It takes a certain kind of person to be an MP. You have to:
1) lose your anonymity (at least in your home town)
2) be willing to tell a lot of people about yourself, what you believe in, and what you would do differently if in government
3) believe in yourself and that you can win an election which requires a high level of self-confidence
4) spend time educating yourself about an enormous range of issues
5) be willing to uproot your life and spend half of it in Ottawa
These qualities (confidence, dedication, courage, perseverance) are desirable in everyone, but they are especially important to have in your government representative. However, unless you also have the quality of HUMILITY, you run the risk of believing your own press, of thinking that your way of life is best for everyone, and that you are above the law.
Humility is related to being open-minded about the viewpoints and ideas of others. It’s about wanting to find the best solution, even if it is not your own. This sort of humility and desire for the best solution is a trait that we want to have in the people representing us in government, and the people hired to keep this country running – our public service sector.
I believe that when people in government re-frame how they see themselves in their role as public servants, that this will lead to greater humility and a greater open-mindedness for developing best practices. The idea of serving others is difficult for many. It’s tied to your sense of worth, your class, your dignity. But if you have worked in positions where you have served others, you eventually learn that there is dignity in serving. I have worked in positions of service: retail, housecleaning, food service, administration. There have been times when I have found my duties humiliating, but when I reminded myself that the job I was doing was an important part of the overall system, I retained my dignity and replaced humiliation with humility.
Members of Parliament must remember that they serve the people they represent. I believe in more accountability to constituents and removing caucus-club politics with no consultation with constituents.
What other qualities do you think MPs need to have to be effective in their role? Please leave a comment below.