Looking through the microscope on West Shore politics

In the spirit of giving thanks, Arnold explores the thankless job that politicians endure

By now the tryptophan has worn off, and Thanksgiving leftovers are long gone.

However in the spirit of the past holiday, I would like to take a moment to give thanks, not only to the politicians who ran and were elected, but also to  those potential Members of Parliament who ran and were not elected. Yes, this includes the unpopular notion of thanking a Conservative government, whose polarizing reign is now over.

While thanking a former majority government voted in by the minority of Canadians, in the first-past-the-post voting system may be an unwelcome sentiment in the wake of a clear Liberal mandate, voters sometimes forget that politicians are  surprisingly humans too.

On the heels of a holiday steeped in a history of gratitude, I find myself thanking a government I didn’t vote for, lead by politicians, some of whom like Stephen Harper, are being bandied about as one of the most polarizing in recent memory.

The fact of the matter is this, politicians put their lives under the microscope for the right to serve their country, absorbing both the congratulations and the ire of the public and the media on a daily basis.

Surely each and every one knows exactly what they’ve signed up for, but enduring constant social media scrutiny of both their professional and personal lives from the public, to very public attack advertising from potential competitors can’t be an easy thing, especially for the families of the affected.

Imagine a scenario where that type of behavior happened to you at your place of work?

Most parties have participated in this type of combative advertising at some point in their political history and you often reap what you sow but it certainly has a human cost that we as voters may want to keep in mind.

Remember, for every member of parliament we elect, many more in that riding sacrificed time with family, potentially their day jobs or more for an opportunity for an ultimately unsuccessful bid.

Behind the politicians, an even larger crew of tireless staff, some of whom find themselves on the outside of the job market looking in, are left picking up the pieces of a failed campaign.

In a largely four-party system, regardless of who is elected, it is with virtual certainty the unelected outnumber the elected.

Whether you agree with a particular party’s or particular candidates policies or not, we can all empathize with the disappointment of missing out on an opportunity or job we believed we were the right person for. I know I do.

As voters we have the right to challenge our politicians and call them on anything we disagree with, that is what makes democracy what it is, but I believe we must also consider and appreciate their fortitude for what it is. I know I have no interest or ability to do what they do and believe it takes a special type of personality to do the work they do on such a public stage. That also goes for their supporters, their teams of staff and volunteers, some who are young family members whom sacrificed equally behind the scenes because they too, believe so deeply in their cause.

Without those that don’t make it, there isn’t those who do, there would be no democracy. The reality is many who lost will look elsewhere for work, while some may never work on another campaign again. There may not be 100 per cent security for any job, but I for one, go back to work today with more security than those working on political campaigns will ever know.

It is a deep sacrifice they make at all levels of government, with no guarantee of anything at the end of a hard-fought race. My hat is off to those that were elected and equally so to those that weren’t. Your sacrifice to make democracy what it is has my heart, and I thank you, even if I didn’t vote for you.

Just Posted

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read