The Epistle of Q — Chapter 121

And On a different track…

This morning (August 16th) I listened to a very profound sermon from Zion Presbyterian in Charlottetown ( (Sermon Audio version for August 16th). The basic question raised is: when did we quit being concerned with truth? It got me thinking about numerous changes that have occurred in recent years that ought not to be blamed on the internet or social media but rather on ourselves. The truth is certainly front and centre. But what also of good manners, let alone respect? Or of the use of proper English (for those of us who speak it as our primary tongue)?

And that took me back to a piece I had read and shared by Conrad Black about why he thought that Justin Trudeau was no longer deserving of being Prime Minister and he and his governmental colleagues should be thrown out of office. Now I must acknowledge that I have been of that mind for some time, as I have for the Premier of BC (definitely validated when he suggested that people coming from Alberta to BC should either come by bus even though Greyhound left us over a year ago or change to BC plates which of course, without a BC residence or corporate presence, would be highly illegal). But what struck me about Conrad’s opinion piece was the fact that he was willing to excuse the PM for all his ethical violations, his conflicts of interest and general miscreant behaviour. Now I shouldn’t have been surprised by this because he has excused the leader to the south of us for all his errancies partly I sense because they are friends but partly also because, in the end, Conrad has come to believe the ends justify the means.

But before I delve into this conundrum let me share thoughts about the article that came from you of you:

Reader #1
Well done. We need a sensible, sensitive, smart, ethical leader with a proven track record to lead this great country and bring us together as a country and not divide us. We need to be proud of our country, all provinces and territories together. Money and power hungry people need not apply. Where is there such a person? Does he/she even exist?

Perhaps you could post this and see how many people apply.

We also don’t want anyone who wants to hide our past but who will learn from it and never make the same mistakes again. When the almighty dollar rules us and we have people living without potable water and starving while others live in luxury to the point where it’s obscene, there is little hope. History keeps repeating itself. We need to instil in our people that hard work is rewarded and anyone who is physically or mentally unable will be looked after but everyone has to pull their own weight. I could go on and on but this is a start.

I hope there is someone out there to help us for the sake of our children and grandchildren and future generations. I will not hold my breath but I will continue to hope.

P.S. We could start by bringing back Cursive writing and home economics and shop classes and understanding how to budget and why there is a need. If young people understood how hard it is to earn a dollar maybe they would be better citizens. Oh, I forgot, I said I would stop.

P.P.S. Maybe they could even get a paper route!

Reader #2 –
Conrad has always had trouble with the difference between being an officer of a company and being an owner. When he was caught spending one hundred thousand of company money on a birthday party for his girl friend, he said that “A PROPRIETOR HAS CERTAIN PRIVILEGES…”; he did not understand he was running a listed public company, and he was certainly not the proprietor! He was in fact a hired hand notwithstanding the fact that he of course owned many shares. Again when he moved the boxes at midnight, he did not perceive that it would look passing strange to an American juror of limited understanding of the burdens of being a great lord!

So when he looks at the behaviour of the PM, it is not surprising that he concludes it is not illegal or even unethical. He doesn’t even mention the fact that he abolished parliament which has not been done since the days of Cromwell. That did not end well. Nonetheless Conrad is a good writer and has a fine vocabulary. We should all be learning a new word every day!

Now let me say that I too agree that Conrad is a good writer and his vocabulary rivals that of Rex Murphy’s and certainly exceeds my limited command of the King’s English (or even J.B. Phillips’, for those of you with a theological bent!!). But being a good writer is insufficient when one begins to wander rather obliquely from the initial strongly-focussed original straight path promoting truthful government, thoughtful dialogue and respective appreciation of one’s neighbour. To those who say that the current WE issue is merely a hiccup or perhaps the unnecessary damaging of a wonderful charity, I say NOT. Saying sorry is not a get-out-of-jail card. If you love me (as the PM has said many times – well, he has said he loves Canada, and as a part of Canada AND being still relatively young and of voting age, I would hope he includes me in his love) it means according to that wonderful scene between Ryan O’Neill and Ali McGraw in Love Story never having to say sorry.

So Conrad if you want a strong, upstanding ethical leader you have to want that leader to be ethical to the core. You need to demand definite commitment on the part of that leadership to being ethical first, and then being political. In fact beyond ethical the person should ensure that s/he is respectful. Then there needs to be a commitment to justice and caring for one another. If all this is in place, then write well crafted comments and/or critiques.

There has always been political differences within democracies. That is not the fundamental issue. The problem is with the leadership: does it try to exacerbate the differences? Or, does it try to bring understanding (not necessarily agreement) and a willingness to seek some degree of collaboration? To do that one needs to be transparent and honest, not caring beyond one’s term about the tasks at hand. Always looking ahead to the next election and how to win it is not the ethical choice. Asking each time a decision is undertaken or a word is spoken — is it truthful? and how would one feel if it were being done to them? is the prime choice!

The problems facing the Canadian people are not going to be assisted by someone who says only that the goal was good therefore the actions are okay. Otherwise I ought not to be stopped for speeding, because not only is my car capable of great speeds, but I am trying to get somewhere quickly so I don’t hold up another person’s time or needlessly linger on the roadway taking up unnecessary space. The goal and the actions must be co-terminus. Conrad deserves to lose his place as a must-read commentator when he casts off ethical violations in an individual taking the spotlight continually and wanting to be an idol to the young as mere gaffs. Yes, I agree the PM must go, as must his Financial Minister. But it is for their continuing abhorrence of any sense of ethical grounding. If we can’t trust our leaders, will we trust our neighbours? And in these abnormal times, we really need to be able to trust our neighbours.

So come on Conrad, get the blinders off and return to your pulpit excusing no one for lapses and gaffs but instead demanding from the get-go a strong and grounded ethical commitment to leadership and to bringing us together again strong & free… And if you can’t do this, retire… you should be grooming your replacement anyway because we all can be replaced… trust me on that one!!