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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.

Friday 31 January 2014

Fantino's Leadership Fail

I'd like to be baffled; I really would.  For a Minister (who has been accused of jigging his expenses) of a Party that has built it's entire brand around exploitation (Illegal Coalitions?  Dying MPs? Their own health policy as fodder for fundraisers?) is more than a bit rich.  Surely, this level of hypocrisy is unprecedented, shocking and something Team Harper would feel an urge to repent over.

But no - it's business as usual, just another day on the Hill.

Politics is all about simple, standardized and often-repeated messaging.  It's what politicians deliver and, sadly, it's all a great host of them are prepared to listen to.  If you get 20 different stakeholders each impacted by the same issue, but telling different stories, a Minister/their staff are liable to say "see, they all want different things, so there's nothing we can do here - it's status quo and let's move on."

So any advocacy group that is good at what they do works hard to speak the language of politics, which means standardized, oft-repeated messaging.  

The same goes for the fact that veterans had their tabs paid for.  This is all business as usual, too - I've been involved in many campaigns where individuals impacted by certain policies or who would gain from new ones were keen to participate in face-to-face meetings with government officials but couldn't afford the trip.  

As organizations behind such efforts are meant to support their "clients" or "members" it's a natural part of their mandate to facilitate such visits through subsidizing or covering travel and accommodation costs.  I'm going to be accompanying my grandfather, a World War II vet and Holocaust Survivor to a memorial service at the former Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany this April, paid for by the German taxpayer.  Is that a cynical manipulation or the fulfilling of a social responsibility?

Of course, Julian Fantino knows all this, as does Stephen Harper and every other politician on the Hill.  They will also be aware of the fact that many veterans are suffering from their policies and legitimately concerned about how they're being treated.

If Fantino truly put veterans' best interests ahead of partisan ones and truly believed his policy approach was the right one to take, as a leader you'd think it would be imperative for him to clearly demonstrate that respect and make the effort to empathize with these veterans and go to whatever lengths necessary to explain why he felt his approach was the best one.

Leaders don't decide, sell and defend - they discuss, decide and then do.

But that's not what happened.  Fantino showed up late - that wasn't the Union's doing.  Seeing that the people for whom he is, as Minister of Veterans' Affairs, responsible for were upset, Fantino could have sat down and given his guests the gift of his time and made it clear, in person, that he does care.  Such an approach would have undermined any manipulations by the union and demonstrated his clear intent to the veterans who were right there in front of him.

Instead, he got accusatory.

Now that this whole incident has become yet more fodder for the press - in addition to demanding the spouse of a soldier who committed suicide repay some of her disability cheque - Fantino had yet another leadership opportunity where he could have put the veterans first and focused on explaining why he felt his approach was correct.

Instead, he went on the attack, as his Party tends to do, dismissing the real emotions of the veterans themselves and instead focusing on blaming the Union.  By accusing the union of playing the vets as pawns, Fantino is doing the exact same thing.

Why?  Because he, as Minister, felt wronged and as such, felt compelled to defend himself.

This is not leadership.  The only time leaders put themselves first is when it's in the line of fire.  

It shouldn't have mattered what the union's intent was; he is Minister, not them.  It has always been in his power to be the leader instead of a player, but it's not to be.  

Frankly, there aren't many leaders on our political landscape at all; everyone is content to play the rules and cut corners in the partisan game that has led to the decline of Canadian democracy.

There's a reason why Canadians are so cynical about our politicians, and this is it.  

I'd say Fantino should be ashamed of himself for failing to live up to the responsibility of his office, but it would be a waste of breath.

We don't do shame or responsibility in Canadian politics any more.  

But we desperately need to.  Responsible, democratic governance is what our veterans have fought to defend. 

Thursday 30 January 2014

Time Will Tell

Every point he makes in his disagreement is absolutely accurate, except one; former Liberal Senators aren't exactly being kicked to the curb, which in my mind (and I'm sure that of many Canadians) would imply a loss of employment, income and office (hence the curb).  Senators are Senators and these folk are still pulling in far more than the vast majority of us.

Beyond that, though, the Tory Senators would work to block legislation, allowing the Conservative Party (and the NDP) to portray Trudeau as a weak leader, etc.  Party loyalists probably do feel let down; they may not be on the street, but their clout and status have certainly been curbed.  Plus, there are countless logistical bugs that could cause problems down the road and that, guaranteed, Conservative operators are working out for future use.

