A dream of civility

I had the strangest dream last night, and I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. I dreamed I was watching the first sitting of our new Legislative Assembly, and one of the party leaders (couldn’t tell who) stood up to speak.

I had the strangest dream last night, and I wrote it down as soon as I woke up. I dreamed I was watching the first sitting of our new Legislative Assembly, and one of the party leaders (couldn’t tell who) stood up to speak:

“Madame Speaker, today we come together to begin the challenging work of governing our territory. During the campaign, many of us spoke to our constituents about creating a more civil tone in the legislature. This is a noble intention, and I’m not naïve about how difficult this can be when things get tough. How will we walk the walk?

We must start from a sincere belief that every one of us here is doing what they believe is best for the Yukon, even when we strongly disagree with them. Let’s not wait until after the votes are counted on election night to acknowledge and appreciate other parties’ hard work and humanity.

We must remember that we are here to be hard on the problems, not on the people. We will all get frustrated at times, because there is a lot at stake in our work. It’s so tempting to attack each other instead of working on the issue. It’s easy and comfortable craft enemy images of each other to justify our attacks. But this is not the high road that we are all striving for.

Sometimes it feels like we treat question period like a game of dodgeball (chuckles around the room) — one side firing as many hard shots as they can, and the other side ducking for cover and firing back. But it’s not a game: people hear what we say, and it matters. Let’s ask fair questions, give honest answers, and avoid grandstanding.

How we work together is as important as what we do. As elected members, our citizens expect us to lead ourselves, as well as to lead others. Yukoners want to hold us up to their children as an example of how to treat others, not as an example to avoid.

Our party commits to being accountable to this intention, no matter what others say or do. We hope others will do the same, knowing that we all value integrity, collaboration, and respect. We’re all human, we have a tough job to do, and we will surely come up short from time to time. But we commit to finding the high road again as soon as possible.”

I woke up slightly dazed. It was one of those dreams where you wake up and think for a brief moment that maybe it actually happened.

Mark Nelson,


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