Fear or Love

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Banner reads ‘I am Brussels’ in French & Flemish – Reuters pic

One week ago on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, three coordinated bombings occurred in Brussels, Belgium’s capital. Two attacks occurred in the Brussels airport, and one at its metro station. During these attacks, 31 innocent victims were killed along with three suicide bombers. Even more disturbing is the 300 innocent people who were injured.

I feel great sadness when I hear of a terrorist attack especially when it occurs in Europe because just six months ago my wife and I were in Europe. In October of 2015, my wife and I visited Belgium. While Brussels was not one of the places we visited, we did visit several of the World War One sites in Flanders’ Fields. We also visited Paris, France on our trip so when the Paris attacks happened it deeply affected us both, as did the Brussels attack.

As I stated in my November 27, 2015  post about the Paris attacks, terrorism is something I cannot understand. I’ve tried to put myself into the shoes of a terrorist in order to comprehend how someone can cause harm and death to innocent people like the bloodshed that happened in Brussels. The news media repeatedly tells us that the people who carry out such acts of violence have been radicalized.  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a radical as  “advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs”. So as I understand it, radicals are people who carrying out acts of murder for political gain.  This is what I can’t wrap my head around.  In my mind killing innocent people for political gain, or any reason, is wrong!

How can someone with any kind of conscience murder innocent people? As I mentioned in the November post, the only thing I can come up with is that these people have been brainwashed. It is the only explanation that makes sense.

What disturbs me the most is when a terrorist attack  happens on our planet panic sets in. Panic is a symptom of fear. The school that I taught in is taking a group of students to Germany this month. The Brussels event set off a wave of panic among the parents. These parents were fearful because their children were off to Europe, where terrorist attacks occur. Now I’m a parent, so I understand the need to protect your children. But when we cave in to fear, the terrorists succeed.

Perhaps it’s time to look at the issue of terrorism from a different perspective. According to many spiritual writers today, all behaviours and emotions can be put into two categories – love and fear. These writers tell us fear is the opposite of love. So what is fear? Fear results in a feeling of not being protected or feeling secure. So when it comes to terrorism, fear sets in because we feel insecure and vulnerable. In fact, that is what terrorism is all about, instilling fear. Terrorists want us to be fearful. They want to cause terror. In fact, ‘terror’ is the root word of ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’.

Fear limits our minds. People who live in fear will do harmful things. They lash out at those whom they perceive to be the cause of their pain. The same could be argued for animals. When do animals attack? It is when they fear for their survival.

Now most people would argue that the opposite of love is hate but when you think about it, hate is really stemming from fear. A person might “hate” someone who has abandoned or disrespected him. Abandonment makes more sense in terms of the fear. When a person feels abandoned, their emotions are stemming from fear of being alone. Disrespect is when a person feels scorned or disregarded, so it stems from the fear a person has when they are not honoured or regarded.

In a CNN report, Republican front-runner Donald Trump is quoted as saying,

“It’s going to get worse and worse. In my opinion, this is just the beginning. It will get worse and worse because we are lax and we are foolish — we can’t allow these people, at this point we cannot allow these people to come into our country. I’m sorry…”

His remarks clearly come from fear. His and others like him lack love and compassion. Banishing others does not stem from love. It stems from fear which indicates that there is no love.

Love on the other hand doesn’t hurt. If it hurts it is fear. Love is a core emotion from which many other emotions are created. Emotions such as happiness, kindness, charity, faith, empathy, fairness and compassion all come from loving intentions. This type of love is what the Greeks called agape love. This love is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest form of love there is. With this type of love there is no exclusiveness.

Fear is the opposite of love because fear is the base emotion from which hate, prejudice, greed, stress, paranoia, and many other negative emotions are based.

1 John 4:18 of the Christian scriptures tells us, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” It is also interesting that scripture scholars tell us the phrases “do not fear” and “do not be afraid” appears 365 times in the Christian Bible. I don’t think that is coincidence. Perhaps a basic message in the scriptures is, do not have fear because when you are fearful, you do not possess love.

The CNN report referred to above quotes Pascale Rouhier, a 38-year-old resident of Brussels, as saying, “I’m not going to change my way of living because Brussels is my city.”

