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“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.

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  1. Husky Energy lays off undisclosed number of employees

    KELLY CRYDERMAN
    CALGARY
    PUBLISHED OCTOBER 22, 2019

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/article-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

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