July 10, 2017

All Great Politicians Have This Quality

If there’s one characteristic that successful entrepreneurs have in common, it’s persistence. Good consultants are those who listen before advising. Successful lawyers tend to have strong communications skills. Exceptional business people are great with numbers.

A few years ago, I asked my father, former politician John Crosbie, “What quality makes for good politicians?” He had a long career in politics working at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Many – indeed most – people who followed his politics would call him a successful politician. He immediately responded, “The ability to resist pressure”.

A politician is the centre of multiple games of tug of war. There may be pressure from opposing groups within a constituency, along with pressure on the cabinet portfolio from lobby groups. He or she may have to choose between conflicting local and provincial interests. He or she may have to choose between voting according to party loyalty and voting according to conscience. Regardless of intentions, a politician is also subject to financial constraint.

There was a segment on CBC News recently involving my father and his decision to close the cod fishery in 1992. It was the biggest mass lay-off in Canadian history, causing about 40,000 people to lose their livelihood. He faced severe criticism at the time. The fishermen interviewed said that, in retrospect, implementing the moratorium was the right decision even though it created enormous difficulty for them and their families.

My father resisted a great deal of pressure to keep the cod fishery open. He knew it would cost him in popularity, but he also knew it was the right thing to do.

Some might say that the ability to resist pressure is what politicians today are lacking. Dwight Ball decided to close libraries in the province last year. When faced with backlash, he changed his mind. I’m not saying it’s a good idea to close libraries. I am saying you have to make careful, decisive decisions, and stick to them. You have to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.

The theme of my “Connect with Crosbie” exploratory campaign is No-BS Politics. If I decide to run for Leader of the PC Party, members will know what I stand for. If I’m elected Leader, it will be with a mandate to do what I said I’ll do. Lucky for me I’m good at resisting pressure.

If you want to learn more about No-BS Politics, sign up on my website to stay in touch.You’ll get the inside scoop about my opinions and plans, giving you the opportunity to get to know me and decide for yourself if I’d make a good PC Leader.