Friday, November 26, 2010

The Art of Political Exodus

Politics is difficult, and many of us can recite all the pat reasons why.

But one of the more understated, personal challenges of politics is having enough individual self-awareness to voluntarily know when it's time to pass the torch. And history has shown that voluntarily dissolving oneself of power is not easily done.

Take a moment and compare the three most recent high profile political exoduses in Canada. If you were a Premier, which of the doors below would you choose?

(Two of these things are certainly not like the other...)

Premier Danny Williams:

"Orson Welles once said that if you want a happy ending, you need to know when to end your story. So I've called you here today to announce the end of my story as the ninth premier of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Williams, 61, later told reporters he's not getting any younger. He said he wanted to leave enough time for his Progressive Conservative party to elect another leader, likely this spring, before a fixed-date election slated for next October.

Premier Gary Doer:

"I thought, if you ever get a chance in this job to go out on your own timing, you'd better take advantage of it. I have watched very good people leave not of their own accord," Doer said.

"I think it's important that you go out on your own terms as an individual but you also go in a way that allows your party to renew and the government to renew and the public to have a renewed sense of energy."

Premier Gordon Campbell:

Campbell told a news conference in Vancouver that his decision was based on the realization that his own unpopularity over the HST was preventing his government from moving forward on anything else in its economic agenda.

“When public debate becomes focused on one person, instead of what is in the best interest of British Columbians, we have lost sight about what is important,” Mr. Campbell told a news conference in Vancouver. “When that happens, it's time for a change."