The article also reports that 2,000 people gathered in front of  the Brussels stock exchange, with Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel and other leaders who laid wreaths at Maelbeek metro station.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Our strength lies in our unity, and our free societies will prove to be stronger than terrorism.” (see article)

These are all examples of people whereby fear has not taken hold. Their reactions and comments stem from love. Love unifies while fear divides.

Perhaps former Beatle John Lennon sums it up best when he said,

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States was right when he said during his inaugural address on March 4, 1933,   “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.”  If terrorists succeed in their mission to instil fear into the world then they will create a culture of fear; a culture where there is no love; a world full of hate, prejudice, greed, stress, and paranoia. But, if we don’t allow fear to take hold then we will have a culture filled with happiness, kindness, charity,  empathy, fairness and compassion; a culture where there is love. The choice is ours.

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World Water Day

WaterDayTuesday, March 22, 2016 is World Water Day. I had not heard of this day until recently when reading a news article, so I decided to do some research to find out why a day deemed World Water Day was created. What surprised me is this day has been held annually since the 22nd of March 1993, which was the first World Water Day. How could there have been twenty-three World Water Days in the past and I had not heard of it before? Do I live in a bubble? I’ve always known that fresh water was, and still is, a precious resource and that it is rapidly disappearing due to pollution and melting glaciers. In fact, I taught many lessons to my students about it over the years, but when I did some research on the topic, I was surprised by what I learned.

If I am truly honest with myself, I have to admit that I’ve always taken water for granted. There has never been a water shortage where I live. There has always been plenty of fresh, clean water to drink, to have a shower, to operate the clothes washer, to run the dishwasher, and to even water the lawn occasionally. I’ve always assumed, like most people I suspect, that we would always have a supply of fresh water. After doing some research, now I’m not so sure.

The Water Project is a non-profit organization providing reliable water to communities in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the website, water Scarcity is a reality on our planet! That means there is either the lack of enough water or lack of access to safe water. This site says 1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. That means over a billion people on our planet lack access to safe water. The site also says that in developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.

The World Water Council is an international multi-stakeholder council that promotes awareness, builds political commitment and triggers action on critical water issues. According to the Council, 1.1 billion people live without clean drinking water. The daily per capita use of water in residential areas is

  • 350 litres in North America and Japan
  • 200 litres in Europe
  • 10-20 litres in sub-Saharan Africa

That means each citizen of North America uses 350 litres every day. That’s a lot of water. It begs the question, are we wasting water?

From an agricultural perspective, the Water Councils says the quantity of water needed to produce 1 kg of wheat is 1 000 litres. Rice needs 1 400 litres and beef requires 13 000 litres of water. Perhaps it’s time to eat less steak.

Water.org is an international non-profit organization that brings water and sanitation to the developing world. Here are some interesting statistics I found on their site.

  • 663 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water.
  • 4 billion people – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet.
  • Twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.
  • More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
  • Every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
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From ideahack.me

The Guardian’s article, How will climate change impact fresh water security? says fresh water scarcity is best understood by contemplating the distribution of fresh water on our planet. Approximately 98% of our water is in our oceans, which consists of salt water, and only 2% is fresh water. Of that 2%, almost 70% is snow and ice (namely glaciers), 30% is groundwater, less than 0.5% is surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.) and less than 0.05% is in the atmosphere. Climate change has had enormous effects on the amounts of fresh water available to us on the planet. The primary one is that global warming causes the polar ice caps and the world’s glaciers to melt into the sea, turning it into seawater.

Does this mean we should we alarmed? Yes it does. Does it mean we should lose hope for the future? No it doesn’t. All the various organizations I mentioned above are working towards solving the water scarcity problem. Science is also working towards solutions.

According to The Guardian’s article, 8 unbelievable solutions to future water shortages, science has come up with innovative ideas such as,

  • Waterless bathing using a lotion called DryBath which is a blend of essential oils, bioflavonoids (group of plant pigments), and an odour-eliminating chemical that is said to save four litres of water ever session.
  • Ultra efficient showers that use a screw-in device that captures water at the beginning of a shower and feeds it back into the system.
  • Using lasers to induce rain at times of drought, an idea debated by the World Meteorological Organization.
  • Folding toilets that make more efficient use of water. Its inventors claim that if installed it could save 10,000 litres per person every year.
  • Using a solar-chemical purification process that involves exposing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to ultra violet radiation from the sun to produce a photo catalytic composite that cleans water.

