the Standard

I will be a panelist on channel 10 Omni’s The Standard this week. Topics are the Afghan war, same-sex marriage, and MacKay & Stronach. These are the points I’m hoping to get across clearly.

Afghan war
The only morality we have any business promoting in other countries is basic human rights. And we should first and foremost be modeling those tenets. Our only role should be to support the people of their country defend their human rights. It’s hard to see how aggressive armed combat fits into those principles. Does Canada have the appetite to be an aggressor? At what point does our presence do more harm than good?

Same-sex marriage
What we see here is a conflict between our principles of personal freedoms as defined in the Charter of Rights and our cultural heritage that defines a family as a man, woman and children. But that definition has been long obsolete. As long as you aren’t harming anyone and it involves consenting adults, I have no business telling you what you can or can’t do with your penis.

The challenge is that our definition of family has such deep roots in our cultural identity that this conflict with our (relatively) new principles is threatening to our fundamental beliefs about our life’s purpose. What we are witnessing is an awkward evolution of our culture. We have fought for and embraced principles that value personal freedom, now we are trying to figure out how they fit in our values. We are wrestling with our own identity.

Peter McKay & Belinda Stronach
This has nothing to do with Stronach and McKay, it’s an illustration of why our elected representatives are seen as ineffective at resolving issues on our behalf. This type of behaviour is part of what feeds citizens’ distrust and cynicism of politicians. I think we should expect a much higher degree of respect and decorum in how MPs treat each other. They should be role models for children. If they are, in fact, representatives of our society, then we have some soul searching to do of our own. Should name-calling, assumptions, personal attacks and judgments be tolerated? Is this how we solve problems in our communities? Is this how we should treat each other?

The way this controversy unfolded also highlights another problem in public life – being physically attractive is an advantage for getting elected, but a disadvantage in public life. If Stronach were ugly and unfriendly, would anyone care who she is dating? And is the preoccupation with her sex-life distracting people from the issues that actually impact on our lives?

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