From Shaman’s Rock
By Jim Poling Sr.
The turning leaves tell us about change; the need for it and the importance of making change at the right time.
Autumn leaves turn colour then drop to make room for a new generation that will continue the work of the trees they serve. They’ve done their best and accept that their work will be carried on by new growth.
Political leaders need to accept the same reasoning. They don’t and very few resign when they should.
They don’t for a variety of reasons, fearing loss of power, loss of money, and loss of relevance. Also, they don’t resign when they should because they fear their leaving will be seen as an admission of having done wrong, or at least not doing everything they had promised to do.
Two that should resign now are Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario premier Doug Ford.
Trudeau has had his time – eight years leading the federal government – and a majority of Canadians no longer want him around. A poll by Nano Research shows that only 20 per cent of respondents believe he should lead his governing Liberal party into the next general election.
Another poll reports that just 27 per cent of Canadians think the country is headed in the right direction.
Trudeau became prime minister as a celebrity candidate and probably the least qualified person in the country’s history to take on the role. He no doubt did the things he thought best, making some good decisions and some bad for the country and its citizens.
He now has family problems that need his attention more than the country does. An easy and honourable way out is to step up to a microphone and say supporting family is more important than politics.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s approval rating has seen its largest dip since he took office five years ago. He currently ranks last in popularity among Canadian premiers. Recent polling shows his approval rating at 28 per cent, a drastic drop from 69 per cent in March 2020.
He now finds himself mired in a scandal that refuses to go away. His government’s decision to remove 7,400 acres from the environmentally-protected Greenbelt zone surrounding the Greater Toronto area has resulted in heavy criticism. It forced the resignation of his housing minister who Ontario’s ethics commission said broke ethics rules.
Ford has sloughed off criticism saying the land is needed for affordable housing. However, he has said repeatedly in the past that his government would not develop the protected lands.
There are alternatives to building housing on farmland, which the 2021 Census on Agriculture suggests Ontario is losing at a rate of 319 acres a day. It is difficult understand what Ford hopes to achieve by breaking his word on such a sensitive topic.
All this follows criticism of Ontario’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, health care in general, care of seniors and reducing funds for education.
Trudeau and Ford need to be replaced by new types of leaders. Leaders who are committed to something bigger than themselves and gaining votes for their political parties.
Our political party system has become one of opposition instead of co-operation. We need new leaders who are less beholding to their parties and more tuned into the voices of the people and their needs.
The world is changing dramatically and facing the difficult issues of climate change, pandemics, growing authoritarianism and inequality. Today’s leaders must have new approaches to the rapidly changing world and the ability to inspire diverse groups of people to work with them.
The world in which Trudeau and Ford were elected five to eight years ago now is a different place. There is a trend toward weakening democracies and access to information that have left general populations with less say.
There is no shame in stepping aside now and being replaced by people with new approaches and new visions. Leaders who seek solutions by listening to the common people who are the ones most affected by the changes we see now, and more change that is likely in the future.