From Picking a Loser, To a Winner….
|Stéphane Dion; Wikipedia file photo.|
I didn’t pick any winners in the Ottawa Civic election, although I’m sure glad I didn’t vote for Ottawa’s new mayor: Larry O’Brien. Last week marked the victors voting themselves a whopping 35% pay raise! The largest single-day pay raise I’ve ever got in my life was 15%…and that was a result of my job grade being reclassified where I worked (one of my first jobs as a programmer). I mean, it’s a bit of a cliché at this point – but I gotta say: it must be nice being able to vote yourself more money….
In hindsight O’Brien has agreed to role back his own take, but many councillors won’t. He calls it "a rookie mistake"; I say, ‘that inexperinece is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for ya’. I doubt the Calian CEO would accept that explanation from a new employee who wasn’t performing well. Calian’s a technology consulting business, and generally, that’s exactly the kind of answer that would get someone fired as the company simply couldn’t afford to send someone who claims inexperience to serve on contract.
While inexperience is definitely a concern with Stéphane Dion too, his winning the Liberal leadership this past weekend is a very welcome development. The main difference between Dion and O’Brien is the former doens’t sound quite so hypocritical as the latter. I seriously doubt we’ll hear the excuse "I screwed up because I’m new on the job." Dion has demonstrated he understands the responsibility he signed up for. But more importantly, he differs from O’Brien on the front of being a compassionate leader, which is an ingredient that Canadians seem to agree is essential for its successful politicians. While O’Brien’s busy cutting drug treatment programs and out pretending to get to know Ottawa’s homeless (yes, I do mean pretend) while voting himself double-digit raises, Dion is already hard at work serving to restore Canada’s government to being a true reflection of its people.
Apparently, what’s key in picking the winner is seeing that streak of responsibility, which is something that people feel is missing from their political leadership these days. And if Dion doesn’t have it, he hasn’t yet shown any hint. I’d hoped he’d win as many as four or five weeks ago, and with that day here my hope that he’ll restore the government of Canada to an institution that cares more about the environment, the economy and, in general, the people as a whole stands anew.