There is an old phrase which states…”singing from the same songsheet.” It basically means “to have the sameunderstanding of something as someone else; to say the same things aboutsomething as other people, especially in public. That way, we’ll all be singing from the samesongsheet before we begin.” For example, “make sure everyone fromthe campaign is singingfrom the same songsheet before we release any kind of statement to the press.”
In the world of politics, it is important that leaders and members of a given political party adhere to the same issues, policies, positions, beliefs, other words “sing from the same songsheet” as it relates to the party platform.
The other type is position issues, which are issues on which a candidate will take a position that generally is markedly different than his or her opponent. These tend to be more partisan issues such as human rights, abortion, etc. They are often found in a party’s platform.
The Conservative Party of Canada is presently seeking a new leader to be elected in May 2017. There are fourteen candidates vying for the position of leader, each with their own “issues.”
Issues raised by candidates may be “mundane” or “controversial.” The controversial issues tend to be the ones that make the “headline news” and are at the forefront of people’s minds. Looking at the present leadership race, and the positions taken by the various candidates, one cannot help but look at the more “contentious” issues.
It is my intent to examine one of the most “talked” about issues of the race, that of a “unified Canadian identity” presented by candidate Kellie Leitch. To ensure such an “identity” is upheld, Ms. Leitch has proposed to vet newcomers for anti-Canadian values. She states that this “has everything to do with promoting tolerance and respect — and nothing to do with…stoking divisions.”
It is without question, that Kellie Leitch has been referred to as “controversial.” She is very outspoken, yet articulate. One soon knows where she stands on issues upon hearing her in public forums. She sincerely believes that her vision for Canada can only benefit Canadians.
Is Kellie Leitch “progressive” or “regressive” as it relates to political issues?” Perhaps, as it relates to “anti-Canadian values,” one could make a case that this approach is “regressive.” Many of her opponents have used a plethora of words which could be substituted for the word “regressive.”
In fact, I would have to say that Kellie Leitch is “progressive” in her approach. Ensuring that newcomers to this country fully understand, and intend to uphold, Canadian values is certainly “progressive.” Keeping the status quo would be “regressive,” but then it fulfills a criteria politicians adhere to…”political correctness.” Do not touch the immigration laws, policies, in the event that someone may end up being offended. This type of attitude, or view, only enforces our own insecurities, rather than dealing with so-called “sensitive issues” dead on.
It is within the context of the political sphere that such issues need to be raised, discussedand challenged. And this is precisely what Ms. Leitch is doing, using the Leadership race to put forth her views, opinions and positions on matters important to the Canadian electorate. The same could be said about her position on the CBC and Aboriginal affairs. Let her position be known and let it be debated. Being “Regressive” only stifles discussion. Whereas, being “Progressive” stimulates discussion.
Here is the “challenge” Kellie Leitch faces. How knowledgeable is the electorate (including her own opponents) with respect to her “unified Canadian identity.” What are the “values” Canadians adhere to within this country? In order to fully debate such issues one must have a basic understanding of the issue and the position of the candidate.