With letters comes condemnation

Editors, the Gauntlet,

Re: “Daddy’s work comes first for Catherine, Sept. 28, 2000

Recently, an article was published in the Gauntlet about the Right Honourable Joe Clark and his daughter Catherine Clark. Throughout the piece, various innuendoes were presented to the reader that suggested Catherine Clark is nothing but a pretty face lacking any substance. Ms. Clark is university educated and had been working in the communications field up until she took time off to help her father re-enter public life.

To suggest that Mr. Clark is using her for political gain is the height of ignorance. What child would not support their parent’s dreams and aspirations, especially when those good intentions are for the benefit of all Canada? There is no need to resort to personal attacks. Argue the merits of ideas instead.

While I make no secret that I am a devoted member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, even I know that when it comes to dealing with members of other political parties, respectful discourse is not only the minimum, but it is also the rule. Without respect, we can have no rational debate on matters of importance, and at the end of the day, democracy suffers.

In light of the passing of the Right Honourable P.E. Trudeau, I will share these fitting words from Justin Trudeau’s eulogy:

“At eight, I was becoming politically aware. I recognized one whom I knew to be one of my father’s chief rivals. Thinking of pleasing my father, I told a joke about him–a generic, silly little grade school thing. My father looked at me sternly with that look I would learn to know so well, and said, ‘Justin, never attack the individual. We can be in total disagreement with someone without denigrating them as a consequence.’

“He stood up and took me by the hand and brought me over to introduce me to this man. He was a nice man who was eating there with his daughter, a nice-looking blonde girl a little younger than I was. He spoke to me in a friendly manner for a bit and it was at that point that I understood that having opinions that are different from those of another does not preclude one being deserving of respect as an individual.”

Politics is about raising the bar on the debate. To degenerate the discussion of ideas to personal attacks upon the family of a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of a better Canada is futile. We cannot have the kind of country we want, and deserve, when respect is ignored.

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