This post was written in response to a number of articles and posts that attacked the ‘discriminatory’ nominations policy of the provincial NDP that requires a constituency to seek a non able bodied white male candidate for the nomination in a seat currently held by the NDP. Called the ‘Equity Policy’ of the NDP, it’s meant to ensure the legislature has the benefit of MLAs who come from backgrounds and life experiences that are more representative of the population than the traditionally selected able bodied white males. The attack from local white males, their supporters and some in the media is meant to unseat
the policy and reinstate the status quo…
My how times have changed.
When I was young and learning how we care for one another, my grandmother taught me that those of us who ‘can’ are expected to do for those of us who ‘cannot’. She did that in many ways, but the most telling was on the city bus. If I was in a seat I was expected to offer it to someone who was older, weaker, carrying a load, or less able to stand than I was. There were times when she stood beside me.
These days they reserve seats for folk in those categories, but when they’re all filled, I see folk standing for folk who cannot. I see that in many ways, on the bus, in offerings of help to people who are hungry and homeless, in voices raised for a living wage, in concern for refugees, in those who identify and speak out against racism and homophobia. In those who want freedom of religion, and those who want freedom from it. Voices raised by those who can, service offered to those who cannot. It is good to see my grandmother’s teachings still living in our culture.
We see it even in electoral politics. One party has adopted a policy asking those who can stand for office and easily take the day to stand aside and offer their full support to those who could not otherwise stand and take a place of membership in the councils of governance. Those who are socially privileged standing, making way, and offering their strength to the less privileged so that we might all benefit from the wisdom they have earned and won in hard fought lives.
I am not a member of that party, but I am very pleased to see them live out my grandmother’s wisdom in this way. It is true that some are worried, and some do not have the strength to see it through. Some fear the other parties will field only their smoothest, best spoken and physically strongest candidates. The others will not allow a place to those chosen and supported by that party.
Well, I guess that’s a valid fear. But in giving in to it, they forget the rest of us. We’ve been governed by the strongest possible people for a very long time and, for the most part, we’ve gotten legislation that’s very good for strong people in the prime of their lives. I think we’re ready for a government that knows what it is like to need a seat on the bus and is willing to help create a world where the strong take their place in support of those whose gifts need their strength to thrive.
I certainly am.