Courage of political convictions vs. focusing on political perks

  • Apr. 3, 2013 3:06 p.m.

The greatest issue facing our politicians today is the quandary whether their courage of their convictions can stand up to their enjoyment of the perks of privilege.

There are very few people who run for office with the sole purpose of lining their pockets, abusing their entitlements, and corrupting our democracy.

There are many who are just career-politicians working their way up the political ladder. Some start with school board onto council then onto mayor then onto being a provincial or federal member and ultimately striving to be a member of ministry or the leader.

There are many who do have pureness of heart when they enter politics and of those many are lured into the dark side unintentionally, but fearing the wrath of party leaders and the enjoyment of the perks they end up crossing over.

The populace is treated as a consumer shepherded with advertisements and proclamations. They are continuously being sold a bill of goods with little or no input.

Facades of democracy sprout up as town hall meetings, committees, and surveys often with pre-ordained results. Here are but two recent examples. The Federal Boundaries commission with no apparent influence. The Finance Committee had 800 witnesses and not one amendment was produced.

Apparently there are now only two goals once you enter in politics. Number one -getting re-elected and number two – enjoy your perks before you leave.

Getting re-elected means doing everything the boss man or woman says.

Reading scripts, meaning: saying what you are told to say when you are told to say it. Vote how you are told, whether it goes against your conscience or the wishes of your constituents or not, (as your conscience and your electors can be converted with money and ads).

If not, then your nomination papers will not be signed.

There are many politicians who know they will never be in cabinet, never be prime minister, never be premier, never be mayor, and they know that they are seat warmers and/or puppets with perks and they will take full advantage of their perks and entitlements while they mindlessly cut ribbons and vocalize vetted speeches.

How many people leave politics wishing they had been more of a lapdog?

There are those who only think of their future pension checks and there are those who are lacking in conscience and convictions with the silver tongue talent guaranteeing political wins, but most regret not standing their ground at least once in their political career.

At what point do you realize that your perks of privilege, your entitlements have eroded your strength of conviction, at what point did your political ambitions supplant your ambition to represent your constituents?

Granted there are times for consensus building, moderations, and negotiations but is the ultimate goal at times, only to get re-elected?

Municipally, provincially and federally politics, I believe, is approaching the tipping point where the voters will demand real representation, real input, and real opportunities to voice their views.

They are weary of party politics run with autonomy at whim of a dictatorship minded leader. They are weary of being treated like uninformed sheep, only to be consulted on voting days.

I may be an optimist but I believe that people are wanting people of conviction willing to step up to the plate, perhaps risking their perks, their entitlements and their gold-plated pensions and support their constituents.

I believe that there are those who have strengths of convictions that are more prevalent than their greed, their sense of entitlement.

There are politicians who have trust in the people, who believe that the populace is intelligent enough to know what they want and need. I know there are those who believe that their ambitions are not more important than the needs of the populace. They are out there and I believe that they will eventually be supported.

The question still remains of every trustee, councillor, mayor, chair, legislator and parliamentarian: “Is your courage of conviction stronger than your enjoyment of your perks of privilege?”

Garfield Marks

Red Deer