Wednesday, 19 October 2016 14:03

Outside looking in? Or inside looking out?

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The Conservatives and the Liberals find themselves with excellent candidates for the upcoming Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner federal byelection.
Both Glen Motz and Stan Sakamoto have earned the reputation for honesty and hard work, they are well known in the community, and they have endeavoured to make Medicine Hat a better place. Either will wisely bring the views and needs of their constituents to parliament. Neither (just like the rest of us) believes in all the policies and rhetoric of their party leadership.
Politics doesn’t happen during formal votes in the Commons or the comedy of Question Period where adults can become school children again. Politics happens in caucus, in committee, in discussions between colleagues, in the hallways and over coffee. Certainly the only thing that most MPs know about Medicine Hat are the Tigers. If you want them to know more than that you need to have someone be part of the discussion.
The unfortunate thing about government is that old adage “ya gotta dance with those that brung ya.” True for every political party (Conservative, Liberal or NDP). You owe allegiance to those who voted you in. There are four Liberal MPs from P.E.I., there are four from Alberta, and there are 27 from Montreal. Who you gonna dance with?
Byelections are much different than from general elections. You already know the result — Liberals will be the government and Conservatives will be the Official Opposition. You also know that federally, for at least the last 50 years, we only give the ruling party the bum’s rush every 10 years or so — when they become too arrogant or are no longer effective. In a general election we vote with our hearts, ever hopeful that our party of choice will be the government. In a by-election, such as this one, we have the opportunity to be more pragmatic and strategic. Ask the questions “what is good for us today?”, “Where will I get the biggest bang for my vote?”, “Where can I get a seat at the table?”, “Do I want to be part of the dance?”.
Mr. Sakamoto can bring us to the dance. As a small businessman, he has always signed the front of the cheque, he knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar goes. If only a little of that knowledge rubs off on this government, we will have been successful.
In the end we can be on the outside looking in, or on the inside looking out.
Immanuel Moritz, Medicine Hat

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