William Lyon Mackenzie King once said “A true man does not only stand up for himself, he stands up for those that do not have the ability to”, and for 23 years, Mackenzie King stood up for an entire nation. Now, during May 19th’s By-election, the New
Democratic Party has taken over power for the Toronto-Danforth riding for the
last 8 consecutive years. A by-election was called in this downtown riding due
to the death of NDP leader Jack Layton: the new representative being Craig
Scott. But is Craig Scott the best possible man for the job? Mackenzie King was
noted as one of Canada’s best leaders, so why not find a man best suited for
this new City Councilor job, by looking into the past.
To date, Canada’s most loved political leaders have all been, well, bizarre. William
Lyon Mackenzie King held séances in his home, was obsessed with numerology (the
study of numbers), and had a dog in place of a wife. He was said to be partially
insane, and although few people knew of his strange personal life, everyone
knew his role in politics. This is the man who led Canada through World War II,
established unemployment insurance, old age pensions, welfare, and the family allowance. Celebrities to date that hold similar personal lives include Criss “Mindfreak” Angel (for séances), and Marilyn Manson (numerology). Perhaps I speak for more than my community that I wouldn’t let either celebrity run our country.
Canada’s arguably second most beloved leader was Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Trudeau
established the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, endorsed Lester
Pearson’s Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and introduced
Canada’s “Multiculturalism Policy”. This is the same man who completed a
pirouette behind Queen Elizabeth the 2nd at a G7 Summit Conference,
came to a meeting in the House of Commons wearing sandals, and dated numerous
celebrities. Trudeau has all of these actions to a degree with provocative
actor Sacha Baron- Cohen. Sorry Borat, but I don’t think Canada is the right
place for you to govern.
Perhaps the spunk runs in the family, but son of Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau is known for swearing in the House of Commons, had a brief career as a boxer, and actor,
playing a soldier in a CBC mini series.
Justin Trudeau’s actions have gotten him into trouble in parliament, but
have made him one of the most talked about politicians in the last year.
A Toronto resident, Natalie Fingerhut, laughed saying
Justin Trudeau is “the most stupid and outrageous politician in parliament. Yet
somehow I respect him for it. I feel like he’s standing up for me, even if he’s
calling someone a s***head”.
When it comes to a community leader, most of the residences seem to want a “responsible”, “reliable”, “accountable” and “inspirational” leader. After speaking to
numerous households in the riding, none defined their idealistic leader as
“mentally unstable”, “flamboyant”, and “eccentric”. So what makes a good
leader? Toronto-Danforth residence Korie Bluege says she wants a city councilor
who “holds the same values as [herself], and has a similar visions of the
future”. Although I doubt Korie endorses pirouettes and séances, her favourite Prime Minister to date is Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
Less loved, but definitely crazy, was Mayor Mel Lastman. Founder of a furniture company (with potentially the most irritating of slogans), he placed moose sculptures scattered across Toronto, allegedly sold a refrigerator to an Eskimo, and called in the army to remove snow. Mind you, this psychotic man developed the Yonge-Sheppard area, kept property taxes at a minimum, and worked together with left-leaning councilors Jack Layton and Olivia Chow.
So why are we Canadians drawn to unhinged candidates? According to recent polls,
the NDP’s Craig Scott takes the lead for the Toronto-Danforth riding, despite
his lack of rogue stunts. None of the current runners have been as bold as Canada’s most loved. So is it coincidence that most of our successful leaders have been eccentric? I decided to get right to the source. MP Olivia Chow, and NDP leader
says she “doesn’t think an outrageous stunt will help [Craig Scott] in the
election. People like to hear the refrigerator and Eskimo stories, but I don’t
believe it can ensure you votes”. Ironically, her favourite Prime Minister was Mackenzie King. Chow also claims she “doesn’t support séances or human-like relationships with
Scottish-Terriers”. Although insanity may not get you the vote, the insanity
may just bring you the nerves to try anything until success arises. T.S Elliot
defines success as the “risk of going too far to discover just how far you can
really go.” Success will not present
itself to you unless you are bold enough to earn it. If you have the nerve to
dance behind the Queen of England, you have my vote.