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Monday, May 16, 2005

The Last of our Great Political Leaders.

Late last week I witnessed what can only be described as a truly class act performed by one of the nation’s best known and most veteran politicians. It may have slipped past some of you in your daily activities, since it received ten full seconds of national news time, but it did happen. A politician actually did what was best for the Country and the Commons rather than acting along party lines. This is unheard of on our Country and is so refreshing to see.

I’m referring of course to Mr. Ed Broadbent. A man who has been in the political arena for longer than many of us can remember, or would care to. Mr. Broadbent is of course a member of the NDP party and for many years was their leader, arguably one of their greatest. He has always been known as a fair minded individual, but his actions last week were the crowning proof of this fact.

You will notice throughout this article that I keep referring to Mr. Broadbent as Mr. This is because after his actions last week, more than anyone else on Parliament Hill, he deserves this title of respect.

What did Mr. Broadbent do? A very simple act really, he actually offered to sit out the non-confidence vote coming up this week in order to offset the fact that the Conservatives have a member in hospital, who cannot make the vote. It is a simple act indeed, but one that shows the true stature of the man. An act of genuine selflessness by a politician, can you believe it!!

Mr. Broadbent, without any thought for the agenda of his party, offered to sit out this crucial vote in order to ensure that it would lead to a fair and honest result for the nation.

At issue is the fact that the Liberal Party is fully aware that in calling the vote for Thursday May 19, they could ensure that a member of the Conservative Party would not be able to attend. They knew he had cancer surgery scheduled for quite some time and of course could not postpone it. This is the type of game this government is playing in order to hang onto power. They’re a really soft hearted bunch those Liberals.

Of course the NDP Party is supporting the Liberals in the upcoming vote, but even though his party would like the Liberals to remain in office long enough to push through some key NDP agenda items, Mr. Broadbent, who’s own wife is quite ill, saw through the sleazy and politically driven timing of the vote and he decided that enough was enough. Even though the Liberals are seeking to hang onto power by the most deplorable means possible, Mr. Broadbent decided that at least this one tactic was not going to pay off. Not on his watch.

I’m sure that he, like other members of the NDP Party would love to achieve their agenda. The fact that the party is backing the Liberals proves this. Most politicians have no moral issue with using any means possible to achieve their objectives. In Mr. Broadbent however, we find one who has not completely sold his soul to the federal machine. The fact that he took the step of offering to sit out the vote shows clearly that there is indeed someone left in Ottawa who still has integrity. In fact, others in the Party have followed his laudable example and made similar offers across the floor.

By making this offer and setting this example, Mr. Broadbent is doing what he can to ensure that if the Liberal Party does remain in power after Thursday’s vote, it will be because they have the support of the House of Commons (even if by one vote). It won’t be because the Liberal Party scheduled the vote to ensure that some members of the opposition couldn’t be there to take part. This is the type of class and fairness we would like to see from all of our politicians, a class that unfortunately, most of them could not muster on their best day.

Although this gesture did not receive a lot of press and the ramifications of it are yet to be felt, I thought it was only fair for someone to make note of this moment in history. It is a moment that may change the course of our nation, depending on the results of the vote. It is also a moment when one of our political leaders showed true greatness by performing a simple act, doing the right thing.

I can' t say that I have been a big supporter of the NDP party. I have voted for just about every political stripe over the years, depending on the issues of the day and the candidate being offered. I can say however that I remember when you led the NDP party. I remember your approach to solid leadership and your ability to get under the skin of the ruling party of the day. I also remember the glow of honesty that you always managed to project when speaking on issues of national importance. Today Mr. Broadbent, you have proven your honesty to one and all.

Thank you Mr. Broadbent, thank you for your years of service to this country and thank you for making one of your last acts in federal politics an act of compassion and honour. You are the type of political leader this Country needs and upon your retirement, which it appears will be very soon, you will be sorely missed. I know history will rank you as one of our last great political leaders, and rightfully so.


Gary said...

Mr. Broadbent is definately the last of a dying breed. A man with true integrity.

Angela - St. John's said...

I'm not a big fan of the NDP platform but I have to say, if all of our political leaders believed in their cause and had the kind of honor that Mr. Broadbent has shown over the years, we would be much better off than we are today. Gomery would not exist, have not provinces would not exist and this country would truly be held up to the world as a shining example of how a democracy should work.

Thank-you Mr. Broadbent.

Anonymous said...

He would have mad a Great Prime Minister. Too bad he led a party that never made it out of the starting gate.

Darren P. said...

The days of the Ed Broadbents of the world are over. Today's politicos have reached a whole new height of lowness. They are overtly corrupt, callous and unfeeling. The primary objective of your average politico is to pad his expense account and fatten his pension. Patriotism is dead in Ottawa. Good bye Mr. Broadbent, you will be missed.

Janice M. said...

A man among men!!!

This decent offer he has made has opened up a dialogue on the hill that may see other MPs sit out the vote in order to off set sick members on the opposite side.

Its amazing what one act of compassion can start, even in Ottawa.

Mike said...

A news item came out just a few minutes ago saying John Efford was willing to sit out the vote if Conservative MP Stinson is unable to make the vote as well. I've got an idea, why don't the Conservatives tell the Liberals that they have to sit out 5 or 6 representatives, get the pairings and then bring the MPs in anyway.

Its no scumier a tactic than the Liberals would use if they could get away with it.

Anonymous said...

I love it. There is nothing more dangerous to the status quo than a politician who is about to retire. They don't give a rats ass about their political future and can say or do what they feel like. Good work Mr. Broadbent.

Fed up said...

No matter who is in power, they are all the same. I appreciate the step Mr. Broadbent took, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter. Their all a bunch of crooks.

Terrance said...

Too bad Paul Martin can't show this kind of class. Instead he'd rather run around trying to convince the people of NL that Lloyla Hearn and Norm Doyle are going to be responsible for killing the accord. He's putting these guys between a rock and a hard place when in reality he is the one who wouldn't split out the accord bill and fast track it through the house like these MPs wanted him too.

I hope people aren't dumb enough to fall for this tactic. When you think about it, he is trying to blackmail 2 of our members to prop up his corrupt government at the expense of their own political career within the party. If they vote against their party and eventually the Conservatives get elected, what kind of representation do you think we will get in Ottawa. These guys will be outcasts. All because of Paul Martin.

In my opinion, if they vote to bring down the government it won't have any effect on my vote for Norm Doyle (in my riding) come the next election. It is a non issue since it is the Liberals who have caused this, not the Conservatives.

Think about it. Even if they were to vote for the budget, it is only second reading. It would still need to go through senate, committee, and get royal assent. So basically even if these men commit political suicide, there is no way we will see the 2.6 billion until sometime next year.

Nice trick Paul. Not so classy.

Patriot said...

Looks like Paul Martin is going to win by simply offering plumb jobs to members of the Conservative Party. If he keeps it up he might just end up with a majority government before Thursday.