Skip to main content

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FRANK LEONARD -- For those who are newly-elected and enjoying new friendships I offer this observation: it is still politics

“There are no friends in politics” I replied to the radio talk show host as I was asked about my public tussle with a colleague in local government.  My inside voice had escaped and I immediately regretted saying it.  Not that I didn’t believe it; I just didn’t want the cold-hearted ruthless side of ‘Political Frank’ to be revealed to the voting public.

When asked why I entered politics I often have a throwaway line about my ‘flawed DNA’ but there may be some truth to it.  Certainly, my grade five friend seemed devastated when I pulled off a coup for book club president during recess.  Years later I felt blindsided when a high school chum ran against me for class president – particularly when he won.  Part of my DNA makes me run for positions within organizations I’m in, even against my friends.

When you’re in elected office you make lots of new friends.  This is no different than other workplaces, community groups or even the neighbourhood where you live.  Yet there is something about ‘political friends’ that is different: quite often you need to be realistic; sometimes you even need to watch your back.

Perhaps the starkest moment was when a member of our social circle – someone that we had drinks with after meetings or at a conference - was an opponent in a provincial election.

We arrived at a regional debate and shared pleasantries before taking our seats.  As my friend spoke at the podium, she soon turned and pointed at me exclaiming that ‘right wing demagogues’ must be defeated.  I gasped but gathered myself by letting my inside voice remind me about ‘political friends.’

For those who are newly-elected and enjoying new friendships I offer this observation: it is still politics. 

I’ve made some wonderful friends along the way: a Fraser Valley Mayor rejoiced at my provincial appointment, immediately put on tour of her community and sent me home with an ‘agricultural gift basket’ for my young son; a Cariboo Director insists we stay at his lake cabin when I have some work in his area; and a Peace River colleague invites friends to join us for dinner at her home when we’re up that way.

Yet at the same time, if there is an issue, an opportunity or a vote to be taken ... politics will prevail.

And now I’m at an age that I learn of the passing of friends, including those from my political life.  Sometimes you realize that last time you had seen them was at a meeting – yet it was years ago.  Without a meeting to go to, you simply weren’t connecting.

Obviously, that is when you forget about any rivalries – and wish you’d gone beyond politics and touched base. 

Good lesson no matter what your vocation.

Frank Leonard served roles as a Councillor and Mayor of Saanich -- and Chair of the Police Board from 1986 to 2014. He chaired the Municipal Finance Authority of BC, was President of the UBCM, and while in business, served as a Director of the BC Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.


  1. Husky Energy lays off undisclosed number of employees

    Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. says it has laid off an undisclosed number of employees.

    “Today we did have to say goodbye to some of our colleagues,” Husky spokeswoman Kim Guttormson said in an email Tuesday.

    “These changes put Husky in the best position to achieve its goals. This was about changing the way we approach our business, the way we make decisions and the way we work together to meet our goals.”

    On Tuesday, laid-off workers trickled out of the door of Husky headquarters in downtown Calgary, while other employees stood huddled at the back of the building, clutching letters.

    When Ms. Guttormson was asked whether the layoffs had anything to do with Monday’s election result, she said the company works “constructively with all governments in the jurisdictions where we operate.”

    She noted at Husky’s May Investor Day, executives discussed a reduced capital plan and long-range plan. “We’ve been taking steps to better align the organization and workforce with that capital plan and strategy.”

    Like other Canadian oil and gas companies, Husky has been affected by a lack of pipeline access to oil markets. Earlier this year the company said it would slow its capital spending on western Canadian projects over the next five years to allow downstream capacity to catch up with oil production as pipeline constraints continue to impede the industry’s ability to get oil out of Canada.

    Husky, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing, also announced earlier this month that it would sell its refinery in Prince George, B.C., to Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure for $215-million in cash.

    Ms. Guttormson would not disclose the number of jobs affected. At the end of 2018, Husky had 5,157 permanent employees.

    With a file from Emma Graney


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

It seems the call for blood donors is being responded to, however ... “This effort is a marathon, not a sprint” says Canadian Blood Services

A week and a half ago I wrote the commentary ... “ While the national inventory is currently strong, an increase in blood donor cancellations is a warning sign of potential challenges to maintaining a health inventory of blood ” It was written as a result of talk about a potential blood shortage that would occur if people stopped donating due to the COVID-19 virus. It seems the call to Canadians was responded to, however, as I was told this afternoon ... “ T his effort is a marathon, not a sprint ”. As it now stands now, donors are able to attend clinics which are held in Vancouver (2), Victoria, Surrey, and in Kelowna, so I asked if there any plans to re-establish traveling clinics to others communities - for example in Kamloops, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Revelstoke or Cranbrook, and perhaps further north at perhaps Ft. St. John? According to Communications Lead Regional Public Affairs Specialist Marcelo Dominguez, Canadian Blood Services is still on

FEDLSTED -- Rules will have to relax-- the question is how and when

The media has created a fervour over the mathematical models that allegedly help governments predict the future of Coronavirus infections in the general population. Mathematical modelling has limited use and value. We need to understand is that the data available on Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in Canada is far too small for statistical reliability. The data available for the whole world is useless due to variables in how nations responded to Coronavirus infections. There is no commonality in steps taken to combat virus spread and no similarity in the age demographics of world nations, so the numbers you see on the daily tracking of world infections are not useful in developing a model of infection rates that can be relied on. Mathematical models of the future spread of Coronavirus are better than nothing, but not a whole lot better.  Mathematical models must include assumptions on virus spreads, and various factors involved. As they are used in projections, a small erro

When necessary – and only when necessary – the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program can attach (garnish) wages

Alan Forseth ~~ Kamloops, BC ~~ May 15th Earlier this week (Monday May 13 th ) the BC government announced it would be establishing a new Crown agency to oversee the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP).   They indicated that on or before the end of October, the provision of family maintenance services would transition from a contracted service provider, to the newly created Crown agency. Apparently, this was to ensure that family maintenance enforcement services for vulnerable British Columbians continue uninterrupted. Seeing this story, reminded me of a woman ( we’ll call her Mary Brown ) who had email me some time b ack about this very thing, and questions she had about how maintenance enforcement was imposed and enforced. She said to me, “ I’m just curious if you can get any statistics of the homeless men and woman, that have children, that they are paying family maintenance in support of their children”.  “I am not about to sugg


Show more