To The Editor,

I’ll cut to the chase by saying that good and honest leaders welcome debate. Debating policies in front of constituents is one of the only ways that we, the voting public, get an opportunity to hear our candidate speak and have their ideas challenged by the opposition. This, occasionally, leads to changing of our minds and voting for someone else. Therein lies the fear of certain politicians; the idea of having their ideas challenged and refuted.

Strong leaders have solid ideas. Often times, when looking at a president, prime minister, minister, mayor or class president we often see someone who has been tested in the fields of business, law, education or politics. We like to elect people who have lived by their own philosophies and policies to some level of success. When these people have their ideas challenged, in debate, it often leads to a clearer understanding of what they mean however weak leaders tend not to want to air their views because they have experienced failures with them or have had them proven to be weak versus other potential alternatives. They’d prefer you not hear them.

Intelligent leaders show respect and command respect. When a strong leader debates their opposition, they tend to show a great deal of restraint in allowing them to air their views and make their point. This is a great strategy in that it gives their opposition the time (rope) to explain, at a level of detail they are comfortable with allowing people to absorb the information while giving the other candidates the opportunity to clearly understand and thus, intelligently challenge their position. Political leaders who cut off their opposition usually do so out of fear and ignorance. Fear in that people will see that their opposition has a better idea or has proven their ideas to be foolish or ignorant in that their whole personality is one of not listening to others. Watching and listening to a leader’s debate style gives a good indication of their overall personality.

Fearless leaders face challenge without reservation. Leaders who welcome challenge tend to have open minds and adopt new ideas better than people who do not welcome challenge. They tend to be more progressive and they create and / or adopt innovative plans that can have fast and positive effects for their citizens. Leaders who fear facts cause division in their constituents and community. It stands to reason that a leader who fears debate fears change and if there is one thing that is constant and that is change. Leaders who don’t debate, fear debate.

Positive leaders have positive ideas. Leaders who look towards the future and consider what’s possible provide better economic conditions for individuals and businesses to succeed. Leaders that look towards new technologies and embrace the idea of early adoption of new and innovative ideas often leapfrog their city from dead last to the top ten. Positive thinking comes from taking risks and trusting that the outcome out-ways those risks. Without risk there is no reward.

Successful leaders are honest. A big part of leading is leading with integrity, conviction and honesty. They can point to their successes and failures with an open mind so that they learn for the next step. They don’t take credit for other people’s work. They don’t blame others for their failures and they don’t point towards and take credit for the opening of federal and provincial services such as hospitals, geriatric care facilities, police stations, fire departments and schools as a sign and display of their success without having anything else to show. Often times, dishonest leaders manipulate statistics or create them out of thin air with the hopes that people will believe them.

Going forward, with so much at stake, as a citizen of Hawkesbury, I implore our mayoral candidates to opening debate their platforms and take questions from their constituents. We need to hear our potential leaders address key issues and share their platforms in a public setting. We are on the very cusp of failure, we are still ranked as one of the worst cities to live in. Our incomes have gone down and our taxes have gone up despite what the city has said. They say so much without ever being held accountable in practice. We hold them accountable with our votes. We need transparency from our potential leaders that can come from healthy debate. Social media is no excuse for live interaction. Please, let’s have a debate.

Stephen Sockett, Hawkesbury