Category Archives: Politics

Forgiveness is hard for me sometimes…

      I am a self-professed bleeding heart. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and I consider myself the queen of second chances. But I admit to having a hard time forgiving Wes McLean.

     This week the 31-year-old Victoria-Tobique MLA pleaded guilty to impaired driving.  He was fined $2,300 and was banned from operating any motor vehicle for a year.  He apologized to his family, friends and constituents and was remorseful in his acceptance of punishment.Image

     The charge stemmed from an incident last February. Police pulled McLean over in Edmunston. He was driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. This wasn’t just an extra beer. McLean was drunk. This is where my forgiveness gets a little fuzzy.

     Yes, he’s human. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he made a mistake and he’s really sorry.  But three times the legal limit isn’t a small lapse in judgment. To me, his decision to drive that day shows McLean has a huge character flaw – one that still astonishes me. At the age of 31, McLean is part of a generation (my generation) that has grown up in a time where drinking and driving was NEVER something deemed acceptable.He’s had a lifetime of MADD Canada ads, SAFE Grad events, and media bombardment of the serious dangers of drinking and driving.Image

     Yet, on a cold February day, after obviously having too many drinks, McLean, a member of our Legislative Assembly, a man who people in this region trusted and voted for, opened the door to his car, sat inside, put a key in the ignition and drove when he was in no shape to. McLean SHOULD have known better – and he didn’t. And that scares me.

     In my years as a reporter, I sat through multiple trials where THIS specific moment of stupidity and thoughtlessness has meant lives were irrevocably changed. People were killed, families were scarred, and those who caused this pain, while remorseful, were never truly able to make up for the life or lives they took.

     After hearing of McLean’s arrest I remember thinking “WHY BOTHER!!”  Seriously, think about it. If a young man like Wes McLean can make such an error in judgment – a man who, by all indications, follows media, knows the difference between right and wrong, has gained the trust of people, and had years of exposure to anti-drinking and driving campaigns – it makes me question where we’ve gone wrong?

     What have we not done that we should have?  What more should we do to convey the horrors – drinking and driving is serious – it kills – it is against the law – you should NEVER do this? It is when I try and answer these questions that I come to the conclusion that Wes McLean should not be forgiven easily.

     The fact is we HAVE done a lot – as a society we have educated our children, we’ve provided incentives through changes in court sentencing maximums to help deter people from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.  I think MADD Canada, high school anti-drinking ‘PARTY’ programs; SAFE grad events, media campaigns and law enforcement spot checks have been SPOT ON. These initiatives are making a difference.

     This is why I believe Wes McLean’s decision to get behind the wheel is more than just a mistake and shouldn’t be forgiven easily.

     I hope the government continues to exclude him from his legislative duties until his driving prohibition is completed. I hope that McLean continues to have to work and work hard to regain the trust of his constituents. I pray that this isn’t just a small ‘bump’ in his road – that his journey to forgiveness is arduous path.

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Photo credit: pcnb.ca

     His arrest, his record, and his punishment must be used as an example. We can’t be quick to forgive just because he’s young. In this case I believe we must make him work hard to regain our trust BECAUSE he is young – because he should have known better- because he was educated, because he was exposed to media campaigns, and provided with ample information to understand the consequences and, despite all of this, he STILL chose to get behind the wheel of the car.

      I’m not saying I will never forgive Wes McLean, but it will take a while. I firmly believe that when these kinds of mistakes are made – serious errors in judgment by educated people in positions of trust – the road to redemption SHOULD be a rocky one.

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Political gloves are off….

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I told local party organizers I was in – willing to help with the next campaign. There I did it. I can’t believe after spending most of my life in the role of ‘non-partisan’ that I’ve openly chosen sides. Well, Mr. Harper, I can thank your track record for that life changing moment. All my life I’ve been objective to a fault, given people the benefit of the doubt – but no longer. Federally, I’m Liberal – provincially I don’t think I can pick because there is too much sameness to provincial politics. Federally, it’s day and night (and dusk).

Today I watched the Conservatives roll out their first attack ad. Less than 24 hours after Trudeau is elected leader of the party, it begins.

Well played, Mr. Harper …. well, not really – not for you – but well played for ‘us’.

You see, Canadians are tired of the negative crap – and that’s the nicest way I can say it – because that’s what it is – crap. I’m so very tired of feeling like I don’t mean anything to you, Mr. Harper. I teach my kids not to bully, yet what I see your party do on national television goes against all I teach them. Talk about leading by example. Why do you not realize, Mr. Harper, that in becoming the ‘parent’ to Canadians (dictating what we can and cannot do, telling us of your decisions without consulting), you have failed in one of the most important parenting jobs – being a role model.

So I did it – I joined the Federal Liberal Party. I voted for Justin Trudeau last week. I vowed I would no longer sit idly by.

I sat by long enough as a journalist, as a journalism instructor, as someone who needed to prove impartiality. With the journalism program winding down this June, and with the political landscape as messed up as it is, I really and truly can’t sit on the sidelines any longer.

When I saw the attack ad today I was floored. There’s also a website called ‘Justin is Way Over His Head’. Wow…wonder what the ads and the website cost the conservatives….aside from their credibility?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Trudeau isn’t perfect, but he’ll create a team and lead the country WITH A TEAM – unlike Mr. Harper, who leads by himself and lets his caucus know what’s going on AFTER he’s made up his mind. No, you are right, Mr. Harper: Trudeau cannot run a country on his own because YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO RUN A COUNTRY ON YOUR OWN.

You are supposed to build a team, create dialogue and lead WITH a group of people from across the country WHO HAVE BEEN ELECTED BY CANADIANS TO GOVERN ON THEIR BEHALF. That’s true leadership, and that’s what I want – check that – that’s what I NEED.

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