Sorry. We are too busy playing kings and queens!

Dec 9, 2019 | Blog, Governance | 5 comments

As I prepare to rest my pen for a few days, I was cleaning out the drafts folder in my blog. Over the past year, a few dozen dust bunnies have accumulated and I decided to go through them and see what was there. Among the forgotten posts was one that I thought was worth resuscitating.

It’s about governance, politics, people, parties and what motivates and inspires them.

While the original post was languishing, I think there is a freshness to the content because in both the provincial and federal Houses we have minority governments.

On a recent political panel, I heard the pundits debating how long the federal government might last. While there were varying opinions of the timeline, there was agreement that an election was most likely going to happen at the first moment that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau senses he can win a majority government.

I see we are still playing kings and queens. The pursuit of power and collecting as much of it as possible into the fewest number of offices as possible seems to be the primary goal of our leaders. Or, at least our political parties. There was also consensus at the pundit table around the idea that Trudeau would leverage his current position to give enough goodies to Quebec and undermine his opponents on the left to advance his position. These are the tactics of generals.

Rob Shaw and Michael Smyth are veteran members of the British Columbia Legislative press gallery. Shaw scribes for the Vancouver Sun and Smyth for The Province. They also co-host a podcast called In the House. In a recent episode they were talking about the B.C. Green Party leadership and one thing was clear:  there are strong opinions about how the BC NDP will waste no time in trying to “wipe the Greens off the face of the earth.” It was followed shortly thereafter with a simply worded question about the future of the relationship between the BC NDP and B.C. Greens asking how we can be “so close to someone who wants to kill you.

This caught my attention because it is intensely personal, of course. Thankfully, our system has evolved just enough that the killing Shaw refers to does not mean my physical death – just my political one. Even though we are turning the page on another decade, heading into 2020, our politics remains a violent bloodsport. What about our governance?

In all of this political posturing and positioning there is little discussion about the important issues that require an attentive government. Everything now is about votes: how to win them, how to lose them, and how to keep them. It’s no wonder that people are tiring of politics and have a growing mistrust of government. This needs to change, I have been in this business a long time and I have never known a solution to be found by counting votes.

All those new Parliamentarians who are just showing up on the federal political scene might not think much of it. It is the culture we are elected to. It’s the culture in our political parties and institutions and as individuals we are vulnerable. More importantly, and to the heart of this post, our society is weakened because of it. It’s easy to just slip into the culture of how business gets done. After all, the hard work of getting elected is over and the backroom strategists were successful, so why not leave the more difficult work of governing to them as well.

Rather than evaluating our job by whether we are actually improving the quality of life of our citizens or our relationship to the environment or increasing the chances of the small business owner to succeed, political parties instead focus on positioning themselves to have the best talking points for the next election.

The external narrative is focussed on how the politicians want to “wipe each other off the face of the earth” and the press gallery is eager to rub their hands together and generate some heat on the narrative. I remember back to my days at Applied Communication at Camosun College and the media are trained to focus on blood, because we are all taught that “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Well, not me. As we get closer to the end of 2019, I have been thinking about my resolutions for 2020. As we discuss and debate questions about leaders, leadership and political relationships, I want to change the whole narrative. I don’t want to play kings and queens anymore: too many people get hurt and only very few will benefit.

I have ideas and I look forward to sharing them in future blog posts.

Image by H. Hach from Pixabay

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  1. Dan Dickmeyer

    Multiply by about 10,000 or more to see what the political scene is like in American federal politics.

  2. afiena kamminga

    yes indeed, the recurrent struggle for the kingdom: this is the perennial disease going around in the halls of politic/ hard to say if it is something genetic, contagious, or both, probably…/deadly for our nation and much of our world anyway, in the end/ and, as someone raised in europe under a political system of proportionate representation — not perfect, but a LOT more SANE!!! — I can only emphasize how much more PRONOUNCED this disease is being encouraged and perpetuated HERE under our archaic winner- takes all system, as is also becoming jarringly clear these days in other nations with similar British–inspired roots/ do we have to hit rock bottom first before we get all parties united in showing the courage, wisdom and political will to RADICALLY CHANGE our absurdly dysfunctional electoral system based on RIDINGS that candidates are fighting to WIN , leaving the ‘others’ the loosers, biting the dust, waiting for ‘revenge’ when it’s their turn? Isn’t it time to GROW UP?? Can we expect ANY good to come from such a MORONIC political set-up?????/ perpetuating this unwholesome system will be the death of us all/

  3. Mike

    The King’s and Queens that Lead us, and their Objectives,

    I’m concerned with what I see going on with the Conservatives, Wexit , and how the people are being played upon by the powers that are guiding them right now. Wexit is more about those powers bringing people together with fear and anger then directing that fear and anger at their opponents. Watching whats going on with the Conservatives and Wexit is like watching a play book of how Germany was taken over by the Nazi’s take over with political power play’s and manipulation of the people ! Adding to that power base the corporate influence in government from the grass roots of small communities to global influence over vast governments and countries to keep the status quo in full motion
    People have been played for decades by the kings and queens of power. The difference now is that we are all faced with the consequences of our actions in not taking into consideration of the environment, or human rights.The influence over King’s and Queens has laid out policies and laws that can steam-roll over the environment and human rights, that served to make the Industries and Corporation that have influence over the people, for their profit not the peoples , as it’s the peoples tax dollars that pay for the project , subsidize the project then bailout, clean up the projects once they are finished, the people pay to keep the economy going .

    That being said,

    I’m inspired though from the young activist , the BC’s Green Party , and the latest minority Government , goes to show that there is a massive grass roots movement across the country and the world. The push for alternative energy and infrastructure, in order to run the country, without the need for fossil fuel by 2050, gives me a feeling of security knowing as the fossil fuel resources run out BC and Canada will easily make the transaction away from fossil fuel that is happening right now, as other countries are also making the investments away from fossil fuel in place of alternative energy resources.
    I’m relieved to have finely seen some justice for Indigenous Peoples in BC and hold hope that more can be done across Canada.

    At the moment the King’s and Queens are being shaken by the people, and more importantly the fact that the environment is becoming more unstable decade after decade , and that is effecting us all king’s , Queens and everybody and everything else. Change is not coming it’s here and whether the King’s and Queen’s like it or not !

  4. Dan Dickmeyer

    Greta was made Person of the Year by Time magazine. Sadly so was Trump once.

  5. Ian Theaker

    “Well, not me. ” Thank you, Adam! *That’s* why I support the BC & Canada Green Parties, people who think & act beyond personal gain, & are trying to live the changes we need.


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