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Saturday, January 24, 2004

A Girl Named Belinda

A lot is being made of Belinda Stronach's bid for the leadership of the New Conservative Party here in Canada. Belinda, until recently, the CEO of Magna International, the company which her father started, is now trying to forge into politics, something which she has no experience in. The new Conservative Party of Canada is the result of the merger between the Progressive Conservative Party (aka the PCs or "Tories") and the Canadian Alliance Party (which itself evolved from the Reform Party). (To all the non Canadians reading this... Confused? Now you know how we feel.) One of the issues that are being brought against Ms. Stronach which really bothers me is the fact that she is a very rich individual who headed a multi national corporation. Unfortunately, she has seemed to play along with this game by rebutting that she did not grow up in riches but had a "normal" upbringing, as if such a rebuttal means anything to those who would make such a charge. Why is it that wealth, even "extreme" wealth, makes someone unqualified for public office? Does it make them an ineffective leader? Some may respond that the very wealthy are out of touch with the common man, but that is not necessarily the case. Would a person who grew up poor be more effective? I would say, not really. There are plenty of politicians who were not raised in wealth who are out of touch. In short, there is absolutely no reason why Ms. Stronach's wealth should be an issue. Her lack of experience in politics, on the other hand, may be a valid complaint. And that is why I'm betting that Stephen Harper will end up being the new leader.


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