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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.

Saturday 1 February 2014

The Truths We Cling To

But there must be honour among thieves, as it were - a shared chivalric code which all players of at least the same team hold to (or failing that, a code of silence).  Without such common ground there can be no loyalty and, as a consequence, neither accomplishment nor sustainability.
The implication of Kinsella's statement is that those Senators of the Liberal persuasion have earned better treatment from their Party than to be laid off from Caucus (which is what this is - nobody has been fired, the Liberals' Senate Caucus has just been disbanded). 
This is one of those matters-of-opinion things; a colluding Senate team and a House team has always led to tricky games being played and, if Trudeau is sincere about working to foster a less partisan Parliament, this isn't so bad.  Whether a less-partisan Hill can work these days is a completely different question with other fun considerations to consider.
Even with the cruel and callous Trudeau Plan, Senators still have far more income, clout and opportunity than most Canadians do - we don't have assistants, fancy offices or comfortable taxpayer-funded salaries. 
We also have never had anything resembling inside access to the backroom planning that informs Leaders' decisions; most people honestly believe that's what things like policy conventions and door-knocking are for. 

Some of us even believe that there should never have been partisan camps within the Chamber of Sober Second Thought.  If Independent Senators will bitterly work against former caucus colleagues instead of embracing the ethical clarity a post-partisan reality provides them, then they're not thinking soberly, are they?
It's a matter of debate if these Senators have been treated in cruel and callous fashion.  Legitimate arguments can be made for both sides with people, as they tend to do, finding every possible argument in favour of their own position and against that of someone else's. 
From Kinsella's point of view, it was cruel and callous to "let go of" hard-working team members who had been hard working team members for a while.

I don't remember hearing him raise similar concerns during the Great Staff Cull of 2011.
What immediately laid ahead, as it was clear that a minority status would require a significant truncation of staff, was to figure out what to do about all those existing staff who'd in some cases been with the McGuinty Liberal Team since the first term.  Not all of them could be brought back.
This was understood; many staff remained uncertain but hopeful.  By and large there were concerns among the ranks, who often felt like functionaries for the team rather than part of the team, of a Wilkinsonian approach
Suggestions were made that an appropriate staff-transition strategy could serve as a counter-weight to dismissals - a strategy that recognized the work of staff, practiced a bit of what Liberals tend to preach and also maintain positive relations with a host of loyal folk who might end up working in influential capacities, as often happens with former political staffers.
Such was not to be.  All staff were let go of and told to wait by the phone for the call back to work.  Dutifully, many hopeful people waited.  And waited.  And eventually their severance wore out and they realized no call would come, was never going to come.  They'd been left at the alter of unemployment and were now on their own.
To me, that was cruel and callous treatment (and no, I was not on either side of the decision process).  More than that, it was cowardly.
That's just me, though.  There are many leaders and organizers who see The Leader as infallible, the inner circle as Alpha Dominant and staff as hired help, rewarded through wages and clout who should recognize they are dispensable from the outset.  Loyalty is meant to flow up, never down.
Are paid Senators who retain everything except the ego-stroke of being in backroom conversations and who are forced to offer their policy or partisan ideas like any other Member of a Party (assuming, of course, they all have paid LPC memberships) being treated cruelly and callously?  Was it wrong to tell them of the inner team's decision after the fact?
Was it cruel and callous to lay off staff, give them the impression they'd be getting a phone call and then never following up, period?
I have long since learned not to expect consistency in the thought processes of political people.  You can't get ahead in a survival-of-the-fittest game without rationalizing cognitive dissonance at least some of the time.
As Obi Wan Kenobi stated a long time ago, "the truths we depend greatly on our own point of view."  If political people tend to be even more slavish to points of view than, say, evidence or best practice, that says as much about us as it does about them.
Key to this equation, naturally, is how we view people in relation to our own standing.
To know the world, take yourself out of the equation

By putting their teams after their mission and themselves always last, true leaders do this all the time.  Which is why they don't need to demand loyalty; it just comes naturally.

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