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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The NDP by Chris Bruce

  By Chris Bruce. I first became politically conscious on September 11th, 2011. This is the case for most of my generation - those that didn't keep reading the news from then on still had their first major historical event under their belts. When my father was a child, he remembers hearing about the assassination of JFK, at his uncle Maurice's store on the west coast of Newfoundland. Though I never met his father, I know he would have read the headline "PEACE", twice. 

     As formative events, they show us the cold, painful side of politics that all men and women must endure. It imparts on a person the value of life and, in turn, a sense of enormity with upholding our civic responsibilities. Perhaps it is the formative experience of my life and my families, but I have never shied away from the messy complexities of politics, and never felt beaten by calamity or strife.  While I understand the fear and adjeration many feel, I am reminded of those generations past, and the long arc of our societies history. In the darkest times we should ask most clearly, what can I do for my country?

     That question, before I ever knew it, that drove me this far through life - through both the liberal and green parties, filling out ballots for the Progressive Conservatives (of Danny Williams, you have to understand), and through pages upon pages of credit card records at my local student union. Now I have arrived at the NDP, and it feels like home. 

     Recently, I had the rare pleasure of sitting in on a planning session for Paul Dewar's BC team. Now, I've had my fair share of exposure to politics, and most of the time I see people championing it proudly. At this meeting there was pride, that youthful blustery energy that so many people said age would rob me of, but it was tempered and focused. We need to sign up a lot of people - we need to find community ambassadors - we need for Paul to win the nomination - we needed to pick up 30 seats out west. Where, how, who, and when? We knew our side of the case could be argued well enough, we just needed to find the people willing to listen, and realistically, open the doors to allow more people in. The joy and comfort of a small tent was thrown our with that full sense of enormity; a solemn understanding that what was needed was bigger than any of us, and bigger than any movement that existed in the party to date. 

      We all knew what needed to be done before we sat down at the table, we had all known there was something out there that can be captured in the public imagination for decades. We had all separately found that spot of comfort, and faith in our fellow citizens, that gave us passion and socially progressive values (not to mention, work ethic) that our country needs today. 

     When I hear Paul talk about our country, I see the Canada I thought we lived in as a child more clearly than I have for years. Why can't we have a national prescription drug policy - why does our government need to be so secretive - why does the Federal Government only ever 'balance' the books through pushing costs off to provinces, cities or citizens? 

     When I help Paul, I truly feel like I'm really doing all that my country can ask of me. I would ask of you no more than to ask yourself this question, and follow your heart. 

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