Breaking up - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Well, everyone – I’m 40. Thanks for coming along for the ride with me. Those reflections on age were so successful that I’ve been compelled to stick with them. So, here is the first in a 51-column series that will reflect on turning 41. Who better than a 40-year-old to write them?
God, could you imagine? Reflecting was nice and even if four parts were a bit too flabby and self-indulgent, it did seem to connect with people, but it is, indeed, time to move on.
So, I guess this means we’re back to our regularly-scheduled programming for this space, which, I’ve learned over the last year or two, means different things to different people.
A lot of the recent politicking at all levels of government has me thinking about how the connection between us and our politicians is quite similar to that of a romantic relationship. It starts with so much promise (both in the metaphorical sense and, in most cases, with actual promises – a staple of any political campaign), but then, more often than not, a politician will let you down in one way or another. The result is then taking the time to think things over and, perhaps, breaking up.
I have broken up with more than a few politicians over the years, at all levels, vowing never to put my X beside their name again. The reasons, of course, have varied depending on the situation. There have been party policies or actions, personal interactions with representatives or votes that have just rubbed me the wrong way over the years.
Without trying to start World War III within our readership (perhaps that reference needs to be updated to World War IV if we’re as close to World War III as many think we are - kind of like the saying about avoiding something like the plague, as people have shown they will not necessarily avoid the plague) I will say that, while some representatives have been better than others, we have been lucky enough in this area to have people who at least seem to do their best to represent the area. But what happens when the break-up is initiated from the other side? That can be tricky.
When independent MPP Randy Hillier announced he would not seek re-election next month, a lot was written about him and his role in the Ottawa convoy, his beliefs about COVID-19 and the government’s response, vaccination and more. One thing that was lost in all but a few pieces was the fact that the people of the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding lost a representative at Queen’s Park.
I read a letter to the editor in one of the local newspapers and then saw the equivalent of what used to be called a “streeter” where the media spoke to a number of residents about how they felt about Hillier’s representation.
Those people were left behind and they felt left behind. Of course, there are some residents who were likely thrilled with the work of their representative, but many felt like the neglected children of someone who had moved on.
This isn’t to pick on Hillier. There have been others who have been ejected from their party and essentially, to tie it all together, broke up with their constituents. They went on the warpath to espouse their views on the world, rather than the views of those they represent. And when that happens, the focus always tends to be on the rogue politician, rather than the people who are left without a champion.
Policies can change and promises can be broken, but when you vote, at any level, seek out the person you think would best represent you. That mandate of the job - whether it be federal, provincial or municipal - maybe isn’t as clearly defined as it should be.