Rejecting the temptations of hot takes or over-simplified solutions, this weekly newsletter from Ray Pennings is the right read for anyone desiring thoughtful, measured, and principled perspectives on faithful public life.
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HERE’S MY TAKE
July 29, 2023
Politics belongs to everyone. While the political class (officials, media, pundits, lobbyists) lead the way, what is acceptable behaviour is shaped by how all of us collectively–by our actions or inactions–reward that behaviour. Politics is inherently about power and reward. This means people usually will behave publicly in the manner that seems most likely to get them what they want. This week’s musing emerges from my own reflections regarding what I should be doing to resist the ever-declining discourse that masquerades as political conversation these days.
The responses to both the very public suicide of Toronto principal Richard Bilkszto and the nasty demonstration confronting Prime Minister Trudeau in Belleville, ON discomfited me. To be clear, by linking the two I don’t mean to equate them. Every suicide is a tragic and painful matter, complicated by a complex mix of circumstances that are almost always near impossible to understand for the person’s nearest and dearest, let alone those who only know of the matter through media reports. Protesting the prime minister is different. Protest is a legitimate political tool. While the media coverage does show last week’s event to be obnoxious and uncomfortable, it was evidently not so dangerous as to prevent Prime Minister Trudeau from wading into the crowd. We need to keep perspective. But for this column, the specifics of either event aren’t nearly as important as the very similar public reaction to them both.
Hate is a strong word that evokes emotion, so I want to use it carefully. My tentative conclusion based on the evidence of the past week is that:
It’s a tentative conclusion, so let me walk you through the logic that brings it on.
Executive Vice President
Ray Pennings co-founded Cardus in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, working out of the Ottawa office. Ray has a vast amount of experience in Canadian industrial relations and has been involved in public policy discussions and as a political activist at all levels of government.