It is important to sit down before you read this column.
If you are holding a glass object, remove it from your hands. Do not operate heavy equipment or drive a vehicle when reading the following. Safety is of primary importance.
Okay, here we go
The federal Tories did a good thing. That’s correct. It may appear delusional, but there is agreement.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper got it right when he withdrew his proposal to change the words to the national anthem last week.
Whew. That feels much better.
It was hard to believe amongst all the threats of belt-tightening, economic stimulus, tax cuts for the corporations, the federal government wanted to take time to fix a grave injustice within our national song. It appears a few words in a single line suggest we are a country of sexist pigs.
The lyrics of O Canada include: “true patriot love in all thy sons command”.
The idea was to go back to the original lines from the poem written in 1908 by Stanley Weir: “True patriot love thou dost in us command.”
Some of the more critical media were quick to point out the government flip-flopped on this critical issue of national significance. Yet, this callous view did not take into account that governments, just like everyday people, can change their minds.
Look, this was a serious attempt to address an injustice against women in Canada. Every time we stand up and belt out our glorious national anthem we were putting down nearly half the population. This was serious. No doubt Northumberland MP Rick Norlock was losing sleep. At least that what the Prime Minister’s Office was telling him to say, if he was asked.
And, with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, the timing was perfect. Of course, it demonstrates the ongoing commitment by this government to issues facing women.
Forget that successive governments that failed to bring equality to the Canadian workplace through pay equity. And day care funding is a huge waste of time and money, so there is no need to create a national daycare strategy or fund additional spaces to help working families and single mothers cope.
Let’s face it, Canada’s minister of state of the status of women can’t be bothered by such trivial pursuits. Helena Guergis is extremely busy. Just ask airport security works in Prince Edward Island. Why, when she was rushing to catch a flight only a few short weeks ago, she took time to scream (I mean tell) at them how busy she is “ working my ass off for you people.”
But, the rest of the country just did not understand. The outcry over the proposed changes show how many people are upset. So, reaching into its populous root, the Tories decided it was time to listen to the people of Canada. Thus, the decision to back off was announced late last week after only three days.
Politicians can take a home some great lessons from all this.
First, they should not be afraid to admit when they are wrong. And, it is important to step back, change your minds, flip-flop (or whatever you want to call it). Too many are plain bull-headed.
Second, listen to the people. That is what democracy is all about. That is until it interferes with party ideology or positioning the party to win the next election.
Now, if we could just get the Tories to do this more often, we might actually have a government that works.
So, there you go. The Tories did something right and it is worth writing about.