If Trudeau wants to strengthen his political brand, ensure his agenda gets rammed through and entrench the Liberal Party, this was a poorly conceived play from the outset.

There is a chance, however, that those aren't Trudeau's goals.  I don't know him any more than  anyone else so can't claim an insider's perspective on his thought process, but he could feel his personal brand and the scope of his vision are enough to carry weight with Canadians beyond traditional politics.  

Delusional?  Maybe, but so is thinking that you should be Prime Minister.  Politics is all about delusions.  That and/or paranoia.

What's at issue, in my mind, is less whether Trudeau is playing skillfully within the traditional frame of the political game; the question is whether the people of Canada are so fed up with the failures of the system as it stands to attribute any partisan plays in favour of the status quo as transparently crass and contemptible.

In this sense, Trudeau's popularity may work against him - if he wins and everyone gets an oxytocin high, they may soften on their disdain for the political status quo and willingness to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I remain convinced that the War Room politics that has dominated Canada for decades is drawing to a close, brought as it has been by Team Harper (and worse, Rob Ford) to a point beyond which it can't go much further and still mask itself as democratic.  

Of course, Team Trudeau has been schooled in politics-as-usual by folk like Kinsella himself; whether they've got the bandwidth to veer so far into new territory in a structurally sound way is anyone's guess.

If we're at that tipping point quite yet, though, who knows.  As the US Declaration of Independence so wisely observes, "mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."  

It's basic behavioural economics of the burning platform; change is uncertain, better the devil you know than the one you don't, until it's too late.

Are we there yet?  We'll know soon enough.

The Responsibility of Leadership

I like this, a lot.  If you choose to pursue a career in the spotlight, it's like choosing to be a police officer.  Yes, you are a human being and are allowed to be a human being, but at the same time as soon as you put on a uniform, assume a mantle or become an icon, the essence of what you are is infused with the emotional investment made by your constituents or fans, both of whom, ultimately, are the people you serve.

Particularly in the dopamanic, intrusive age in which we live, it's very hard to draw the line between what's acceptable and what's not from people in positions of power and influence.  If it's strictly a peer-competition thing, you end up with a gradual weakening of the concept as people seek new ways to undermine others or raise their own start just that little bit further.

Like driving a car or a bus, the greater the power you wield and the more people are impacted by it, the greater becomes your responsibility to be mindful of the consequence of your actions.  I would be more forgiving of the digressions of a depressed, unemployed 20 year old than I would those of an elected Chief Magistrate. 

So how do you put a floor underneath responsibility of leaders and icons to the people?

Ask yourself if you could, in good conscience, look a seven year old in the face and say "when you're my age you should feel comfortable living your life just as I do."  

Then surround yourself not with people who will have your back and clean up your messes, but remind you of your responsibility and support your ability to fulfil it.

Justin Trudeau: Leadership is Lonely

First, the politics.  It would be impossible for either the Harper Cons or the Mulcair NDP to do anything other than criticize Trudeau's proposal.  In the charged climate of today's politics, that's just how the game is played.  You attack your opponents and everything they do and then try to make yourself look as different as possible.

What else can you do, right?  If you don't play the game, the game plays you.

Mulcair's position is the easier one - he (and a faction of his Party) have a long tradition of looking for conspiracies.  It's Team Harper that has the harder confabulatory knot to tie; they're supposed to be the Party in favour of less control and more independence in society, although their internal practices with the Senate, their Caucus, the bureaucracy, even foreign players has been anything but.

However there's more to this decision than just the politics of positioning.  By "cutting loose" his Senate Caucus, Trudeau has shrunk the size of the team that is directly accountable to him.  Unlike Nigel Wright and Mike Duffy, Trudeau and his team no longer have the ability to call Senators onto the carpet and give them hell for going off-message or acting inappropriately.  They can no longer leverage those Senators for fundraising, TV spots or as a second-tier of legislative manipulation.

It's possible Team Trudeau has made a calculated move to distance themselves from future revelations on the spending scandals, but honestly, who cares about that?  Politics is about winning big and consolidating control.  The theory is that with absolute power comes the ability to spin away any potential challenges.  

This is what Harper's been building towards since he became Leader of the Conservatives.  It's also why Harper keeps walking into political rakes; his control has come at the expense of constructive criticism, innovative solutions and flexibility.

