When It Comes to Explaining Politics,
Just Give Me Sex

Edmonton - Monday, December 16, 2002 - by: Ron Thornton

to sons how

There are certain talks that most parents dread, feeling ill-prepared to explain the intimate details to their growing bambinos. My sons are in grade 3, so I do try to put things to them in terms they might better understand. For example, I might tell them that our government needed some money to put together a program that might keep bad people from having guns, even though the program won't really be able to do that. Still, the government thought it would be worth doing as the price would only be two dollars. Instead, we have recently discovered that it has cost us over a thousand dollars and will end up costing us more and more each year. Being rather bright lads, they would probably think the program was dumb. Imagine if I told them that instead of a thousand dollars, it is really going to cost us a billion.



why are

The birds and the bees are going to be a picnic compared to the subject of policy and politics. I can imagine telling them that the most popular political party in western Canada is the Canadian Alliance. I could tell them that since that party, and its Reform predecessor, was formed, it has elected 172 Members of Parliament from the West in the three general elections since 1993. I could tell them that in spite of that, there are those who think that party will never form government. I could then tell them that the Liberals, the party that has formed Canada's government for much of our nation's history, needed fifteen general elections since 1953 in order to elect 171, or one less western Member of Parliament. I'm afraid they might wonder why those Liberals get to tell us what to do when the people here don't seem to like them all that much. I would have to tell them that more and more of us out here are wondering the same thing.




They might ask if the Liberals then are the next favorite in the West, being as they are so popular elsewhere in the country. I would have to tell them that in the West, we have liked parties like the Progressive Conservatives and even the New Democratic Party. In fact, I would mention that the NDP has won 75 more western seats in general elections since 1953 than the Liberals have. That might prompt them to ask, as they have won more seats in the west than the Liberals, if anyone thinks the NDP will ever form government. I would have to tell them "no", no doubt leaving them more confused. So much for those talks about democracy in action and representative government.




They might ask if the Progressive Conservative party ever formed government. "Yes," I would tell them, but after Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister they no longer are very popular in the West, even though that party still thinks it will form government again. My boys might ask how many PC's were elected to Parliament over the last three general elections in the West, and I would tell them "three." We would discuss the importance of winning in Ontario in order to form government in our country, with its 103 seats up for grabs. I would add how the Liberals have won about a hundred of those seats in each of the past three elections. They might ask me as to how many Ontario seats the Canadian Alliance won. I would tell them that during the course of the last three general elections, they have won three. They might nod knowingly. That might then prompt them to ask as to how many Progressive Conservatives Members of Parliament were elected in the past three general elections in Ontario, and I would tell them "one." They might be left to wondering as to how the PC's might think they could ever form government. I would have to tell them that I'm just as bewildered.



ethics and

Just imagine the conversation in regards to Kyoto, an Accord our federally government is committed to but not really, or so they tell us. I could tell them how the premier they once met was going to fight for Albertans, who once thought all this talk about climatic change was dubious science, but who's opposition to this nonsense is now melting faster than a snowman in July. I can tell them about socialist health care that hopes to prevent them from paying money in order to shorten the time they have to wait to see just how badly they might be sick. I can tell them about politicians who ask that we blindly trust them, only for us to later discover we paid way too much for things that will accomplish far too little, with no one accountable and no one taking any responsibility. Any dialogue in regards to ethics and morals in government might make for a very short conversation other than to examine what might have, or should have, been. It probably wouldn't take our boys long to realize that the lessons my wife and I are teaching them, while hopefully guiding them to become fine human beings, are probably undermining any political aspirations they might eventually harbour.




No, my sons are going to learn all about sex with a discussion here at home. I think it far easier to explain how babies, rather than public policies, are made. As for the subject of politics, that is something I'm going to leave for them to learn from their peers out on the playground. There are some topics we parents find as being just too darn uncomfortable to talk about.


Ron Thornton




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