Taking my seat: Where are our leaders?

We need to hold our leaders to higher standards

Former Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown.
Credit: 
Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky

It’s 2018 and I’m waiting for our political leaders to step up.

Why is it every day that we hear about a new scandal or problem? Why do we hear so often about the celebrities we idolize, the leaders of the free world and the leaders in our own backyard in a negative light? I find, comparatively, when we relate our problems to those of the United States, they seem smaller. However, it’s clear the systemic problems in politics are alive and well and provincial politics is no exception.

Was anyone surprised by the Patrick Brown scandal?

To quickly recap: The former Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader was accused by two women of sexual misconduct. While he first denied the allegations, he later resigned from his position.

It seems as though — at least in my circles — the assault and harassment allegations against Brown were kept an open secret. Similar to the Weinstein scandal, people knew and simply chose not to talk about it.

On Sunday evening, Ontario PC party President Rick Dykstra resigned after new sexual assault allegations against him came to light.

The way this can be avoided in the future is to start holding our leaders to the highest standards. Our politicians should be some of the best and most diverse people in society in order to represent the diversity of our province and country. After all, who we choose to represent us is in our hands. But that also as millennials, we need to get to the polls.

We need to redefine our perception of politicians. The Ontario Conservatives have decided to allow Conservative members to vote for their new provincial leader in March before the election in June. This vote could completely change the provincial race.

After any scandal, the message for political parties should be about unity. From now until the vote for the new Conservative leader in March, the Ontario PCs need to focus on uniting and strengthening their party.

The Brown scandal could sink party morale or it could serve as a means to unify the party, a means to unify against perpetrators of sexual violence, a means to support survivors and a means to refocus their message going into what I think will be a tough election in June.

Politicians don’t have to be slimy or sneaky. In fact, most politicians are in the positions they are because they genuinely want to help Canadians.  

As the Canadians they’re helping, it’s our job to hold them accountable and ensure they advocate for means to unite within and across party lines. If the Conservatives are to be successful in June this is the message they need to convey. 

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