Kuykendall on February 28, 2007 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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"5. Telling insolent voters that I will not sell out my beliefs for their votes. Fortunately, this wasn't necessary very often."

Not to sound cynical or anything but was Pat one of the Liberals who voted the bill "that marriage is between one man and one woman" in 1999 and then against the exact same bill(with tears in his eyes) in what, 2002?, when the same bill was put forward by Stephen Harper's CPC?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-02-28 9:57:19 AM

There's one adage from my youth that just popped into my head:

“You can't legislate morality.''

I believe O'Brien was a principled man who understood that adage completely.

Knowing the difference between right and wrong is an area many Utopian states throughout history have tried to legislate.

The ultimate result, of course, is slavery and more suffering.

Whether is be gay marriage, the environment, anti-smoking ... there are no shortage of fanatics who would run your life for you if you let them.

Posted by: Set you free | 2007-02-28 10:08:39 AM

Pat O'Brien opposed the Martin Government on Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, in 2005.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2007-02-28 10:42:13 AM

Luv this one:
"46-Explaining the Canadian coat-of-arms to people in order to show that we have been a multi-cultural nation from day one, not a bi-cultural nation."

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-28 10:42:50 AM

And that one even better:
"32-Interacting with the so-called "little people" on Parliament Hill: the shuttle drivers, the security people, the cleaners, the food services people, and treating them with the respect they deserve and appreciate. There are no "little people," only people."

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-28 10:44:47 AM

"Pat O'Brien opposed the Martin Government on Bill C-38, the Civil Marriage Act, in 2005."
Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 28-Feb-07 10:42:13 AM

That's nice Russ.
But specifically how did Pat vote on Stephen Harper's later reiteration of the 1999 Bill I mentioned earlier?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-02-28 10:51:35 AM

In the Liberal Party MP's and Flunkies are expendable - O'Brien should have crossed over
instead of quitting where his voice might have been heard, in support of his convictions. Liberal MP
Paul Zed Saint John NB voted against the connubial sodomy bill and defied Martin and Caucus -whatever
happened to Martin? whom I understand is leaving
the cynical world of politics (no guts I guess)

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-02-28 11:35:45 AM

Hi Speller--

Those were non-binding motions in 1999 and 2003. And I believe Mr. O'Brien supported the motions in both instances.

Posted by: Russ Kuykendall | 2007-02-28 11:36:10 AM

Thank you, Russ.

As the focus of discussion is about cynicism, principals, beliefs,(marriage, family, and God) and how Mr. O'Brien doesn't compromise in such areas I don't think that the motions being binding is relevant.
I do think the later motion, being voted down, prepared the ideologic ground for what came later.

Can you direct me to a record of the vote on those motions?

Posted by: Speller | 2007-02-28 12:20:44 PM

Give me a break "respecting the office." Yeah sure! Those words are just another slogan to justify these political deadbeats who masquerade under the words "serving the people" as they cross the floor. Politics has become a circus and the clowns are on show. Watch the farce called "Question Period" it's a political comedy show, and these guys get paid by us!!!

Posted by: Stephen Gray | 2007-02-28 12:43:16 PM

Try Life Site News. Com for a list from their files on how all Federal M.P's voted on the Martin Liberal generated SSM Bill - MacLeod

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-02-28 1:49:59 PM

Thank you Jack.

Posted by: Speller | 2007-02-28 1:56:37 PM


Question Period is highly entertaining, all right.

But, it is a pretty expensive form of entertainment. While they're laughing, they're debating ways by which to extract even more money out of our pockets while taking credit for the ideas.

I'd rather come up with my own ideas and have thea bility to pay for those ideas myself.

Posted by: Set you free | 2007-02-28 2:11:36 PM

"Little people" is a cultural expression denoting the average person. On the other hand, Big people, denotes those who are privileged comme les hommes qui demeur sur la montagne. In some social circles, being of the "little people" is something to be proud about as you are not associated with those who abuse power, or who are corrupt.

Of course those who are enamoured with pc would rewrite even the language of the common person, and replace it with special developmental challenges.

