We just posted this on Facebook, and wanted to share it here, too.
Hours after the last shots have died away, parliamentarians and staff are still in lockdown, out of an abundance of concern for safety and security.
It will end, of course, and there will be tears and relief tonight. But can we hope that there will also be a renewed appreciation for the women and men who bring Canadian democracy – imperfect as it is – to life?
From Members of Parliament and their staff, to the employees of the House of Commons, Senate and Library, to the security guards who came so readily to their defence this morning: all of these people make sacrifices large and small so that Canadians from all walks of life can have some say in our government, and some voice in our country’s future.
It has become an article of faith for some commentators that anybody involved in politics has their nose in the trough, that they’re only in this to line their pockets, that it’s a game to them and nothing else. And that narrative certainly serves anyone who wants to see the public sector and all it does wither away.
But it isn’t true. Of course there are corrupt individuals, mixed motives and bad behaviour. But as anyone knows who has worked with those seeking elected office, and those they employ, there are an overwhelming number of people in public life with a passionate desire to build a better, fairer society. The stress on their families can be enormous; the incessant criticism and personal attacks can be corrosive; the knowledge that progress is all too often incremental can be discouraging. And today, add to that list the threat of physical danger.
We are proud that we work with good, decent people who take on tough, challenging jobs. And we are proud to know that, once the dust settles from today’s horrors, they’ll be back on the job: in Parliament, in provincial and territorial legislatures, in city and town councils and on school boards across the country.
Let’s hope that the chorus attacking civic engagement can still its voices for just a little while. And let’s offer some appreciation for the honest work of democratic representation.