Keith Beardsley’s View From the Hill – And they are off! – March 25, 2011

Ottawa ON – Today Canadians found out that we are facing yet another election, the fourth in seven years. The next six weeks will be filled with the cut and thrust of politics, claims and counter claims, essentially the good, the bad and the ugly of politics. And when the last vote is counted, political life and the staff and politicians in Ottawa who contribute to it will change.

Careers will come to an abrupt end for both staff and elected officials. Regardless of their party affiliation top notch people will suffer defeat, staff who often put in horrendous hours of work (many working seven days a week) will see their efforts vanish as voters have the final say in who gets elected to serve at their pleasure until the next election.

Fortunately every election also brings renewal. New soon to be “rising stars” get elected. The various caucuses get reenergized as new voices with new ideas arrive, often resulting in new policies and directions for each of our parties. And after this election there will almost certainly be a least one new leader, if not more once the dust settles.

Having spent as long as I did in politics and having been fortunate enough to contribute  in one way or another to some 12 election campaigns, I have a great deal of admiration for those who run for public office. It doesn’t matter what party they represent, they are putting their careers on the line, their family life on hold and their future in jeopardy for the opportunity to serve Canadians. That is indeed a worthwhile endeavour and speaks to their determination to make Canada a better place to live.

Today, political staff are scattering all over the country as they depart to join various campaign teams, many for one reason or another will not return. But each one has made a contribution to their country that years from now they can reflect on and be proud of their moment, no matter how brief here in Ottawa. And while they may have been strong partisans here, they will also find that when they meet other former staff or MPs, there is a special camaraderie between those that served here in Ottawa that crosses party lines.

Regardless of party affiliation I wish them all well. Let the games begin

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

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