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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 10 December 2013


The resignation of MPP Peter Shurman leaves a big hole for the Progressive Conservatives. He was one of their best communicators.

I don't fully blame Shurman for his whole housing scandal.  He could have disagreed with his leader and chosen to run in Niagara regardless - but then he would have been disagreeing with his leader in a big way; there are consequences to independent thought in hyper-partisan politics.  

He wanted to be an MPP and make a difference, maybe have a shot at a Cabinet seat one day - and the only way to do that was to appease his leader.  I disagree with his claims for housing and gas, but again; his boss had told him to represent a riding he didn't live in and as such, he did have costs related to the commute.

Could the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario have covered these costs, as they were adamant that Shurman continue to represent Thornhill?  We've seen how that plays out in the Senate Scandals with Mike Duffy - not an ideal solution for any Party, or leader.

Hudak made a call to disregard the intent of the rules so that he could keep a seat and, like any employee who feels imposed upon, Shurman found ways to compensate himself for the trouble.  

Ignore the scale, and it's really no different than an overworked/poorly managed office employee who feels justified in printing out their kid's school papers on company paper because they feel they put in more effort than they're compensate for.

But then I don't entirely blame Hudak, either.  After all, he very well could have lost Thornhill if Shurman hadn't run and in politics, winning seats is everything.  We've seen how ethical people who hold to their ethics get treated in politics - they get trampled on.

Hudak's been weighed down by a heavy chain during his entire tenor as leadership - Ontario's not warming up to his style.  His politics are angry, and largely appeal to angry people.  It's a competitive business, though, and success is determined by outcome, not the process that gets you there.  

You have to win to implement your agenda, but to win, you need need bums in seats.  Policy choices, messaging, tour schedules, attack ads, who you pick fights with - all the stuff that goes into the sausage that is politics is determined by what should land you a win.  

Of course, when it becomes about winning, not achieving, you've lost.  It doesn't matter if you get the seats and form government, as Stephen Harper has done - the things you stood for, the ethics you once held dear end up detritus on the path to a hollow victory.  

Shurman, Duffy, Rob Ford, even Hudak with his desperate bluster are canaries in our political coal mine, telling us that something is wrong with the system.

Maybe it's time we stop band-aiding in or ignoring the cracks in the system and actively try to heal it.

After all, that which fails to evolve doesn't move forward, nor does the system move backwards to accommodate - what doesn't adapt, dies.

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