Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Leadership Races and my sons

I am glad I encouraged Daniel and Ben to join parties and vote in the leadership races.     It is making them think about politics in general and what their personal views are in specific.

Daniel, who is 16 now, will be able to vote in the next provincial election.   If he does not start paying attention to politics now, how will he be able to make a decision in May 2013?   Knowing Daniel well I know he would not vote in the next provincial election if he did not think he knew enough to make an informed decision.   Taking part now in the Liberal leadership race means he is taking the time to understand the policies and platforms of the candidates running for the leadership.  

At the moment Daniel is most likely going to vote for Mike de Jong.   This is in part because he met him but primarily because Daniel likes where he stands on expanding the openness of government and lowering the voting age.

If I could, I would take Daniel to the Kevin Falcon meet and greet tomorrow morning here in town, but the timing is not great for him because it is not early enough to have him get there before school.   I am not supporting Kevin Falcon, but ultimately I do not want to be too much of an influence on Daniel and I want him to make up his mind for his own reasons.   Daniel can not escape the fact that he has been living with me all is life and dinner table talk is often about what is in this week's Economist.

Ben, age 13 and in grade 8, is beginning to understand how much he needs to know to be able to make a decision he is comfortable with.   He joined the NDP so he has two more months to learn and understand who he wants to support and why.   Ben had found out that one of his friends at school is also a member of the NDP so the two of them are talking about the leadership race.

Paul Ramsey has sent Ben and email offered to answer and questions he has.  I am impressed to see this.  I am also happy because I want Ben to make up his own mind.   There a huge number of traditional policies of the NDP that I simply think are wrong, but I am keeping my mouth shut or trying to explain why the NDP supports certain policies.   I am honestly trying to make the case for why government owned enterprises make any sense, this one is really, really hard for me to make without editorializing.

Ben has raised one new issue that is important to him.   He does not think the current model of how we teach our youth makes much sense.   He thinks there has to be some better way of doing it than 30 kids in a class with a teacher at the blackboard.   I will get him express what he is thinking and post it.

Wednesday Ben will be having lunch with John Horgan at the legislature.  Ben is trying to read enough and get a good enough idea of where John is coming from that he can ask questions that will let him learn more about John and the NDP.

My ultimate goal is that these two races will work as a major civics lesson for both boys.   I am hoping that after this they will develop a life long engagement in politics.   I do not need to see them be active in political parties, but I would like them to be active in their knowledge and actions about our political process and how they can affect change that matters to them.
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