Listen Up! It is discouraging that many are unable to rise above their partisan beliefs


Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Double Standards … 

When it comes to politics, people and especially the media, can be very strange. For sure, many have double standards. For example, when Premier Wynne appointed an expert to shake up the health care system in Ontario for $427,551 per year, no one heard a whimper. When Premier Ford appoints Dr. Rueben Devlin to a similar position as head of the Premier’s Council on improving health care, at a salary of $348,000, all hell breaks loose.

I also have a number of Canadian friends who believe Donald Trump can do no wrong.  When vulgar and sexist tapes from his campaign bus hit the networks, it was no big deal and serious allegations against Trump, related to adult entertainers like Stormy Daniels, were not seen to be of serious consequence. And yet, as news resurfaces of an alleged groping incident of 18 years ago, involving Justin Trudeau, these same folks are shouting from the roof tops for his scalp.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Politicians give us plenty of reasons to jump all over them. But it is a sad fact that the trend in today’s society is to look for the bad and the ugly, especially in people and political parties with whom we generally disagree. Digging up dirt is becoming a national pastime. In my view however, we often do so at the expense of real issues that make a difference to the lives of millions of people.

With full and sincere respect to the seriousness of the allegation that Justin Trudeau groped a reporter 18 years ago, I am frankly more concerned about his ability to steer Canada through the trade war we are engaged in with the United States. This is the most serious issue facing Canada in decades, one which could have a devastating effect on our economy. It is an issue from which the Prime Minister should not be distracted and it is the issue on which his legacy should be judged.

As for the appointment of Rueben Devlin, if one wants to be negative, they will find something to be negative about. After all, he is a prominent Conservative which by definition, makes this a patronage appointment. As well, some will be critical of the salary he is going to earn.

I for one, have never been opposed to patronage appointments, as long as the person who is appointed is qualified to do the job. It is perfectly understandable for a government, of any stripe, to appoint people to positions who share similar values and objectives. Can you imagine anyone in the private sector hiring someone who did not share their vision and goals? I also have no problem with people being paid what they are worth.

To me, the appointment of Rueben Devlin to head up the Premier’s Council on improving health care in Ontario is entirely appropriate.  He is highly regarded in the health-care field and has served in a number of key health-related positions including as CEO of Humber River Hospital, an institution known for its innovative approach to health care. He is also close to the Premier and to Health Minister Christine Elliott which means he will be listened to.

Devlin’s credentials should be far more important and of far more interest, than the negative coverage his appointment has received. Effective health care services for its citizens, is one of the highest priorities for any government. Both Christine Elliott and Rueben Devlin are well qualified and, in my view, we are fortunate to have them leading health care reform, in their respective positions. Indeed, I have much more confidence that hospital care issues in Muskoka will be properly addressed because people of this calibre are at the helm of decision making at the Provincial level, since that is where the real clout is.

I find it discouraging that many of us are unable to rise above our partisan beliefs when it comes to acknowledging good decisions, no matter where they come from. As well, it seems sad that we appear much more inclined to impugn the character and reputation of those we do not otherwise agree with than of those we do. The media is especially good at this.

I understand that politics is a blood sport but there was a time when people of all political stripes, including elected politicians, had respect for one another and an ability to support good ideas, no matter where they came from. Sadly, those days appear to be gone and we are poorer for it.

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  1. “…I understand that politics is a blood sport but there was a time when people of all political stripes, including elected politicians, had respect for one another and an ability to support good ideas, no matter where they came from. Sadly, those days appear to be gone and we are poorer for it…”

    The media has been busy, for the past three decades, promoting a liberal-socialist agenda, which is now bordering on communism. Communism does not work–we have ample evidence that the only success communist countries have had is the killing of their own citizens. We will soon see the failure of “democratic socialism” in the Scandinavian countries. Even though they are wealthy countries (due to the homogeneity of their culture and the industry of their native people) the huge influx of Third World “refugees” will be an enormous drag on their system–it is already. In addition, the heavily indebted populace (they have three times the rate of personal debt of even Italy) will insure that rising interest rates inflict a great amount of pain on their economy. It might not get as bad as Venezuela but it could get close if the rate of personal bankruptcy starts going through the roof along with governmental bankruptcy.

    So what does that leave us with? Capitalism has been a great engine of prosperity but the FIRE (Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) sector extracts enormous amounts of that prosperity and puts it in the hands of a few who are fortunate enough to control it. This has been to the great detriment of the middle class and has aggravated the inequality within, not to mention the political polarization, in the body politic. Until we solve that problem, we will likely have more and more tension and strife between the “haves, the have-nots” and the middle class producers who are the resentful cash cows for the entire system. And we must never be naive enough to think that the politicians who are the power brokers in the system, favor the middle classes. They are owned by those on the right AND the left (the “left-right” paradigm is largely a fabrication conjured up to keep us fighting with each other). It is almost as if the power brokers woke up one day deciding that the middle class is the enemy of what they want to do. Anyone who actually stands for and votes for legislation with strengthens the middle class is attacked with outrageous lies and smears– from a very willing (and controlled) elitist media. And yet, a strong middle class is the backbone of democracy. It is dangerous to allow it to be weakened.

  2. I attended a wedding this weekend in Toronto. Over several beers and several hours four of us talked politics at the end of the night. A retired investment banker from NY, a Canadian Supreme Court judge, a far left socialist professional and myself. What made the conversation so interesting and informative was that everyone listened and respected one another. We asked questions, nobody shouted or got angry or sensed any condescension.
    Not once did anyone talk about Stormy Daniels, the PM groping someone years ago or any other unsubstantiated media gossip. We were focused on topics like climate change and economic policy (international trade specifically).
    If your political IQ is limited to sex allegations and 10 second news clips I am not sure you should even be allowed to vote.

  3. Another excellent article. As an American who has come to Lake of Bays for the last 65 years, we have recently witnessed a serious lack of respect for another ones political views on both sides of the border. About 10 years ago we were drawn into two separate politcal discussions with other cottagers. Others political views were not respected, and several friendships were lost. Since then we have made it a policy not to ever comment while visiting Canada nor discuss politics, Canadian or American. Our friends here in Canada know and respect our position. Friendships have endured.

    Mr. Mackenzie mentioned the media’s role in the political turmoil. I agree! First let me state that I was extremely upset when my only choices for President were Clinton or Trump. In the States the media is either extreme left or extreme right. Much of what is reported as news is in fact really opinion. We continue to watch US cable news. And we get our Candian news listening to CBC2 in the morning ( we consider Tempo to be one of the finest classical music programs ever) and we buy the Sunday Star (for the NY Times crossword). I am in no way able or willing to comment on their reporting of Canada politics. However, from what I know of the American political stories they report on, I consider both CBC2 and the Star’s reporting to be at least incomplete, leading to misperceptions and at worse terribly biased. I just wish our many Canadian friends had an opportunity to learn what is really going on in America. I am the first to admit my country has many issues.

  4. You can read this and that .. and .. at the end of the day … it’s WHO you vote for based on your values, the proposed impact and consequence to you of programs, policy, party ideology, etc etc. WE must honour our (US and Canada) democratic processes and procedures, ie. .. the voting people and the basic principle of majority rules. I do agree the press in Canada is very biased and the same ‘rules of reporting’ do not apply to all! If you do not like WHO has been elected ..suck it up ..and .. wait until the next election and ..again … vote based on your values, the proposed impact and consequence to you of programs, policy, party ideology, etc etc. The other option is revolution to get your way! And many will agree ..WE as a society are close to that .. and it will not be pretty!

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