Thoughts on a foggy Thursday.Friday, May 09, 2014 by: David Root
Today is the National Day of Honour for our troops who served — and died — during the mission to Afghanistan.
I think it is important for people to remember — and many do seem unaware of this — that whether or not you agree with the government’s decision, our Canadian Forces personnel did their duty, and did it admirably and honourably.
It is all too easy for us to take for granted the freedoms which we enjoy. One of those freedoms is to openly criticize our government. In many parts of the world, this is an action that is punishable by death, usually without trial.
People are dying in the streets to claim the rights that we take for granted.
Our troops, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice, and many more still who were wounded physically and emotionally, went willingly to help bring peace to a particular war-torn region. Doing so, they helped to build schools, repair infrastructure, and promote dialogue between the various factions.
We should be proud of our troops.
It is time to dim the spotlight shining on Rob Ford.
Yes, he acted a complete ass, making outrageous statements, his behaviour so far beyond outrageous as to be unbelievable, at times.
We suspected, and it has now been confirmed, that the Mayor has an addiction to alcohol and drugs.
He has, finally, taken a leave of absence from his position, and is seeking help — proper help — to begin his recovery.
Make no mistake: he will not find a “cure”. He will not come back and be a changed man. he will always be an addict.
But, like many before him, he can begin making steps toward recovery.
Those who have not had an addiction, nor had a family member or close friend who was an addict, may have trouble understanding what has, is, and will be happening.
He must learn new behaviours, and new methods of coping. He must learn that he cannot have a “social drink.”
For himself, in the early stages of this scandal, admitted to smoking crack when he was, in his words, “in one of his drunken stupours.”
Let’s be honest, if someone admits to “drunken stupours” they must at least have an inkling that they have a problem.
Ford has reached that point, yes in part due to the incessant attention from the media. He has sought help — real help, not just a “personal trainer.”
And now it’s time to leave him alone, and let him do what is necessary.
Earlier this week he spoke with Sault Native reporter Joe Warmington, one of the very few in the media whom he trusts. He said that “rehab is great!”, which leads me to believe that the real work had not yet started.
Rehab is not “great”, especially not at the beginning. Rehab is a time when one’s addictions are not fed, and withdrawal rears its ugly head.
Speaking a second time with Warmington, Ford stated that he would not be able to speak with him again, having gotten into “deep s***” for doing so the first time.
This is how it should be. Despite the horribly unrealistic depictions of reality TV as to what rehab might be, it is most definitely not a vacation. This is not some high-class spa where celebrities go to dry out, or to convalesce while the scars from their most recent cosmetic surgery heal.
Rehab is a place to confront your demons and regain control of your life.
It cannot be done under the scrutiny of the media.
There are those who claim that since Ford is a public figure then they (presumably “they” are voters in Toronto) have the right to ascertain that he is indeed in rehab.
First, he took a leave of absence. When you take a leave of absence, your employer has no right to keep tabs on you.
I took a leave of absence, and my employer did not check up on me, nor was I expected — or even permitted — to go in to the workplace.
Second, if Ford had been diagnosed with gall bladder problems, or cancer, or some other medical condition, no one would “have the right” to check up on him, to ensure he really did have the condition he claimed, and that he was undergoing treatment.
Third, like him or not, he is entitled to some privacy, at this point. Public figure or not, rehab is not a spectator sport.
So, let’s leave him alone, and wish him all the best. His is a tough row to hoe.
What choices are we faced with, this election.
I’ve always seen elections as a sort of binary process.
At the local level, we need to choose a candidate who we believe will best represent our community’s interests, be that at Queen’s Park or Ottawa.
Obviously, an MPP (or MP) who sits with the government is in a better position to advocate on our behalf. However, given our electoral system, there is no way to ensure this happens.
It is possible (thought not likely) that we could elect the sole representative from a particular party.
On the other hand, at the party level, we want to choose a party whose platform offers the most benefit to our community, and to ourselves as individuals.
Again, there is no guarantee we will help to elect the next government.
The biggest problem with our system is that the whole exercise has become almost pointless. “Experts” blither on about voter apathy, and how to compel people to participate in the process, but one simply asks, “Why?”
There are two rules in politics: 1) Get elected. 2) Get re-elected.
Party ideology seems to really matter to some people, people who see anyone who disagrees with them as the enemy, and unworthy of even common courtesy.
The fact is that party ideology is merely a means of making promises that one knows will likely not be kept. It has become far too common for a party to get elected into office and then turn around and say, “We didn’t know things were this bad,” and abandoning any thought of following through on their election promises.
No one party is to blame, for in the past three decades they all have had a turn or two at the helm, and all with basically the same results.
So, in my opinion, we’re left to choose the lesser of three evils, so to speak.
And again, we must decide if we are voting locally or provincially.
Despite assurances that the north will not be forgotten, we know that 80% of the voters live south of the French River, and 80% of those south of Highway 7. The south wields a great deal of influence.
Although I like him, David Orazietti is not popular with everyone in the Sault.
I’m not a big fan of the Liberals, but I think Kathleen Wynne is a better leader than the other two.
Tim Hudak announced months ago that he would not be supporting a Liberal budget. Uh-huh.
Recently, Andrea Horwath triggered the election by publicly stating that her party would not support the budget.
Both claim that the Liberals will not work with their parties on issues, but neither demonstrates a willingness to do so themselves.
I cannot support such hypocrisy.
I cannot image what it will take to get me to vote for either the Conservatives (who I traditionally support) or the NDP.
As I said, Im not generally a Liberal supporter, but… I think it’s better to stick with the devil we know, as the saying goes.
Although, I’m not sure how much anything would really change if one of the other parties were to be elected. After all… they have each shown they can break promises as well as the others.
But… that’s just my opinion.