Although he's earned grudging respect from some and absolute admiration from others for his functional fixedness, ability to weather scandals and iron-fisted control of his Caucus, Harper has always done so at the expense of his principles (transparency, openness, accountability, independence) and his people (staff, Caucus members, Senators, bureaucrats, veterans, etc).

Stephen Harper is the epitome of that peculiar breed that dominates our national landscape - the political survivor.  He always comes out on top.  

What he isn't, though - and never has been - is a leader.  

Leadership, like shame, is a concept that we've lost in Canadian politics.  True leadership isn't about coming out on top, about bending other people to your will through intimidation or encouraging small thought and in-fighting to protect one's own standing.

Colin Powell puts it best: command is lonely.

Partisan politics may be about numbers - number of memberships signed, dollars raised and doors knocked on.  When you put all that stuff first, it's easy to come to the conclusion that it's the team's responsibility to protect their boss through their labour, money and where necessary, by falling on their swords.  Again, that's how it's been done in Canadian politics for ages.

Leadership isn't about numbers; it's about vision, example and empowerment.  Where do you want to go?  What are you willing to do go get there?  Why should we follow you?

By dismissing a reliable source of bought loyalty, Trudeau has taken the burden to follow off of Liberal Senators and taken on the responsibility to lead.

We don't have much to go on with the Liberal Leader - but with moves like this, we're seeing hopeful indicators that just maybe he truly understands what leadership means.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

What I See

This morning I marveled at the simple pleasure of watching my baby walk himself around his crib, holding on to the railing.  He can't sit up on his own yet, but in his own way he's testing and strengthening his abilities and realizing his potential.
Later today, I depart on a journey to put a much-loved family member to rest after a long battle with debilitating illness.  The emphysema that wrecked the lungs and crippled the body from within owed much to smoking, which in turn owed much to strong marketing campaigns by Big Tobacco.
My journey begins here, at home, which is where it will end.  The same is true for my dead relative; ashes to ashes, etc.  Yet our journeys are simply part of that greater cycle - today's ash is tomorrow's new growth, which in turn will burn and sew the seeds of renewal.
Out beyond, ascendant Political Parties are picking up the bad habits of the weakening institutions they once decried, even as those fracturing Parties are vehemently denying that anything has changed and are doubling-down on narrow wedges.  It's funny how the ends of the spectrum look the same, with the only difference being the degree of serotonin vs. the amount of cortisol.  But that's how cycles work, isn't it?
Bigger picture than this, a society addicted to what it gets is looking for people to blame as the pie shrinks.  Bitter infighting, increased stigmatization and dehumanization of factions is on the rise.  This at the same time as new science as already brought to light the mechanics behind behaviour, including the sorts of thoughts and actions that lead to genocide.  Too few people understand how we can consciously prevent future atrocities, and of those with an inclination, not enough care or know how to spread the message.
The new technology that empowers us to connect, to learn, to be both externally mindful and internally self-aware are, by and large, serving to reinforce existing self-centric living.  Bosses who decry the amount of time their employees spend on Twitter will still send three word emails to those same staffers ending with "THX" and their initials.  They'd pick up the phone and treat their people like humans, don't you know, if it wasn't so time consuming.  Time is money, after all.
Yet more people are working more hours and making less for their labours, while fewer people are working less and reaping greater benefits.  The self-focused masses look at the self-focused 1% and feel resentment swelling.
It will all come to a head, unless catalysts emerge from within to inspire a different approach.  They're out there right now, those catalysts; it's not that there are no giants any more, but rather that we're less inclined to recognize their stature.  You can't convey vision in sound-bites.
Meanwhile, my wee baby smiles and claps at his own little victory over gravity.  He knows nothing of the relative he's lost or the turmoil brewing outside our door.  If anything, he wants to walk so badly because he doesn't know to be afraid of what lies beyond - instead he's anxious to build the skills he needs so he can venture off and discover.
Such is the way of things.  If I can, I will help my boy develop the resiliency to see obstacles as challenges, to accept failure as a stepping stone and to never lose that spirit of adventure that compels him to reach higher and make of himself more than he is.
This way, he will never be limited to what he can see and feel, but can shape his reality by the visions he creates.
Everyone can dream.