The french language is full of these culturaly laden expressions. Like calling a person you like a piece of cabbage. Makes no sense in translation.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-02-28 2:28:44 PM

"Little People" has the same meaning in the Cnd french: "Le p'tit monde".
"Little hot-dogs eaters" and "Pea soup" as well.
I'm not sure you can find any English expression in Canada that dosent fit a perfect french expression...
Set here have a blast claiming sometimes on that blog that the Francs are making fun about our "joual". Here something you anglo must learn: Most of our expressions that you may find in our "joual" had been directly translate from Cnd English to Cnd French. Like, for an exemple "Pour faire sur" is litturally translate from "To make sure" but you wont never hear this in prude France. Whanna know why ? Here if an english expression explain best inna shorter way...you can bet French Canadians will adopt it. Whanna know why ? Cause here in Canada, we're strong M*ther F*ers who live in minus 30.
Oh, our Anglo brothers can make fun of that comparaison from the Francks but at the end, you're making fun of yourselves. I bet you my house that general expressions in English Canada are shorter than, let's say, in Florida or Europe.

Anyways, I can assure you that when a little Franc comes to Quebec in winter, he's quick en tabarnack to learn le "Joual"...
It's a matter of adaptation for surviving.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-28 5:30:05 PM

My friend Set here looks like he find the "questions period" very trilling.

Set, here's one that would have brings the most interventions onna Mtl'S political blog:
Bro, I'm truly looking foward for your opinion on that...

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-28 5:43:40 PM

I thought it was politically incorrect to use the word "hotdog" in Quebec, as it has been replaced with le chien-chaude, while the hamburger has been replaced with 'le hambourgois" and le weekend, with 'le fin de la semaine'?

Of course, the language has been translated -- such as merde. There is a huge area of culture that is shared in total commonality between the English and the French. But you have to admit, there are a few out there that simply do not translate -- chalis, chalis of beans and little sausage are just a few of the examples.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-03-01 12:51:21 PM


I've never eard words like "chien-chaud" or
"hambourgois" around here or in rural Quebec. Ever.
"Fin de semaine" is correct but everybody use "Week-end".

We still live in America, Lady.
We're not sickos regarding our French "vocabulary". We become sickos if some would like us to live* and think* in English; thats all.
...Not that there's nothing wrong with living in English, celà dit.

Local Writers, journalists, etc, uses our common Quebec language in their work cause if they would choose words like "chien-chaud"...being a Quebecois...they would immediately be classifies as gays or snob people...U follow ?
Not that theres nothing wrong with gays or snob people, celà dit.

A beer in French Cnd is a "broue" from the Eng. "Brew". Cdn English is what is the most easy to learn for a French Cdn because your very own canadian English expressions had been translated litturally and are now a part of our culture.
Same for U: I'm not sure an Yank can understand "Depanneur"...but you do.

Exemple: When I find myself in a group where there's one guy from BC and one from the States. Me and the BCer are quicker understanding each other than any of us with the American. Thats precisly because we share the same expressions and the way to use it; but in our separate and respectful language.

Again, is for gays, snob or Francs...here it's "mArde" like in the famous "manges donc d'là marde!". (Go eat shit). >mange de la merde< dosent exist neither here or there.

I'm sure you would like a trip in Montreal. We have to put you back on track, vielle branche.
There's an -update- to do on your "Cdn culture solution". You will be "well received" everywhere in English; even in the most rural Quebec (witch is beautifull).
It's just that we fall for an anglo who's trying hard to adress us in Fench. Especally one from Canada.
Put one or two "colice" & "tabarnack" and u get yourself a date. Or maybe not.

Au contraire (an expression that U fully undertand), what's sad is that Anglos in Canada dosent look @ the same way to a French who try hard to speak your language.
That's lame marde ;-).

One last thing - "Little sausage" in Quebec French will be : "'tite queue" (small dick).
I guess this is what u was looking for, right ?
Or..."saucisse cocktail"; witch I guess have the equivalent in English.

Ciao, à la prochaine.

(Sad thing Set didnt answered my request)

Posted by: Marc | 2007-03-01 5:04:00 PM

Another hint: "polliticly incorect" is a standard in Quebec.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-03-01 5:12:03 PM

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