Saturday, May 3, 2008

Stupid & Busy: The Last Fighting Liberal Bites The Dust

I don't blame him but I wish it weren't so:

Dr. Keith Martin got into politics 15 years ago because he thought he could accomplish more as an MP than as a doctor. He had a fulfilling career as an emergency room physician and GP but figured he could make a bigger difference helping shape policy in the House of Commons.

However, the 48-year-old British Columbian MP, who has been re-elected five times under various parties, has decided the next election will be his last. He is fed up with the parliamentary system and is disillusioned by how hard it is to get anything done in Ottawa.

"One of the great myths with respect to this job is how much ability an individual MP has to influence what goes on," he said in an interview at his office. He likened most MPs to "mice on the treadmill running as fast as they can, going absolutely nowhere."

He said the parliamentary system is designed to keep MPs "stupid and busy" and added he is frustrated by how much taxpayer money is wasted on MPs working long days accomplishing very little on behalf of their constituents.

There are two kinds of MPs in Canada (and the observation likely extends to all liberal democracies). On the one hand, there are those who entered politics with a vision of doing good. This type is quite easy to recognize since they're invariably miserable. On the other hand, there are those who entered politics for power and, sadly, these are the ones that flourish. Democratic politics is an absolutely thankless profession and the only ones who aren't burnt up by it are "pragmatists" who hold power as their highest value.

Dr. Keith Martin was a passionate defender of free speech and the best the Liberal Party of Canada had to offer. He'll be sorely missed but, tragically, probably more by right-wingers than by Liberals.

H/t Joanne

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