Canadians across the country commemorated the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. A day of reflection of the legacy of Canada’s residential schools, the survivors, and those who died. While many were at ceremonies, questionable political judgement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took away from the holiday.
Instead of attending a ceremony for the holiday he created, Trudeau was on vacation in Tofino, BC. Politicians are entitled to family vacations like everyone else, but as the Prime Minister, he could have delayed that holiday for one day. He has since apologized for not attending a ceremony at the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation. Not delaying his vacation by a day in order to attend a NDTR ceremony is questionable political judgement, and not the only one seen recently.
Premier Doug Ford, after more than 200 press conferences since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, disappeared from public view for three weeks. From September 1 until after the federal election, Ford and his government vanished. Meanwhile COVID-19 cases increased in the fourth wave – fueled by the Delta variant. Ford claims he was meeting people from across the province. That is questionable political judgement as hospitals fill up again and schools are forced to close due to outbreaks. While Ford said he did not want to get involved in the federal election campaign, politicians are good at deflecting unwanted questions. He and his government should not have taken a three-week break from the pandemic when others have not had that luxury.
Questionable political judgement even extends to municipal politics. Last week at South Dundas council, councillor Lloyd Wells remained in chambers while the rest of council discussed rezoning a commercial property he owns. Wells did declare pecuniary interest for that portion of the meeting, remained silent during the discussion, and did not vote. Unlike the two previous rezoning attempts by Wells where he left the room, this time he did not. A noted municipal law expert interviewed by The Leader explained previously that declaring pecuniary interest is not enough and that remaining in council chambers is still a form of physical lobbying. Council approved Wells’ property rezoning September 27.
The three examples cited here are the tip of the iceberg where politicians have forgotten that they were elected to serve all the people who voted them into office. Public service is the hallmark of elected office, and those who are elected with self-interest, rather than public-interest as their goal, should rethink their reasons for being in politics.