"You must be very happy right now", read the text.
And as I read it I couldn't help but think how wrong the sender was, as I was not very happy at all. The text had arrived from a friend, hard on the heels of the announcement from our local MP indicating his resignation as our representative effective January 17. I was far from happy. I was accepting of the decision, of course, and not even particularly surprised as I had known and felt for some time that it was likely coming. I wasn't happy, but I wasn't disappointed, either - I was just resigned, too.
I want to make something very clear: I have never had anything against Mr. Jean as an individual. On the occasions I met him he seemed intelligent and well spoken, charming and without a doubt someone who has strong family ties and personal investment in our community. It was no secret that I despised his tree-killing paper newsletters, both for their waste of paper and their content that was often of little value to me, but I knew those newsletters were likely not his own idea. And it was no secret that I often disagreed with his political views, but again I am quite far left of centre in this province, and I make no bones about the fact that I was raised in NDP-era Saskatchewan, with a strong left lean in all I think and believe. I was predisposed to never agree with much of his political view. But I never doubted that he believed in this community and in this region, and while I worried about his representation of us in Ottawa all I truly wanted was to see him grow in his role and improve our position on the federal stage, as we had elected him to do.
That was cut short today when he resigned, a move that came as a surprise to many but not to me. His recent erratic behaviour on social media concerned me, including a near-argument he engaged in with my own Intrepid Junior Blogger. I couldn't determine the strategy or the concept that was guiding this social media use, and it puzzled me. It still does, to be honest, but I am also resigned to simply accepting that, too.
You see, I believe what we need in Ottawa is strong representation. I want someone who is willing to fight tooth and nail for us, to get backed up against a wall and come out swinging, to refuse to back down or accept less than what we need or deserve. We are facing some challenges in this region, and some crucial decisions. We are at a time of great opportunity, and great potential - and yet there is great possibility for us to falter, too, and we need the kind of representatives who will ensure our needs are heard and our challenges addressed. We need strength, and good judgment, and wisdom. We need a strong voice. I had once hoped that Mr. Jean would be that voice, but for whatever reason it appears he won't be, at least not in the future, and so we are now in the position where we are hiring a new voice - because that is essentially what we will be doing, you see. We will be voting to hire a new employee, one who will represent us, our needs, and our concerns. And frankly we need to find one helluva rock star employee for this position, and I hope we will be able to do it soon, because we cannot afford to be without representation for long.
Mr. Jean, this may or may not come as a surprise on a day full of them, but I want to thank you personally. I recognize that we did not always agree, and that some days I challenged you to step up and do a better job. While on occasion I doubted the strength of your representation and your political view I never doubted your love for your community, and I never doubted that you were sacrificing a great deal to represent us, because politics is not an easy job, despite what anyone says. I know that you faced many challenges, including people like me barking at your heels, and I want to thank you for your years of service to us, and to my family. Your contribution has been acknowledged, and is appreciated by me (and even by the very left leaning Intrepid Junior Blogger).
And to this region I now say this: who will apply for the job? Who has what it takes to be our new federal representative, with a strong voice, courage, and a will of steel? Who is willing to make the sacrifices required, and bring their very best to a difficult job every single day? Time will only tell as we begin to see names tossed around and eventually a few names on a ballot - but today I choose instead to think about the future with hope and optimism, as we search for a new voice. We are now hiring.
And just for the record if they send me a damn paper newsletter after they are elected it's game on.