UPDATE: Link to the post added.
I just posted an abridged version of a recent speech by Chuck Strahl (Conservative MP for Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon British Columbia, and Minister of Agriculture and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board). It was a speech to Trinity Western University. He was this year’s speaker for their famed annual Mel Smith Lecture Series.
I liked the speech and asked if I could post it here at PTBC in an abridged form, and Mr, Strahl obliged us. I didn’t take too much out because it was all good. Chuck Strahl is known to be a kind-hearted guy with a great sense of humour—no wonder he shares a pad in Ottawa with the also good-natured Monte Solberg (Minister of Human Resources and Social Development —and great blogger when not in cabinet!).
There’s lots of nice, good thoughts and ideas in it, but so that I don’t blow the whole message for you, let me just call out one nugget for you conservatives who want to encourage other conservatives and help them know they are doing the right thing:
…You would not believe the impact that your comments can have on someone who is out on the edge, taking a stand on a tough issue. In fact, your comments might just make the difference as to whether or not a politician continues to stand and be counted.
I remember several years ago when the debate on the definition of marriage was in the provincial realm, and a local MLA had taken a stand – against his own party – defending the traditional definition of marriage. I’m almost reluctant to use this as an example, because (you have to believe me) I do not get up every morning focusing on the definition of marriage, but it’s perhaps the best example I have so I’m going to use it.
Anyway, right after the vote I was speaking at a church, and I was talking about communicating with your politicians. I suggested that for Christians, it was important to not simply get hold of them when you were venting your spleen, but also to encourage them from time to time when they actually do something you agree with. And I asked the question, “how many of you wrote a letter or email to our local MLA, thanking him for standing up for something you believe in”. This was a big church, maybe 7-800 people in attendance. I had spoken with the the MLA so I knew the answer. Not one person there had written a note to say thanks for standing up for what we believe. Not one person.
Let me assure you, I hear from MPs all the time who tell me that “such and such is a huge issue – I’m being inundated in my office”. Boy that sounds serious, I say, how many people? Coupla thousand? Several hundred? Often the answer is well, maybe a dozen people phoned in. A dozen!
You know what a difference it makes in your work, attitude and life when someone takes the time to tell you that they appreciate what you’re doing. Politicians are like anyone else, so please, remember to encourage people along the way when they take a stand that you agree with, whether that’s at work, in the home, or in public life…