‘Compassion knows no ideological bounds’ is true. Not all ideologues have compassion is equally true. It is a truth that needs to be impressed on the voting public. About thirty years ago I first participated in a brainstorming session and later led several other sessions to develop a list of ‘the five most desirable human qualities’. All groups, with not much in common, surprisingly came up with the exact same list. One, I remember, insisted on adding a sixth. Try it in your classes.
I have written and talked about this phenomenon many times since. In the context of elections, I have advocated the choice of candidates that demonstrate as many of the five qualities, which apparently serve as society’s common values, as can be determined regardless of party label. I believe that would produce the very best electoral result.
In more than fifty years actively involved in politics, I have observed and known several politicians of all stripes that satisfy that scrutiny, starting with Stanley Knowles, Stephen Lewis – who is still walking the talk, both New Democrats, Tom Wells who held three portfolios in William Davis’ Progressive Conservative governments, Dr. Reginald Stackhouse and Lincoln Alexander, long-ago Conservative members of parliament and Liberal MPP Alvin Curling. I once interviewed an Alliance MP (from Alberta) and asked him if he had met anyone in Ottawa of another party who impressed him in this regard. He immediately named Liberal MP Derek Lee. I knew Mr. Lee many years ago and am happy to include him.
Besides compassion, another essential quality which made every list and which was apparent in those named above was ‘integrity’, surely an essential quality for any politician. I leave it to you to complete the list and then add your voice to the proposition that possession of these qualities in a candidate is far more important than a party nomination.
(The sixth human quality added by one group was ‘a sense of humour’.)
— E-mail from Canmore AB