Thursday, February 02, 2006

Party Animals

You'd think that newly-elected MPs, having acheived some measure of personal and professional accomplishment before being elected, and thus demonstrated some amount of self-discipline, wouldn't need to be lectured to like a bunch of frosh just arrived on campus.

You'd be wrong:

Newly minted MPs, still high from their election night win, were given pause for sober second thought Thursday — the temptations and potential pitfalls of booze, boredom and boudoirs are just some of the challenges they face in the coming months.

As they arrived jazzed for their first day on the job, more experienced hands were there to bring them back to earth.

“You have to remember that yes, you will change the world, just remember that you'll do it slowly, not as fast as you thought you would,” said Don Boudria, a former Liberal MP and cabinet minister brought in to help with orientation sessions for the 68 rookie members.


You can get drunk here every night of the week as lobbyists host neverending rounds of cocktail parties and dinners and it can burn you out within months,” said a veteran member, asking that he not be named.

The lure of young staffers has also been known to take its toll, and Mr. Hill says that's also brought up.

“I try to convey that rather subtly and they're told that those dangers are there, to watch for them,” he says.

Mr. Hill spoke to the group on the demands of their time, telling them when to say no to invitations and how to keep busy with exercise and good nutrition.

I'd feel insulted if I had to put up with this sort of lecture. We're not talking to 18-year olds living away from home for the first time; these are presumably grown men and women who know how to handle busy lives and careers. Granted, there are peculiar stresses and situations to being an MP that exist in no other career, but the temptations of liquor, lust and laziness are already around us.

If people aren't capable of managing their private lives by the time they make the Hill, they won't be any better at it while they're on it.

Source: Globe and Mail


Blake said...

Well, when you have veteran MPs saying, "watch yourselves, it can happen", then we have to believe that it can happen to people who didn't want it to happen.

The temptations of lobbyists are huge. I work for a small company and just travelled for the first time to Montreal on business, and even for a small company, the temptation to use the expense account is enormous. Imagine when you're being offered the best foods and women the city of Ottawa has to offer?

Lobbyists wouldn't waste their time and money if they thought it wouldn't work. Better to be cautious and be warned about the danger than falling headlong into it. What's that old saw? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Every piece of literary work in the history of the world is a lesson to people who in theory know better, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded.

VW said...

You also have to remember that media coverage of Parliament is far less overt, for MPs, than it is during an election campaign. It's far easier to fall into temptation when there's no cameras around.

Your reasoning about maturity also fails if you look south of the border. Congressmen still get into trouble in Washington for being indiscreet (remember the Washingtonienne?).