Monday 27 January 2014

Competitive Workplaces Have Higher Rates of Presenteeism

Yes, I happen to agree with/have come to the same conclusions as Sinek, in this and other talks of his.  But we're not alone.  More than that, what we see has both anecdotal and evidence-based support.  The less secure and less fulfilling work is, the less effective your labour is - your presenteeism goes up and impacts both productivity and insurance.  You can double-down, put more pressure on your employees and sharpen your carrots and sticks, but the problem doesn't go away - it gets worse.

Yet how many bosses think that's the ticket to success?  About as many as see failed organizations, I'd warrant.

It's oxytocin vs. cortisol - strength of the whole through collaboration through self-interest by competition.  Put it another way - we live together or we die alone.

This confabulated contradiction grows worse as you move into social labour, networks and cognitive labour.  Meaning, it's a wall that absolutely must be broken through for success in the Knowledge Economy.  As the pressure mounts on the other end (can't go back to traditional manufacturing, Western Economies, no matter how much you cut) it's only a matter of time before that transition happens.

Or. leaders, you could get their faster and do it proactively.  I gurantee you'll feel better if you do.  So will your employees.  So will your clients.

Proof, Pudding

Embedded image permalink

. It's a two way race between PCs & in NiagaraFalls. Help us win

Remember the days when the NDP was the Party that wanted to be sure everyone had a voice at the table?

Sour grapes, you might say; don't whine 'cause the Liberals ain't measuring up.  Or too bad, this is how the game is played.

Exactly.  You can really tell how strongly someone believes in what they say 1) when their chips are down 2) when their chips are up.

This is the NDP showing their cards.

Why Winners Aren't Leaders

Watch this video on the science of persuasion, think about political outreach and ask yourself this question - what's missing?

If you're like me, it's not intuitively clear.  Finding what's missing is always a challenge for the same reason stop-motion looks like movement; we have a tendency to fill in the pieces of the picture we feel are missing.

So let's go through the list:

Consensus - "our Party has received X number of donations from X number of your friends in (specify time frame!  You too can be a part of change/more of the same by donating now!"

Liking - The HOAG factor.  Pretty and charming people will beat bland nine times out of ten, which is why smart bland bosses let their more affable team members carry the public torch.

Consistency - messaging, anyone?  But more than this, go back to the fundraising side - how often have you been told that the smallest donation would make a big difference in helping you join the consensus?  It's the political equivalent to candy-flavoured cigarillos; if they can hook you with a taste, they know the odds are great you'll be a consumer for life.

Authority - The best leader with the best plan.  More than that, only they have the team, experience and solution to make whatever happen/stop whatever from happening.  For a recent example of demonstrated experience and authority, see Rob Ford's speech to the Economic Club of Canada.

Scarcity - scarcity of jobs, a deteriorating environment, more of what there is going to corporate elites, special interest groups, unions, foreign workers, socialists and separatists?  Indeed.

Reciprocity - This is an interesting one.  In theory, government is about penalization, coordination and even redistribution.  But are these things reciprocity?

Political Parties push for donations, but what do they give in return?  Campaigns will lean on volunteers to knock on doors and make calls, but what's the quid pro quo?  

Well, politics isn't really about direct reciprocity, is it?  Candidates and leaders need to win so that they can implement policies and such.  You want them to win because of what they provide on aggregate.  

The same is often true in business - for your organization to be strong, it's got to have the best (and therefore best-compensated) people at the top.  

Here's a little thing that my experience has taught me - the most successful people have an underdeveloped sense of reciprocity.  They look at life as a race, with the spoils going to the victor.  

The most competitive people get ahead and continue to get ahead in politics and business because, while the majority of people see reciprocity as both natural and desirable, to them it feels just a bit too much like rewarding failure.

Of course, the reverse is equally true.  While winners get ahead by putting themselves first, leaders catalyze change by putting their teams first.  

As political people love their war terminology, we'll frame it this way - the best leaders are the first on the field and the last to leave.  They will always eat last.  They will assume the commander in the field is right unless proven otherwise - not their inner circle.  Leaders don't consider their teams problems as inconveniences to be ignored but roadblocks to be overcome on the way to victory.

Most importantly - they give without expectation of getting anything in return and they never put themselves in a position where they can take from their team.

Something to think about as election season blows in.

On Accountability and Doing Jobs Well

Absolutely true.  Anybody can lobby government over issues or bugaboos.  We're all equal, right?  It just happens that the best lobbyists are highly strategic, connected and know exactly the right buttons to push.  Much like the Political Parties they cut their teeth in, these super-lobbyists build coalitions of support, identify and mitigate potential threats and spin like crazy to get what they want.  That's why they get paid the big bucks.

