I walked into the room. I observed more people than I anticipated would be there. I was encouraged. I looked for my buddy Robb, President of the Kingston and the Islands Green Party. I looked for Fred and Ruth, two new friends I met in the pub while listening to the Gertrude’s on Thursday eve. I looked for Claire and Alex. I looked to see if there were any people that I meet at the National Farmers Union/CETA meeting on Tuesday eve past. I looked to see if there were others from work or city life or those whom I have bumped into at the market or at Sipps. I looked for my leaders.
On Saturday (April 14, 2012) at 3pm I attended a climate change discussion/forum with MP Stephane Dion and past leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, MP for Kingston and the Islands, Ted Hsu and Professor John Smol.
We spent the first bit of time allowing each speaker share for approx 10 minutes. We than moved into questions (which I sometimes label the comment section).
This is where I struggle. I know that I’m going to post this blog to my facebook site. I know that I’m going to post this blog to my twitter site. I know that my fellow citizens are going to read it. I’m torn because I deeply care about people. I deeply care about making sure that I speak of the value of people and never, ever demean someone. I also though, believe that, sometimes it is important that we call out the leaders we have elected to be the ones to provide the context and the direction for moving forward – in essence – leadership.
I am a leader. I’m also a learner and someone who keeps getting better. I don’t have it all figured out and if I act like I do, than please hit me over the head or call me out.
Here’s the crux of what bothered me and what is causing me much reflection and evoking a response of other questions.
Notwithstanding that we can have another conversation around systems, if we like them/don’t like. If they are broken/need fixing. If they are evil/good, this conversation is around leadership and those we elected into leadership roles.
I was so upset to see that only one City of Kingston Councilor attended this forum. If you were in my head space (probably safer that you are not) you would hear me move between “it is a Saturday afternoon and people have lives” to “this is a huge issue, these are City Councilors AND we, the City of Kingston, are trying to be the most sustainable City in Canada – so where they heck are my leaders”……
And this is what I come to.
It is a privilege to be elected a leader. It costs something (time, energy, re-prioritization of activities). I can’t say that it’s okay that out of a council of thirteen (13) elected City Councilors only one shows up. I value the person, but I’m not impressed with inaction. There is so much human capital in this room (said when I was actually sitting in the room) that can be cultivated and purposed, and, if nothing else, just show up to hear what we have to say – just show up to listen.
I hear the facilitator ask us what we can do. I hear responses from people who care. I reflect on the fact that i don't want our striving, and coming together to be in vain. I consider that part of the answer to the question is accountability. It is about accountability to the position that one has been given, by the people in their community. It is about using that position to maximize the human capital for good, for the long term so that we do not find ourselves out of time.
I'm a smart young woman. I pay attention to current events. I try to learn about those areas of public service in which I don't naturally soak up. I don't know if I retained even half of the information - the numbers and stats - that were presented at the forum. BUT, I can tell you that I did retain the human capital present. I did retain the passion and desire that my fellow citizens have for wanting to be good stewards of this breathtaking bouncing ball we call home. I did retain that there is the potential to change the world. And, I'm just really sad that my elected leaders didn't get that same opportunity to feel it and hear it and than be moved to translate those feelings and those sentiments into action.