There are only three ways to be optimistic about the outlook for Canadian politics. The first is simple — tune in to any newscast from the United States. The race for the executive and legislative branches of government — and given the age of four of the nine Supreme Court justices, mid to late 70s, arguably the judicial as well — is a revival of the real Gong Show. It's as though Forest Gump was writing the words coming out of many of the candidates' mouths, expanding on his Philosophy of Difference: stupid is as stupid does. Or in this case, says.
So inane, so polarized, so wilfully ignorant is much of what is being said by candidates that I have finally completed my road to becoming Canadian; I no longer recognize the country of my birth and its political system. As they say at the end of every utterance, God bless the United States... she may be the county's last hope.
The second way someone who feeds on politics might find hope is to, and I know I run the risk of scuttling our small ship of state, look at what our own mayor and council — yes, and staff — have accomplished in the months since they took office. Certainly not everything they wanted to but many things we had been told by the former office holders were simply impossible pipe dreams.
First among those things was to forge a sense of common purpose and unity. The discord among the previous councillors was enough to leave many of us wondering whether it was being scripted by reality TV writers or big-time wrestling. It's almost nostalgic to remember back to a time when pay parking was a gut-wrenching, divisive issue. It's never mentioned these days and whatever hole it left in the budget by reducing rates and keeping Lots 4 and 5 free hasn't been large enough to notice.
And while we were told over and over again there was no sound economic reason to hold property tax increases to merely the rate of inflation — I believe the accurate quote was, "It never made any sense to me why we should tie property tax increases to inflation" — this group of dreamers managed to hold the increase to zero this year and are busting their butts to do the same next year.
They're not perfect, as witnessed by the recent cluster f... oh yeah, family paper, debacle at Mons where they fell into the old ways of the "council hand" not having a clue what the "staff hand" was doing, but they've been good enough to drive our former councillor turned Questionable columnist to moan about not tossing him enough red meat to work up a lather over. Not perfect, but at least a glimmer of hope that not everyone who gets elected to office loses both their mind and philosophical compass, assuming they had either to begin with.
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