Not responsible for the actions of staff, but responsible for getting a thorough understanding of consequences and planning for fallout accordingly.  Gotcha.  So from whom do they get that thorough understanding again?

Don't worry about it.  Just have a glass of milk instead - it does the body good, doncha know.

What Adam Missed

Individual success is about identifying and pursuing opportunities that will provide that success.  It necessitates a narrowing of bandwidth, particularly in a contest with a set end-point.  Go fast, go alone, etc.

When you cloud out the periphery and focus on the win, however, you see but through a glass darkly; the landscape can only be seen in terms of threat, benefit and irrelevance.  

The last that category where most people fall.  It's what you don't know that always gets you.

Precognition isn't about predicting the future so much as it has having a more thorough understanding of the present.  Seeing clearly is about mindfulness; a sublimation of the self to expand one's consciousness of the surrounding context.

If that's Chow's goal, she's in the wrong line of work.

Sunday 26 January 2014

The Bear Catches Up


We are smart, they are dumb.
You don't need to know what you're talking about, you just need to sound confident while saying it.
Put your foot on your opponent's throats and keep it there until the day after election day - or, in this never-ending political cycle, forever.
We just need to find a horse to put in the race.
Politics is about many things - defining opponents and ballot questions, careful strategies (including the picking of fights with the right opponents) and lining up the right sales items, the right image for a given horse.
But one thing it's not - never has been - is about people.  Crafting a suite of policy items picked to woo specific coalitions of voters or provide poisoned chalices to your opponents isn't about the people - it's about playing to win.  Attack ads aren't about people - they're about instilling fear, anger or doubt.  That political narrative of righteous leaders who somehow have managed to avoid falling into the partisan traps that all their competitors (and predecessors) have isn't about the people.
Yet this is how the system is designed to work.  We can theorize all we want about ambitions and the innate nobility of humankind, but politics is about one person getting more votes than another and one Party winning more seats than another, period.  It's competition, plain and simple and as we've seen at all levels, including the Olympics, when you have a strict competition model, people will do what it takes to win, even against the rules if they think they can get away with it.
Unless it's not about winning.
The best athletes don't compete against their competitors; they compete against themselves.  The best politicians aren't about what the people can do for them, but what they can do for the people.  It's a significant psychological difference.
A focus on beating your opponent is like being chased by a bear; you don't need to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friend.
The tough, charming, conniving political chess players who think themselves better than others fall continuously into the trap of the great Political Paradox - the harder you work at winning a political contest, the less likely you are to set a high standard while in office.
The examples of this are many - take a look at any level of politics over 2013 and you'll trip over the vast number of proofs.
As Parties compete more aggressively through greater expense, more advanced tools and techniques and a narrowed focus on numbers (dollars and memberships), they're missing a very important reality.
So focused have they become on besting each other, largely by poking at each other, that they have all slowed down. 


Horwath and Harper: When It Becomes About Winning...

Horwath makes a good point here - desperate people do desperate things.  By the same token, over-confident or win-tasting people have a habit of ignoring other things - like laws. 
There are people who for sure won't vote Liberal.  There are people who for sure won't vote NDP, or PCPO.  By the same token, there are people who simply won't vote at all because they see the same behaviour emerging from all Parties.
Did her ad break the law?  Forget the Liberal criticisms, the potential spin - did it break election laws, yes or no?  If yes, was this an oversight, or intentional?  If it had been another Party that had done this, what would Horwath's response have been?
She probably would have cried foul, and she'd have been right to.
Our leaders are fighting over shrinking ground, mercilessly pounding each other while turning a blind eye to their own rule-bending or cynical plays.  Whatever they can get away with, the logic goes, they can do in good conscience; a win justifies all.
There's this thing that happens when you put the win first, though.  Structural solutions come later, if at all.  When you start down the path of believing the ends justify the means, you'll never get where you think you're heading.
Instead, you become that which you once stood against, and the cycle repeats again.

I'll say this again; if you play dirty to win, you will play dirty to stay in power.  Your opponents won't let you do otherwise, and the platform will continue to burn.
It's a lesson Horwath could learn from Harper.  It's one people all over the places are learning from far too many of their leaders right now.

So here's the lesson these leaders need to be paying attention to - the people have access to information, skin in the game and are tired of being played.