According to the Canada Free Press’ article, Israel holds the solution to world water crisis, Israel has many new innovative products and policies. Some of these are drip irrigation and “fertigation,” a process of injecting fertilizers, soil amendments, and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system. Israel promotes dual-flush toilets, seawater desalination, advanced wastewater treatment and reuse, free-market pricing of water, drought-resistant seeds, cutting-edge metering and leak-detection systems, conservation education and precision agriculture.

Perhaps the most alarming thing that I’ve learned was on the World Water Council website. It said,

“As the resource is becoming scarce, tensions among different users may intensify, both at the national and international level. Over 260 river basins are shared by two or more countries. In the absence of strong institutions and agreements, changes within a basin can lead to transboundary tensions. When major projects proceed without regional collaboration, they can become a point of conflicts, heightening regional instability.”

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Logo from touchland.com

The prospect of “water wars” has been flaunted for decades and according to the article, Global ‘water war’ threat by 2030 – US intelligence, it may become reality within a decade. The article says the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the organization that oversees US intelligence agencies such as the CIA and FBI, was commissioned by President Barack Obama to examine the impact of water scarcity worldwide on US security. The ODNI predicts that by 2040 water demand will outstrip current supply by 40 per cent. The organization says it could lead to outright fighting, or water could be used as a tool of political leverage, similar to how gas and oil are used today. It suggests revising international water treaties and investing in superior water purification technologies that will make the increasingly scarce resource plentiful again.

The world faces many serious problems such as global warming and water scarcity. It is time for us to get our “heads out of the sand” and educate ourselves about these issues. Even more, it is time for us to get involved, even if it is something as simple as donating to an organization that brings clean water and sanitation to the developing world, taking shorter showers, or purchasing water efficient appliances. If we all do our small part, we will make a difference.

“You’re Chicken”

Anybody that knows me understands that I am not one of the bravest people on the planet.  I do not like speed so I avoid being in fast cars, speed boats and roller coasters.  Moreover, I am afraid of heights. I was terrified standing on the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. You could not pay me enough to stand on that glass bottom.  Strangely, standing on top of a mountain or walking along a trail with a steep cliff beside me, I’m not afraid.  But put me on a roof to shingle it, I’m terrified.  My brothers, when asking for family members to help shingle a roof don’t even bother asking me because they know I’m useless due to my fear of heights.

disneyland-resort-logo-540154My wife loves anything Disney, so in 2004, we took a family vacation to spend time at Disneyland in California, U.S.A.  I will admit, to use the idiom,  that I was a “chicken”.  I refused to go on anything labelled a roller coaster.  That meant that the Space Mountain ride was out.  We were in line to experience the ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when I noticed a sign stating that the ride was a roller coaster.  I questioned my wife about it and she assured me it was a very mild roller coaster.  So I went.  That was a one time experience though.  Then there is California Adventure Land. They have the California Screamin’, a huge roller coaster.  There was no way in hell that I was going on that.  Then there was the then newly opened The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride.  That is a ride that simulates an out of control elevator dropping.  That sounded just too terrifying for me, so I used my “I’ll pass” card.  Let’s face it, I am just a big chicken.

Three years ago, in 2013, my daughter volunteered in South Africa for two weeks with a group of university students.  She also spent two weeks traveling on safaris and experiencing Africa.  My daughter declared her  motto to be, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m going to experience all that I can.”  I was so proud of her.  She tried new foods such as crocodile, wildebeest, and warthogs. She went shark cage diving.  She did cliff diving, surfing and caving.  The list goes on and on. I thought she was incredibly brave.

clip-art-rollercoaster-347569That same year, my wife had a work related conference in Anaheim, California,  so we decided to make a vacation of it.  I, along with two of our children, went with her to once again experience Disneyland and California Adventure Land. So I thought, if my daughter can be brave and was willing to try new things in Africa, then I can be brave too.  My new motto for the trip was, “If my daughter can try new things, so can I”.  It was  carpe diem; “seize the day” for me. No one was going to accuse me of being chicken this time.  So off we went to experience the theme parks.

