I must admit, I had high hopes for politics in Canada. After being exposed to the politics we have in the Philippines, it is no wonder that you do not see a lot of Filipino-Canadians running for office here or any other part of the world. We have been jaded with the whole idea of honest politics (I know, this is an oxymoron) ever since any of us, young or seasoned, were born. When we moved to Canada, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the helm, my idea of Canadian politics was one of a gentlemanly engagement of war. I pictured how wars were carried out prior to the World Wars, when armies set forth an attack based on rules of engagement, until the last few steps when chaos ensues, and it’s every man for himself. Over the last few months, however, my hopes for Canadian politics died a natural death of trust.
Officially, the Metro Vancouver mayors not running for re-election include Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, Surrey mayor Linda Hepner, North Vancouver mayor Darrell Mussatto, District North Vancouver mayor Richard Walton, White Rock mayor Wayne Baldwin, Maple Ridge mayor Nicole Read, Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore, Delta mayor Lois Jackson, and Langley mayor Ted Schaffer. While most of them have kept the title “honourable” truly esteemable and forthright, others have smeared their initially good reputation through questionable dealings such as the building of the LRT that nobody wanted, and the unfortunate real estate fiasco that people of Vancouver and subsequent generations will pay for. My naive self had always believed because we are all comfortably living within our means in Canada, and a political position isn’t really one of a prestigious job, but one of pure unselfish service to the citizens, imagine my disappointment when these things happened. The whole world of honest politics crashed before my eyes, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pronouncements and behaviors were not helping me either.
Last week, Councillor Hector Bremner was dropped like a hot potato by his party, the Non-Partisan Association or NPA. His rejection shows the party lacks transparency, is stuck in an old boys’ room mentality and anti-immigrant bias. Bremner was successful at signing up 2,000 additional members to the party, so it is questionable why there would be any “major concerns” the party had with him. Speculations have come up that Bremner was backed by a large immigrant population, which caused concern for the party. Whether it is true or not, that could be NPA’s downfall, because they have to figure out how they could reject a large population of voters, who are immigrants and non-white, and give it as a reason for sacking Bremner. As it currently stands, they still do not have a concrete answer for his removal, and Bremner has asked them to come out publicly with their misgivings.
Politics never shaves off its real scales, unfortunately, and I had to find this out the hard way. I have convinced myself that if you really want to serve the people in a genuine manner, you really don’t need to enter politics. There are so many ways to offer your help, and volunteerism is very much alive in Canada. This is what I admire about this country and its people – we are never in short supply of volunteers. While those volunteers don’t have a political position, they give their best and their hearts to serving others.
Politics is like a bad meal or awful movie, where you spend your good money on something you realize was worthless in the end. Why some people still find themselves involved with it a mystery to me, and I commend them for their gumption; however, true service does not require acknowledgement or prestige, much more an honorific such as “honourable”. That title is earned, not elected.