Leadership in a dark place.

For three days in a row, this blog wanted to explain crisis management in less than 500 words. It cannot be done. It is not only a very complex subject but it still requires leadership. Without leadership, the political ship drifts in the shoals, an easy target for the land-bound detractors and sceptics. In the City of Toronto, at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa, we are in a dark place and there is little succour in sight.

In Toronto, the city’s warring forces are in full cry. You have the Fords with their vacillating right wing, the militant left with their sometimes camp followers and the rampaging news media, all confusing the public. What is today’s truth is fleeting and stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode. And where is the leadership? What leadership?

They take a survey and tell us that if Olivia Chow runs against Rob Ford, all will be corrected and the sun will shine once more on city hall. And those who know Olivia Chow’s record at city hall are wondering where this sudden leadership is to come from?

The ownership of Toronto’s problems belongs at Queen’s Park. The problem is that the Ontario government is like a bear beset with dogs set on bringing it down. And the dogs will eventually win. Leadership at Queen’s Park is a compromise on top of a deal made by strange bedfellows. Premier Wynne has had her chance to be a new broom, a fresh face and a new direction. She stalled and can hardly fight on all the fronts facing her administration. That takes leadership.

And then there is Ottawa. This is Canada’s compromise in leadership. It took Stephen Harper’s Conservatives three elections, attack ads and robocalls to get a majority. We already knew how bad a leader he could be. We were offered no alternative. He could only pass Michael Ignatieff by destroying him. And Jack Layton was just another pawn.

The new Liberal leadership in Ottawa is a glimmer and still in the chrysalis stage. It has yet to take wing. The need in this country is for a leadership of change, a leadership of challenge and excitement. It can happen in an open party, a party that accepts its responsibilities for policies, new candidates, funding and new structures. It can happen in a party that says to Canadians that the options are open to the type of country we all want. It takes leadership to make that happen. The potential is there. It will take all of us to make it happen.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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