11 July 2005

On Losing One Of The Good Ones

      The unfortunate passing of Independent MP Chuck Cadman on the weekend causes this blog to reflect upon how rare a man he was, especially in this disgustingly partisan age.    As a man with strongly Conservative leanings (he was so before he was oustered for his own party's nomination), he not only fought back, he WON his riding solely on character-- by more than twice the votes of even his closest rival. He was also not afraid to do as his constituents told him. Tory MPs dismissed him as a cheap pollster-MP, but they were wrong, very wrong. This was a man who saw himself-- genuinely-- as a representative of those that elected him, and he will go down as one of those few Members of Parliament whose integrity will not be questioned, in large part because he obeyed his constituents not just against the ebbs and flows of shifts of power, but against his own health.    The man, after all, defied his own doctor's orders to attend a vote -- the one which maintained the current Liberal government-- in service of his constituents, the plurality of whom did NOT want what they determined to be a premature election. It matters little which side of that debate you were on: he came out, at risk to his own health, and did the will of those he represented, and he did so, obviously, without a prospect of personal gain.    And because he brooked no offers (soliciting nothing from the ever-gift-giving Prime Minister, unlike jaunty Belinda), he did what he did as a matter of conscience and duty. But this was Cadman: he did politics with a rare nobility that almost gives one pause for hope.    He'll be sorely missed.   

      Mr. Cadman: I hope you have another decent jam with Jimi-- and, more importantly, a reunion with the son you so sadly lost, but whose loss determined both your character, and your sense of what was in fact just.    As much as anyone, Good Sir, you were Canada, at least as it was meant to be: noble, a little shaggy, but committed to the truly important things.    In this latest fiasco, you were the conscience of a nation that is used to being, or pretending to being, the conscience of the world, but which couldn't bring itself to behave that way.    Where your nation was lost, you were not, and to that, we are clearly in your debt.    Not for voting one way or another, but for reminding us that an honest man can still, and should, make a difference.    You did, but more for this country's political soul than for the loss or maintenance of a government.    And we thank you for that.

      Rest in peace, Good Sir.

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