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Disneyland’s Tower of Terror

My wife loved Space Mountain, so I said, “I’ll try that.” I did but only once.  Then there was the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which I was terrified to go on in 2004.  Not this time.  While waiting in line, I’ll be honest, I was nervous, very nervous actually, but if my daughter could be brave so can I.  The ride turned out to be fun.  In fact, we went three more times after that. I drew the line at the huge roller coaster known as California Sceamin’.  My wife and son loved it.  My eldest daughter and I just waited for them.  She is a bit like her Dad. She is not overly brave but she did try most rides like me.

We also spent a day at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California. I am so proud of myself as I did the new Transformers: the ride 3D and Revenge of the Mummy: the Ride, both of which are a type of roller coaster.

So, I learned something on that trip.  It is okay to try new things; to have new experiences.  Sometimes we just have to face our fears and ‘seize the day’.  I made a deal with myself then to take some risks and to just go for it, although I do draw the line at extreme activities such a sky diving and parasailing. Author Neil Gaiman in The Graveyard Book, says, “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” That is so true!

The article, Seeking the potential vs the risk, in Huffpost Business says,

Taking risks empowers you to establish new limits in your mind. We all have boundaries or a comfort zone where we’d like to stay and many have misconstrued visions of what we think we deserve or are capable of accomplishing. When you take risks, you can eradicate that thinking, establish new boundaries, improve your outlook on life and your ability to achieve on high levels.

That is what happened to me. I like my comfort zones. In my mind I set limits like “no roller coasters” but when I decided to take risks, I eradicated those old limits and established new boundaries. I decided that I could handle some roller coasters and even an out of control elevator ride. So take some risks. Have some adventures in life. Life is too short to be scared. Helen Keller in her book,  The Open Door says, Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” I prefer to have adventures. You should too.

Someone is Watching You

I regularly receive emails from various websites. Most of them are emails containing inspirational quotes or sayings; basically emails that encourage us to be better human beings. I recently received this one.

Remember that someone is looking up to you now, preparing to follow your example. Let this guide your next choice.

We often think that we are operating in a vacuum, that no one is watching us, that our actions are mostly private. Yet, what if you knew that your every thought, word, and deed today was going to be imitated by one who admires you?

I’ve been pondering on this email for a while now. Being in the teaching profession for 35 years I know unreservedly what being watched is like. Whether we teachers like it or not, we are always being watched by our students and their parents. It is a rare occurrence for me to not be seen by a former student of mine when out in public. It is not unusual to have some young person from the school I taught at in my community to yell out to me with a greeting or to wave at me when I am out and about in the community. It was also common to have a student, when I was still teaching, come up to me and tell me that they saw me in some store or walking on the street, or some such thing. As a teacher, you are always in the public eye. Now I admit, I have always had struggles with this. I sometimes avoided attending community events because of it. It has also given me a much greater compassion for our political leaders, entertainers, sports stars and other people who are even under more scrutiny by the public.

I often think of celebrities and how difficult it must be for them. Not only do random strangers notice them, but many of them are constantly followed by the Paparazzi. There is a reason that LAX is providing a new option for Hollywood celebrities looking to skirt airport paparazzi. The article states LAX is set to approve plans to convert a cargo office into a small new terminal that will allow passengers to drive into a secluded entrance, get screened by the Transportation Security Administration privately and be driven across the airfield straight to the stairs to board their flights.

In August of 2015, Buckingham Palace issued an appeal to world media not to publish unauthorized images of two-year-old Prince George, the elder child of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. He is third in line to succeed his paternal great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, after his paternal grandfather Charles, and his father, William. (see Prince George harassed)

The palace says in recent months, photographers have done such things as used long-range lenses to photograph the Duchess of Cambridge playing with her son in private parks, have monitored the movements of Prince George and his nanny around London parks, as well as observed movements of other household staff, pursued cars leaving family homes, and used other children to draw Prince George into view around playgrounds. Whether people are a member of a Royal family, a Hollywood celebrity, or politician, these people have a right to privacy, although I am certain that they are all very aware that they are in the public eye.

