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Red Deer Advocate - Letters to the Editor
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In praise of an honest politician

Friends, as I began to draft this article it became apparent that I needed a clear, semantical distinction between the words “career” and “vocation.”

My iPhone dictionary defines “career” as: “An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a persons life and with opportunities for progress.” It is based on the Latin word “carrus” or “wheeled vehicle” and suggests a personal conveyance.

It defines “vocation” as: “A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.” It is based on the Latin word “vocare” or “to call” and suggests being identified for a life of particular duty.

Very important to see the difference here! The connotation of the word “career” seems to be primarily self serving while the connotation of the word “vocation” suggests serving others.

Have you noticed that in the varied arenas of life, some people excel due to a persistent and committed drive (or calling) with average skill or ability while others with tremendous ability or natural talent, have been known to languish for apparent lack of commitment or inspiration. In the political realm, it seems obvious that the public would benefit more from the efforts of a vocational rather than a career politician.

Nigel Farage, the very popular UKIP leader in Great Britain, points out that their current Parliament is full of people who have made politics more of an academically-driven career than a public service-driven vocation. When their career goes bad, their politics goes bad too.

Remember when Parliament was full of large characters on both sides of the house? Pearson, Diefenbaker, Martin, the list goes on and on of people of great accomplishment. People who demonstrated a high level of commitment and function in their respective vocations even before engaging in the (at that time) well-respected world of politics.

Right here in Central Alberta we have an example of at least one vocational politician.

Blaine Calkins is one of the roster of MPs who operates with a philosophical commitment to his constituents and out of respect for the people who elected him, does not promise impossibilities. He has a working man’s credo and he does not expect to be carried along on the backs of his constituents. He speaks of his opponents with generosity and grace and does not engage in the currently popular ad hominem discourse.

He readily states that as long as his family enjoys the benefits of his efforts, he will continue to serve the public but makes it clearly understood that “family is most important.”

I have come to know him personally and can confidently say that he is one of the elected public servants of the old, blue-collar tradition who values academic accomplishment but insists the technical and practical credentials of our population be recognized as well.

In little more than a year, we will be called upon to cast our votes in a general election. I believe the stakes are higher than they have ever been. I am alarmed at the insidious promotion of foreign values under the guise of multiculturalism and the strident voices of special-interest groups who take advantage of our nation’s accommodating attitude and weak defence of our traditional values and culture. What a shame to have to use the word “defence” in this context and in this time in our history.

The best defence they say is offence and I have lived long enough to appreciate the veracity of that axiom. Let’s therefore use the time available to consider the best people and the best plan for our country. Let’s not elect any more media-conscious, career legislators who are more influenced by emotional rhetoric than by our old Western qualities of reason, compassion, guts and good old common sense.

Don Ahlquist

Gull Lake

 
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