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The Hype of the Hypocrites:

The Reality of the<br>Political Man
Beryl P. Wajsman January 10, 2002

“I don’t care if they hate me as long as they vote for my brother.”-Robert F. Kennedy

“I served in the way he wanted me to serve.”-Alfonso Gagliano

This is a time for some plain speaking. We in Canada are witnessing the public lynching of one of our most dedicated and effective public servants-The Hon. Alfonso Gagliano. It is a disgrace and it is high time that this hypocrisy stop.

The latest attacks are based not on any allegations of illegality but rather on the chummy,clubby term of “questionable professionalism”. The press,in a gloriouis display of media McCarthyism, has chimed in with demands for everything from resignation to investigation. This is truly an Alice in Wonderland culture---sentence first,trial after.

To whom are any of these actions, if true, questionable?To the good-time Charlies and the sunshine patriots that unfortunately make up the overwhelming majority of our citizenty? To the ivory tower corporate elitists who themselves have abdicated any sense of public purpose long ago and been satisfied with the rape and pillage of the public purse over the funny money stock markets of the past two decades?To the ordinary Joes whose only concerns are hockey rinks,car pools and their quarter acre of land? To the academics who spin idle political theorey never to actively participate themselves? To the journalists who long ago abrogated any sense of investigative reporting and fifth estate responsibility and satisfy themselves like vultures on the feeding frenzy of any scrap of carrion that lands in their voice mail?

Governing is hard.Politics is trench warfare.As Churchill said “Democracy is a highly imperfect system-but it is the best we have”.But democracy takes dedication. Dedication takes sacrifice.We live in a country with one of the lowest rates of active citizen participation in the Western world.Less than one percent of our peopple are active to any degree in any of our national political parties.The Gaglianos of this world are there 24/7.The Gaglianos of this country have given thirty years of their lives to public service.The Gaglianos of this world have made personal sacrifices to assure that our hockey rink dads and car-pool moms can go about their daily lives in peace.

There is a world of difference between those politicians who turn an elegant phrase and those who deliver the goods to their constituents. Alfonso Gagliano has been delivering for thirty years. The attacks on him come not from men in the public arena. Not from any who have sacrificed personally for public service. Not from anyone willing to stand up and face this man on a point of policy or principle. Rather the attacks come by stealth. Innuendo.Two plus two equals five.The attacks come from faceless nests of nightcrawlers who resented his appointment as the first non-francophone political minister from Quebec. The attacks come from those who don’t like his style. The attacks come from those who feel that since he is not to the manor born he is a usurper of power.

The attacks come from the highest ecehlons of our two founding cultures who have never made peace with the “unmeltable ethnics”.The attacks come from those who find it pleasureable and profitable to attack him because his family name is Gagliano.

Canada is not in John Porter”s phrase “the vertical mosaic”.It is not an elegant integration of various cultures and colors. It is a good and gentle land where each new immigrant wave brings with it a diversity and daring that propels every generation to new levels of greatness. But each wave also faces the stubborn cynicism and peculiar prejudices of our founding cultures. The friction between the new and old has always existed and will continue to. Governing this land is difficult.The physical breadth and cultural diversity make consensus impossible but alliances vital. In politics those who understand this propel us forward. Those who don’t keep us stalled at harbor. The Gaglianos of this country make its functioning possible.

The hypocrites,the jealous dandies ,the elitists and the racists,may have their moment but can never be allowed to win the day. The full contributions of this Minister may never be copmpletely understood. In the elegant words of Walter Bagehot this country will forever be dependant on those men who are “…as the hyphen that joins and the buckle that binds…”Because of men like Gagliano his critics have the luxury of ease in their country clubs and press rooms knowing full well, even through their words laced with spite, that though the governance may lack elegance the governing of this land is effective.

Beryl P. Wajsmann

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