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Scene from Dead Poet’s Society

Over the years I have become more and more aware of how much I was being examined. Sometimes when talking to former students I will ask them what they remember about my classes. I have yet to have a former student tell me it was one of those brilliant lessons (at least I thought so) I had taught. Instead their response to my question is always connected to relationship. Former students would tell me it was most often something I said to a student. I had one former student tell me that it meant the world to him when I told him in school, paraphrased “You’re a lousy student but you are a really nice guy.” He said he appreciated the fact that I still liked him even though he wasn’t the best student. Another student told me that I was one of the teachers that cared; I was one of the teachers that always listened and helped. Now I write this with the risk of sounding vain but the point I am making is that students notice. They notice when you care. They notice when you are kind. They know when you like them or not.

A person does not realize how much they have impacted a student until they receive letters from them. One student wrote, “I haven’t been in this school very long; you were one of my first teachers… During the many classes we had together you made it very enjoyable and you were very understanding when people didn’t have a clue on what you were talking about.” Another student in a “Thank You” card wrote, “Thanks for being a part of my high school career. I know we had our ups and downs, but just know you have made a difference in my life, and every one else’s”. Still another student wrote in a letter, “I would like to start this letter of appreciation to you by saying what a great teacher you are. Whenever I needed help, you would come right over and do your best to help me understand and that goes for the rest of the class too…I feel lucky to be in your classes at school.” My intent here is not to boast but to demonstrate that people notice how you treat them, what you say to them and most importantly your attitudes towards them.

In the 1980s I worked at a summer camp for three years. I was part of a team that planned, organized and implemented the programs. One of the first weeks of camp we did was what was called Counsellors Week. It was the week where we prepared the counsellors for the weeks where they would be working with the 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 year olds. I just went about doing my duties as a team member and being me. I had no idea how much I had impacted this one counsellor until I received a letter from him a number of weeks later. In the letter he told me that he had watched me during Counsellor’s Week, that I inspired him, and that he wanted to eventually be part of the team at camp so he could emulate me. I had no idea that I had such an impact on this young man. To say that I was shocked when I got the letter is an understatement. The point is people are noticing you even when you are not aware of it.

During a parent teacher interview many years ago, I expressed concern to the parents that I had noticed a change in their child.  I was stunned to learn that the reason for this change was due to something I had said to the child; something the young person took offense to. The choices we make affect others whether we’re aware of it or not.

lg-Eyes-OjosSo always remember that someone is likely seeing you, maybe even looking up to you, and preparing to follow your example. Let this guide your next choice.

We are NOT operating in a void where no one is watching us, that our actions are mostly remote. Someone who admires you will reproduce your every thought, your every word, and your every action? Make your next choice with this in mind. Your choices could impact another person for the rest of their lives. That could be positively or negatively. If you are not sure how to be the kind of person that people look up to, check out, How to be a good person that people look up to.

 

Political Bullying

I have always had an interest in politics. I taught social studies in high school for years and would passionately discuss politics with my students and give projects to them when election campaigns were on. I’ve even scrutineered once.  For those of you who don’t know what a scrutineer is, in the British and Canadian systems, a scrutineer is an official examiner of votes in an election. There was even a time when I would have seriously considered running for office. I used to think politicians were honourable people and individuals to be admired for their service. Now don’t get me wrong, there are still a few honourable people who are leaders. However, as I watch the politicking of our neighbours to the south, I begin to wonder if honourable and honest people enter politics anymore.

You’re probably wondering why I say such a thing. I was recently watching some of the analysis on CNN regarding the most recent primaries that are happening in the United States. One of the commentators was discussing the insults that were exchanged between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, two candidates running for the Republican Party nomination for president. Here is an article about what I’m talking about –Us Election 2016. There were insults traded between the two candidates about misspelled tweets, wet trousers, wearing makeup and Trump ridiculing Marco Rubio for his love of drinking water.  Apparently, in a State of the Union response speech in 2013 while on national television Mr. Rubio paused for a sip of water. But what really got me were their exchanges about sweating.

