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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ryan Cleary - Man on a Mission

Have you ever known something terrible was about to happen to someone before they had a clue what was awaiting them? Maybe a co-worker was about to be fired and was completely oblivious while you knew the smile on their face was about to turn to tears.

It’s sort of like watching a train wreck in slow motion and it’s a highly unpleasant experience.

That’s the best way I can find to describe how I felt late last week as I watched newly elected MP, Ryan Cleary, being interviewed on the local evening news.
In a nutshell, my heart went out to the guy.

Don’t get me wrong, after many years of journalistic experience I’m sure Cleary isn’t completely blind to the ways of politics and he’s certainly no shrinking violet. Knowing something on a cerebral level and actually crawling inside the beast is not the same thing however.

During the interview Cleary answered questions about his first impressions of Ottawa. It wasn’t his answers that hit home with me but the excitement in his voice and gleam in his eye. It left such a lasting impression. One only had to listen to him speak to sense the fire in his belly for tackling the issues close to his heart and of such importance to the province.

I can’t say I know the man on a personal level but I’ve spoken with Ryan several times over the years, via email and phone (our few attempts to meet in person never having been successful). I’ve also been the recipient of his generosity when, on several occasions, he saw fit to publish some of my commentaries in the original “The Independent” newspaper (perhaps that’s what killed the publication, you never know).

First impressions often tell you a lot about a person and my first impression of Ryan Cleary was of his depth of character. Simply put, Cleary is a man who truly cares about the issues affecting Newfoundland and Labrador.

That impression hasn’t changed one iota in the ensuing years and remains strong today.

It’s a rare thing for me to believe a politician is actually on a mission, other than to feather his own nest, but in this particular case I honestly believe it.
Unfortunately, Ottawa’s political bubble has very little tolerance for anyone who hopes to change the status quo in the slightest way.

From my outsider’s perspective, but after years of nurturing a clearly unhealthy curiosity for the body politic, I see Ottawa as a place so rife with political wrangling, bureaucratic red tape, roadblocks, shady deals, hidden power brokers and political expediency that anyone unlucky enough to possess honest ambition to fight for what’s right is sure to be ostracized if not completely crushed.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do, but I expect that four years from now we’ll see a far different Ryan Cleary. In fact I believe we’ll see a man who is all but unrecognizable other than in his physical appearance.

I’m sure Cleary’s principles will remain intact, even Ottawa can’t easily destroy a lifetime of entrenched character, but I expect the spark will have died in his eyes and his passion to fight for his principles will be buried so deeply he won’t be the same man he is today.

My heart hopes he can win his battles and truly turn Ottawa upside down, rattle some cages if you like, heaven knows it needs it. My head says he’s far more likely to return as a jaded and disillusioned shell of his former self. That would be the saddest result of all, not just for the man but for the province.

Perhaps the only hope Cleary has of limiting permanent damage to his well being is to fall back on his past career and natural instincts. When his time tilting at windmills begins to leave the scars it surely will, perhaps he’ll accept that he cannot change the world alone. This may lead him to focus on a far more pragmatic calling - bringing blazing and eye popping light into the bureaucratic darkness.

As an investigative journalist with unquestioned passion, conviction and a strong sense of social justice Cleary’s time on the inside of Canada’s political system may indeed influence Ottawa in the long run, even if that influence doesn’t come in the traditional sense or in the way he expects it will today.

We can only hope.

***This article is also available in the new "Independent" online***

Footnote: An early draft of this commentary was provided to Mr. Cleary prior to publication. His response was as follows:

Thanks Myles ... interesting read.

You're right about me being on a mission. I'm up here to make a change, to make a difference, to change the NL world.

I know it won't be easy ... I know it will be a monumental undertaking ... but my shoulder will be to the wheel. And if I don't succeed ... well, at least I will have tried my damndest. At that point it would be time to change tack, but I certainly won't be defeated. If anything, I'd be more determined than ever.
I wouldn't change a word of your piece.


Keep it in your files for 2015.

Ryan

2 comments:

Ussr said...

Thanks Myles ... interesting read.

You're right about me being on a mission. I'm up here to make a change, to make a difference, to change the NL world.

I know it won't be easy ... I know it will be a monumental undertaking ... but my shoulder will be to the wheel. And if I don't succeed ... well, at least I will have tried my damndest. At that point it would be time to change tack, but I certainly won't be defeated. If anything, I'd be more determined than ever.
I wouldn't change a word of your piece.

Keep it in your files for 2015.

Ryan

Hello Myles,
Can you please release this note for Mr ClearyI know he frequents your Blog like myself. Thank you in advance ;)

Well Mr Cleary,

I hope nobody from this Province has to do this. I have talked to you several times Sir, on your radio program, always calling from Ontario when I got home. There is nothing more in life that I cherish or love than my home (other than my wife).

While Mr Williams was in office I knew that it would be protected from the scum and tyranny that is Ottawa or Canada,( however you feel is fine.)

This Province now needs a voice. It needs protection against the evils that this Harper Government are going to unleash against it. I only hope Ryan that you can be that voice. You don’t have to ask Myles to keep it filed. Like my Fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans, I have a memory like an elephant when it comes to the well being of my home.

I pray that God my give you the courage and the wisdom to take a stand and represent those that elected you to represent them in Ottawa. For a better life not just for them, but for their children and their children’s children.

The Bleeding has to stop. Only those that we send to represent us in our supposed Government can do this. Only you can do this Mr Cleary. I pray that God may see fit to guidee you at this time. Good luck with the new job and God Bless.

As Always, “ Republic Of “

NL-ExPatriate said...

Hope srings eternal in a democracy by way of the right to vote.

Unfortunately for NL in this thing called a parliamenlation democracy where the only thing that matters is population

It is eternally hopeless to expect any national party to stand up for a minority population province like NL when a majority po prov like QU opposes it.

Classic Tyranny of the majority and why we need a EQUAL SENATE!