As the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments all go through consultation process about sticky issues like youth employment, crime prevention and poverty reduction, here's a lesson to keep in mind:
For three years, the federal and Alberta governments have deployed all the strategies of salesmanship contained in the dairy analogy, without once approaching the issue as one of statesmanship.
Statesmanship involves figuring out what the other side needs to give you the answer you want, rather than repeating the same message about why the other side should want what you are selling.
Salesmanship does not require the side doing the selling to change any of its practices or engage in any self-analysis. Statesmanship requires the willingness to be self-critical, the ability to see the world as the other side sees it and to adjust practices so that the other side can say yes.
Salesmanship is for marketers and proselytizers; statesmanship is for those with an understanding of the complexities of the world.