I take exception with MP Ted Falk’s response regarding his decision to not participate in the Pride March in Steinbach published in June 23 Southeast Journal newspaper, “… be respectful and not create divisions in our community over any person’s individual choice …”
Did I miss something along the way? Mr. Falk was elected in a Federal election to the House of Commons of Canada. His voice and vote in parliament has the potential to change lives. The lives changed may be citizens of this country or peoples in foreign lands.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate the organizers of the Pride March were not asking Ted the co-owner of a heavy construction company to attend the parade. Nor were they asking the past President and Board Chair of the Steinbach Credit Union to participate. They asked the MP of the riding of Provencher to join them at the event.
I was not privy to the discussions between parade organizers and the MP’s office. If the MP was unable to attend the parade, was there some other way he could have participated? According to his comment, “Even without a scheduling conflict, my decision to not attend would be the same.” I suspect not.
Do soldiers get to decide on their participation if parliament chooses to put the country’s armed forces in harms way? What if the soldiers faith, family and community oppose what is being asked of the individual? I seem to recall MP’s are the people that can call a country’s military to action.
When negotiations were held with Nelson Mandela to end apartheid rule in South Africa, one of the fears the white minority had was the reprisals from the black majority for all the wrongs done to them while the whites held power.
After spending 27 years in prison for his actions against the state, maybe Mandela had a little comeuppance he wanted to dish out for standing up for his beliefs. Mandela was a leader in his political role. He realized the devastation to the country the division would cause if he condoned the action and worked both sides of the conflict to prevent it from happening.
I have been in situations where I have had to choose to vote my conscience or vote in the best interest of the people I represent. I have chosen the latter. To satiate my personal beliefs, I threw away the pen used in the signing of the agreement.
Ted Falk was faced with making a choice of supporting a group that didn’t align with his personal beliefs. To suggest the organizers are creating division by calling him to task for his decision, is an attempt by Falk to deflect the understanding that he made a personal not professional or tolerant choice.
Those who asked for his help are fortunate that stoning people to death for their transgression is overlooked from some books. The MP from Provencher failed in my opinion, to do what I believe elected officials are supposed to do, support those disenfranchised when they called on his office.
If his individual choice was in conflict with his lack of humanity, he had the option to step down as an MP. Falk’s decision was self serving and not serving a part of a community that elected him.
Although Michael Ignatieff represented a political party that is out of line with the member from Provencher beliefs, this quote attributed to Mr. Ignatieff offers some insight for Mr. Falk, “To imagine Canada as a citizen requires that you enter into the mind of someone who does not believe what you believe or share what matters to you.”