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From BBC.com

According to Business Insider, the exchange apparently happened backstage when they were debating one another. Mr. Rubio insinuated that Trump possibly “wet” himself. “He called me Mr. Meltdown,” Rubio went on to say, “Let me tell you, during one of the breaks — two of the breaks — he went backstage. He was having a meltdown. First he had this little makeup thing, applying makeup around his mustache, because he had one of those sweat mustaches. Then he asked for a full-length mirror. I don’t know why, because the podium goes up to here. Maybe he was making sure his pants weren’t wet. I don’t know.

Trump countered with, “He’s with a pile of makeup putting it on his face, I said Marco, easy with the makeup, you don’t need that much. You know the story with Marco. I watched Marco with this man [Christie]. Where Marco, he was right over here I asked him I said are you okay? He looked like he just came out of a swimming pool. He was a mess.” Anyway, I’m sure you get what I’m talking about.

The first question I have is, Why are they throwing insults when I’m sure the American people want to hear about solutions to the problems the country faces? Donald Trump’s campaign slogan is, “Make America Great Again.” A great slogan I might add. But I seldom hear him telling the American people how he intends to do that. What I typically hear is insults flying and Trump being a bully. The other Republican candidates don’t seem to be a whole lot better. Are these the best candidates that America has to offer, candidates throwing insults at one another? Granted, it might be entertaining, but really it’s bullying. No wonder our society has a bullying problem. When I vote, I vote for those candidates that reflect my values, but even more because they’ve explained what they will do to make their country better.

Canada is not immune to such antics. During the last 2015 Federal Election in Canada, the then reigning Conservative government placed ads in local newspapers and flyers, questioning whether Justin Trudeau, Canada’s current Prime Minister, shares their values. The ads tried to foster fear that a Liberal government would legalize marijuana, “making access easier for kids.” The ad warns there would be legal drug-injection sites in our neighbourhoods and that prostitution would be legalized, “putting brothels in our communities.” The Conservative Party attack ad finishes with, “Those aren’t our values either. Vote for your values.”  They were twisting the truth. Mr. Trudeau did make a campaign promise to legalize marijuana, but he never explicitly said he would legalize prostitution or drug injection sites. That was only Conservative fear mongering.

TrudeauOf course there was the long running television ads attacking Mr. Trudeau’s credibility saying, “He’s just not ready” to be prime minister. The Liberal Party of Canada is also guilty of attack ads. In 2006  then Liberal Party Leader Paul Martin approved a controversial ad suggesting the Tories would post armed soldiers on the streets of Canadian cities. During the last weeks of the campaign, the Liberals resorted to negative ads directed towards the Conservative party, attempting to depict its leader Stephen Harper as an extreme right-wing politician. The most controversial ad said, “Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities. Canadian cities. Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada.”

Chretien_AdHistorically, one that stands out for me was the 1993 Progressive Conservative Party attack on then Liberal leader Jean Chretien, who was elected as Prime Minister that year. The ad showed a picture (on left) of Mr. Chretien saying,”Is this a Prime Minister?” This ad was interpreted as mocking Chretien’s slight deformity and speech impediment that were leftover from a childhood case of Bell’s Palsy.  This is a condition where paralysis of the facial nerves occur, causing muscular weakness in one side of the face. To me, that was a “low blow.” That was “hitting below the belt.”

Why does politics have to be about attacking another’s character? Most people I have talked to express how repugnant this type of politicking is. I’m grateful that Canada’s present Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, did not run any attack ads during the 2015 election and does not resort to bullying to achieve his goals. In fact, in October of 2015 on CTV’s Canada AM Mr. Trudeau said,“I don’t believe in attack ads. I think they hurt your ability to govern and my capacity to stay positive and focused on our platform.” I say kudos to Canada’s Prime Minister. It is time to get back to what I call honourable politicking, where politicians put forth their platforms for making their country great. It’s time to bring honour and respect back to politics.  Time to give us politicians who have creative new ideas, who aren’t bullies, and who want to lead because they want to make a difference in this world. It is a sad state of affairs when the only potential leaders that step forward are bullies who attack their opponents. Enough already!