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The Political and The Self

October 31st, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Canadiana | Issues

I read a snippet of a column this morning written by a well-known, and apparently still widely read, Globe and Mail columnist. This snippet was from a column about public perception of Jason Kenney, former federal minister and newly elected leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta.

The UCP. Reminiscent of the CRAP. (The Conservative Reform Alliance Party).

In this snippet – as I will say again, I have not read the whole column, nor will I click to – the columnist states that people don’t like Jason Kenney because – and I quote from the snippet:

“Mostly it’s because he is a middle-aged, slightly pudgy white man who is also a devout (Catholic) Christian with deeply held personal beliefs. In other words, he belongs to the most reviled demographic in Canada. Many people simply don’t accept that he can keep his personal beliefs out of politics.”

Now, there are, in fact, middle-aged slightly pudgy white men that I am quite fond of, and I know devout Catholics who are able to be quite lovable, but it’s the last part of this statement that I find the most confusing.

Why would you want to elect a politician who would keep their personal beliefs out of their politics?

We build our politics based on our personal beliefs. The people who can separate the two are the ones who freak me out a little. Even believing that your beliefs shouldn’t be laws that everyone has to follow is a personal belief.

For example, I am of the belief that information is power and that children in Alberta should receive sex education that gives them usable facts. I am of the belief that a parent has the right to know that their child is gay, bi, trans or whatever if an only if that child feels safe giving them that information – because it is their information to bestow.

I believe that being what Kenney and his ilk call politically correct means treating people with respect they deserve and avoiding racist, sexist and homophobic language.

You know, treat people like human beings with feelings.

And I believe that teaching actual Canadian history – including the bad stuff – instead of sanitizing it is the right way to go, because not repeating history etcetera etcetera.

But just because I disagree with some of Kenney’s beliefs doesn’t mean I want him to try to separate himself from them when he governs. Not only do I not think that’s possible, I think it’s the opposite of what government should be. I want politicians who are driven by their beliefs, and I want Jason Kenney to not govern at all.

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