Opinion Column

Merry Christmas to all politicians! Really!

By Bill Tieleman, News, Views, and Attitude – 24 hours

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (FILE PHOTO/24 HOURS)

"Why are we becoming less human? Why are we not maybe as nice as we used to be?" - Musician Tom Petty, CBC TV, July 25, 2014


As Christmas approaches and the season of goodwill to all changes us from Scrooges and Grinches to more charitable, friendly people it’s a good time to reflect on how we demonize our politicians.

Political columnists like me are potentially among the worst offenders.

Regular readers know I constantly criticize Premier Christy Clark, periodically pummel Prime Minister Stephen Harper, shoot salvos at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and occasionally dish it out to New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair.

But two things recently got me considering that while criticism is good, demonizing is not.

First, I recently went to Clark’s government biographical website page and, to my great surprise, discovered that she and I would recommend the same book to others.

Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Pulitizer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin is a stunning 2005 biography of one of the most amazing leaders any country has ever seen.

And that Clark and I both love the same book reminded me that whatever differences we have, there are some things we can agree on.

The second reminder came when my neighbour, a life-long New Democrat, visited the Vancouver Art Gallery and was startled to see federal Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty - just months before his unfortunate passing in April 2014.

“Mr. Flaherty - nice to see you - are you a fan of the Group of Seven?” my friend asked. Flaherty said he loved their paintings and had come for a quick peak at Canada’s greatest artists.

To her, it was a poignant reminder that even our fiercest foes can share our love of art, country and more.

Am I getting soft on politicians? Ha - not likely!

But I think it’s good to remember that they share at least some of our values and humanity.

Harper’s biographical page shows his wife Laureen, son Benjamin and daughter Rachel while Clark’s shows her and son Hamish. My political opponents have families, joys and sorrows like all of us.

So Merry Christmas Christy Clark, Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair and everyone else criticized here - really! And to all 24 Hours Vancouver readers.

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist. Read his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com Email: weststar@telus.net Twitter: @BillTieleman. 


Would you wish Christy Clark, Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau a Merry Christmas if you bumped into them this holiday season?

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