Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently attacked Liberal leadership front-runner Justin Trudeau, questioning his leadership ability because before entering politics all he did was work as a teacher. In the eyes of some apparently, teaching is a lowly profession. And the idea that teachers are leaders is one that is open to ridicule. Had Trudeau been a lawyer or doctor, this would have not been an issue. But an ordinary teacher wanting to lead our country raises concerns.
Stephen Harper never had a real job prior to politics - he never put his fabled economics degree to the test prior to entering politics. Jason Kenney served as a lobbyist - a role he has essentially carried over to the Immigration file, as he pretty much spends all his time lobbying ethnic communities to vote Conservative.
Meanwhile, the Harper Team, focused on jobs and economic growth, are increasingly frustrated by their - sorry, the bureaucrats - ability to develop the labour skills they feel our economy needs. They're not having any luck getting the Private Sector to loosen their purse strings, either, and innovation in Canada is nowhere near where it needs to be.
BUT - the Tories have done a pretty good job of stifling opposition, scaring bureaucrats into silence and demonizing those who disagree with their narrow ideology, haven't they? Power is theirs and they aren't prepared to share it. Alas, by choking the Census, clamping down on inconvenient evidence and knee-capping conversation, Team Harper is forcing everyone to rely on gut instinct rather than fact. Instinct in the absence of fact, particularly in tough economic times, will always, always encourage a bunker mentality - the exact opposite of what we need to get out of our worsening economic slump. It's a limbic thing.
I won't hold my breath on the Harpers and Kennedys of the world connecting the dots between their emphasis on control and their mounting frustrations with everyone else not playing along.
What I will do is suggest the CPC folk look at some different models to find out how motivation really works and how to foster the independence, critical thinking and comfort with risk they seek. Of course, first they must unlearn what they have learned. What's required for them to do that?
It's not about controlling the flow of fish, folks - it's about teaching people to fish.