At this point there is no person waiting at the gates to inspire Canadians. I think, given different circumstances, Martin would be a good enough. During the debate, when asked of a particular vision of Canada in 50 years he gave the answer closest to what I wanted to hear. Harper, clearly, had not thought about it.
It may be a few years, but I firmly believe that our next "Trudeau" will in fact be a Trudeau. Love or hate PET, he had vision and charisma and incidentally was a close and dear friend of Castro as well.
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems,
but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort".
I agree Martin shows flashes - in his international speeches and if his blood gets up but the humour and gentleness over the steel and passion is missing. There is this eye flicker and nervousness that surfaces at times ......as if his tie is too tight.
What he says as vision I like. How he gets it across is sometimes flawed and there is just this hint of a haunted look that takes away from the spoken passion.
In the documentary when Fidel met with Muhamed Ali you could see in him the bit of nervousness that Ali inspires even in joking around.
I met Ali for a couple of minutes in Chicago and the size of his hands are just incredible. Fidel ( who is not a small man ) looked just the way I felt when in the presence of a truly powerful BIG human. There was just this trace of trepidation Fidel showed and it is endearing. Ali's hands in particular are just so big and powerful and his physical presence is soooooo intimidating yet it's contrasted with this warm humour and twinkle in his eye. He KNOWS his impact on you and plays it up just a bit.
It's that ability to show humanity, humour and human fraility yet still evincing strength at the same time. To genuinely hug another person and show conviction and ease of manner that I admire in inspiring leaders. Tony Blair has some elements of it.
FDR had it in spades and likely much due to his polio. ( Warm Springs is a terrific movie on this ).
Thinking about this I'd actually prefer to see debates with the participants seated at a table - I think the standing position introduces an unneeded tension and stiffness.
These debates are in effect interviews of leaders for a job and good interviews, as Larry King and other pros know are not done standing up.
I think it changes the dynamic between the viewers and those in the debate.
There is too much "called up on the carpet" in the current format and I think that invokes some of the stiffness.
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An incredibly important issue. We have a lot of politicians, but few leaders. They seem to react to events not from conviction, making it appear that editorials and opinion polls are building policy. they rarely initiate powerful moves forward.
Where is the blend of a clear vision, mission and intelect to carry us forward?
My wife used to work for Mandela. She speaks of his utter humility and steely strength. He has a core set of values that never waver. They are applied to everything he does. Yet he has the power to compromise without playing games. He had a clear vision of what South Africa, and indeed southern Africa, could become.
I wonder how much this has to do with the individuals, and how much with the state of Canada.
By almost any measure Canada is incredibly successful. Sure there are negatives, but most of the world's population would be happy in a place like this. So there is no sense of crisis to show the real character of weak leaders and bring strong ones forward.
In the absence of crisis there can be a sense of vision. It can be tough to get this across in Canada - the population seems a little sensitive when faced with too much passion. Yet it can be done, by a natural communicator who has something truly worth communicating.
I rarely see Canada taking the lead in international events, or even when reacting doing so with a swift, sure foot. There seems to be a sense of wait and see which way the wind is blowing. Leaders with conviction know how to handle events because they are guided by core values. That same leadership is lacking in domestic affairs. We may not be facing a short term threat or crisis, but there are long term issues and opportunities requiring leadership.
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"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little." Tom Stoppard
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader".
Who, with real ability, intellect and desire would want that thankless miserable job?
The overwhelming majority of Canadians simply don't give a damn, provided the gravy train keeps running. This appalling apathy to-wards our government, our politicians and their rhetoric will not encourage anyone with true leadership skills to come forward. The government is run by the beaurocrats and the influential jobs there go to the party faithful. In the event we were fortunate to get an inspired leader the raodblocks he/she would face are virtually impossible to surmount.
The problem is that the first job of a politico, under our present massively overweighted system is to get re-elected. In order to accomplish that you have to continue to spend widely and hire those who helped get you elected.
I believe there have to be people in Canada, who are strong leaders, but why would they want to serve those who are unwilling to change anything, moan and groan about everything, unwilling to leave their homes to vote and IMHO undeserving.
We seem to get exactly what we deserve in our governments time and again because we are generally undemanding of quality leadership, unwilling to accept any real change, unwilling to make any effort to participate in order to effect any change. Our media does nothing to inspire our population to demand more, it simply rides the news selling wave.
Hell I'm gonna vote green they can't be any worse, at least they believe in something!
Sorry if this rant is slightly off topic.
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I backed up today (LaCies' SilverKeeper)....have you?
Maybe we could offer Clinton Canadian citizenship when he comes here in the spring on his speaking tour. The date in Saskatoon sold out in 5 hours - at an average price of $100+ a ticket - that must say something about how we think about him.
I met Ed Broadbent in 1988 when he was here in St.John's. I always regretted his not having a chance to be PM. If he was the leader of the NDP now, I would run for them in St.John's East.
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"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read these books." Mark Twain
I do think it is important to have, not only an inspiring leader, but a group of inspiring leaders. When any one person assumes - or is given - that role, inevitably human frailties lead to a diminishment of their impact... at least these days. The historical figures of Fidel and Mandela have stayed true to course, each suffering their differing trials by fire but with a focus upon the ultimate objective of justice for their peoples, they have come through.
I and a fellow researcher put together a 1-hour film on Cuba's role in Angola, and its impact on the independence of Namibia and the fall of Apartheid. This winter I'm doing the re-edit for further distribution on the springtime.
MacDoc, I know what you mean about Mandela - his close friendship with Fidel (who he calls a 'brother') is one of those aspects of his character that is downplayed or never mentioned, at least in North American circles. Kind of like Martin Luther King's socialist leanings - how many people have ever heard his speeches on the exploitation of labour in America (and not just Black labour)?
But I think, returning to the issue of inspiring Canadians, that the process should not be one that is a search for "someone" to lead us. We need to actively work as a society to inspire one another to <b>contribute to our own damn country</b>! Where is the citizenship? The sense of community? The willingness to <b>give</b> to your neighbourhood, your town or city, your country? Are we teaching our youth to care about those things?
...and even if we are able, in the formative years, to instill a sense of pride and civic service in our people, does the system (individualism, consumerism, partisan politics, etc.) just beat it out of them?
I'm not optimistic that North American society will be able to achieve a sense of justice in the everyday lives of its citizens. People are too distracted - by the need to provide for their families / themselves, by the cultivated desire to have <b>things</b> as opposed to <b>values</b> and <b>relationships</b>, by the disillusionment and apathy that comes from our woefully inadequate political system (not just the mechanics of it, but the aforementioned civic education of its citizens, who are vote-casters and reactors, rather than participants in the political processes which govern our lives).