Posted by: Rael Kalley | September 6, 2014

266. If you can’t say something nice …

Today’s a big day for some in Alberta.

Later today the new premier of our province will be decided by members of the ruling party who will gather to vote on which of the three candidates they wish to have lead the party to what has been widely predicted to be massive defeat at the next election.

My guess is, that while it is true that for some Albertans today is a big day, the vast majority will go about their lives without giving so much as a fleeting thought to his leadership race. Frankly, my belief is that most simply don’t care.

Over the past few months I have watched with relative disinterest the sleepy race work its way through the media fueled only by the fact that slow news days are the norm in the summer freeing reporters to follow a story that relatively few care about.

What is interesting though is what has happened in the recent weeks and days as this contest has been moving closer to its conclusion.

Each of the candidates has resorted in one way or another to taking shots at the others through either innuendo, influence or direct comment in a way that has become the norm in political campaigns around the world.

We see this in watching our neighbours to the south and experience it locally at all levels of government where many candidates believe that a good method of gathering votes by is stealing them away from their opponents and that the way to do this is to trash their foes at every opportunity.

Personally I find this distasteful and the likelihood of any candidate who has, through whatever means, attacked his/her competitors is very unlikely to ever receive my X on a ballot sheet next to their name.

Many years ago I learned a really valuable lesson while meeting with a client. During my time in her office she met with several representatives from a company who were proposing that she purchase the products and services they had to offer. A great deal of the time was spent maligning her existing suppliers and informing her as to why they were the superior choice.

They repeatedly pointed out those features/benefits that they offered and the competitors didn’t and how, in those areas where they both offered the same services, their product and delivery was far superior. They spoke of their competitor with contempt and belittlement.

 

After the presentation she told me something I’ve never forgotten, “When we spend our time putting others down and criticizing them, it reveals far more about ourselves than it ever will about them.”

 

 

I cannot possibly agree more.

 

In order for me to make a decision where to cast my ballot I want the candidates to tell me about themselves and why I should entrust my precious vote to them.

 

I do not want them to tell me what is wrong with their opponents and why they are unworthy of my vote. The more a candidate talks scathingly of his or her opponents the less likely they are to garner my support. While we live in a democracy that at the provincial and federal levels really encourages us to vote more for the party than the candidate, I’m still heavily influenced by the way in which candidates conduct themselves during the campaign.

 

If I was an attendee at today’s convention I would cast my vote for ‘None of the above,’ not because each of them any of them is unqualified to do the job but because each has, in the course of the campaign, attacked and criticized their opponents at a personal level, and their vitriol has given me sufficient reason to believe the flaws in the character are not those I want in the next leader of my province.

 

Perhaps I’m naïve, but it is my right to be so and I’m really curious to see who among you think as I do.

 

Till we read again.


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