Doug Fee and Member of Parliament Bob Mills


Will Conservatives Listen This Time, Or Repeat Past Mistakes?

Edmonton - Wednesday, April 7, 2004 - by: Ron Thornton Marriage, Be It Same Sex, Same Family, Same Harem


While a member of the media, I had the opportunity to meet a great number of people. Some, like former Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament Doug Fee, were very nice individuals who treated me very well. I enjoyed those moments when our paths crossed and Doug and I could chat about politics or whatever else might come to mind. I remember him as being a sharply dressed individual, as even in casual attire Mr. Fee seemed to exude poise and class. There is no question that he has made, and continues to do so, valuable contributions to his community.


In fact, there is not much I could say negative about Doug Fee, other than the fact that once it seemed to me he forgot who he should be listening to. This was understandable, since while I thought that I, along with the rest of the "shareholders" who made up the voters in his area, should have his ear, Doug thought more of the views of a chap named Brian Mulroney. I mean, who would you want to base your course on, the thoughts of some chump from the local television station or those of the Prime Minister of Canada? Still, I thought he was making a mistake and told him so. Unfortunately for this good man, he managed only 16% of the vote in his 1993 re-election bid. If only Doug had listened to his constituents more, and his Prime Minister less.


There are people who do continue to listen to us rubes out in the wilderness, or at least go through the motions. Doug's successor in Parliament, Bob Mills, still does, even though he and I have seen things differently from time to time. It is a measure of an individual who still shows some interest in those who might, at times, be considered a royal pain in the backside. Even the likes of Abraham Lincoln demonstrated this trait..


Recently, I shared some views with the 300 or so folks I communicate with every few weeks on my mailing list in regards to Stephen Harper's selection as Conservative leader. Somehow I triggered the receipt function on my e-mail and it was interesting to note who accepted my ramblings and who deleted them without a glance.


While I did not receive notification that I had officially been dubbed as "spam" by any of the ordinary folks on my list, there were four radio stations that were not interested. Actually, one was a news director I respect and, when I wrote to ask him as to why, he explained that while he liked them a lot,
"I stopped reading them rather than run the risk of inadvertently using your ideas in my own editorials."
  Best rejection letter I've every received.


Meanwhile, I failed to win over a pair of political scientists in Montreal, as I failed to do with either Anne McLellan or her new Liberal mate Keith Martin, though Martin once did back when I was defending his fetish with the parliamentary mace.


Now, I don't expect everyone to hinge on my every word, though it would be nice if more around my household did, but that is another matter. I have been very fortunate in that area, as my career in the media also allowed me past opportunities to editorialise for a couple of small newspapers and was sponsored to do so on the radio. However, not everyone gets the chance to be heard, or to get the feeling that others consider their thoughts as being of value.


It is nice when you see that someone does. Someone is the office of Bob Mills did. Same with Stephen Harper's office. For that matter, someone even brought my thoughts up on the screen of a computer for Conservative Party president Don Plett. Even Timothy W. Shire continues to subject himself to my ramblings, as witnessed here again.
  This was not the case with 34 members of the Conservative caucus, all former Alliance MP's, where my comments were deleted without opening. I hope they give you and their constituents more consideration. For some reason, I was reminded of Doug Fee, but then, at least Doug allowed me the chance to state my case, even if we disagreed on the eventual course of action. There are many lessons for federal Conservatives to have learned and mulled over since they last tasted power, such as listening more and dictating less. My hope is that they have learned enough to not make the same mistakes when that privilege returns.


Ron Thornton




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