Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Leadership into the next decade

Like many people around the world, Canadians have been suffering for several months with a nagging chronic condition… The condition is Obama-envy, and the flare-up will be induced by the visit of the new President on Feb. 19. G&M

I understands the US looms large as the direct neighbour of Canada, the glare must be powerful as it constantly blinds Canadians to the realities of the rest of the word. I would hold the above assertion from Michael Adams is president of the Environics group of companies is demonstrably erroneous, at least for “many people around the world”.

Just look at your Australian cousins, more delighted that Obama, between the expected razzle dazzle of an election, is following the Kevin Rudd 'no drama' model; just quietly getting on with the job. PM Rudd is decidedly white and equally colourless politically, which suits Aussies just fine.

I personally long or those days when politicians had a fire in their bellies, but just coming out of thirty odd years of conservative politics of fear, entering a consequent economic readjustment, most people don’t want a daily diet of shock politics, they want our leaders to just do their jobs and fix the problems.

Doubtless many of us are thankful for Obama, but that is because our own national economies are tied to global trends and subject to the decisions made in Washington to a great degree. We just want our leaders to get on with the process of recovery without fanfare or fuss.


Rather than political theatrics we are increasingly choosing technocrats, leaders like Ignatieff in fact. But Canada is still stuck with Harper and the legacy of conservatism, albeit as a minority. I concede that is depressing but I doubt it will see the year out, and I doubt Canada wants an all singing all dancing political leadership.

Remember Harper took over a Conservative Party cobbled together from the bits and bobs of an historically splintered right, then shed any part of that with a semblance of policy direction, starting with the admittedly loathsome religious right. Overall, however, policy direction is not big on the conservative agenda.

Having gained the baton of leadership Harper then sought to secure it with rigid party discipline and a one man ministry. As Harpers star steadily wanes he has effectively left the ‘party’ bereft of serious leadership candidates. Without any effective voice the most promising, such as the treacherous technocrat David Emerson, were simply bored out of the game.

Other aspirants like the hapless walking accident Peter McKay, left to their own device with time on their hands, managed to foul their own aspirational nests. Ignatieff’s Liberals need only focus now on capturing the high ground with quiet, calm development of solutions the party and the country can wear.

Like Rudd and Obama Ignatieff needs to build a narrative on pragmatic solutions, fluid policies to be sure but 'outcomes driven' directions. I suspect, from observation of the Rudd government, there is a wide latitude for error as the global mess changes the dynamics at a rapid rate.

The media still try to beat up a story out of misfires, but the ‘no dramas’ approach by Rudd and now Obama is happily accepted by the wider community. It is common knowledge that we are in uncharted waters and navigation is problematic. But it remains doubly problematic for the likes of Harper who is potentially seen as part of the problem, not the solution.

So don’t be envious Canada, start aiming for your own Canadian flavoured solution to global impacts. You don’t want or need larger than life leaders, just hard working and focused leaders.


enigma4ever said...

I think I have Rudd envy...LOL...seriously I saw him today being interviewed about the Fires...and it was so amazing- a man with true soul and depth....you all should be proud....

btw I hope you are okay...the fires are horrific...really stunning....

I will post Obama's presser from tonight- as soon as I can find it...he is still fighting hard for the People.

best to you friend...hugs.

Cart said...

Ali, I'm just delighted the bits are starting to fall into place.
I haven't heard Rudd talking about the fires, just footage of him hugging those victims he was meeting.

For me the fires are a long way away and threaten emotional overload. I do care but avoid too much coverage. There is still a lot of bad news to come out.