Thursday, October 08, 2015

The politics of wind

Wilfrid Laurier's advocacy of the "sunny ways" approach to politics was based on a fable of Aesop:
The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: "I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin." So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
In Prime Minister Harper's niqab crisis, his approach is very much the wind's version:  using power to blow those head coverings away.  Can't help thinking that in effectiveness as well as decency, the sunny way is going to do better here.

A quick search suggests I ain't the first to see the analogy with Prime Minister Harper's inclination to confrontation and division..Some guy called Justin Trudeau was on to it eighteen months ago
What I want you to take away from that story is the essence of what Laurier meant when he used the term “sunny ways.” 
It’s a story about persuasion being superior to force.
'Course when Laurier raised the sunny ways approach in regard with French-language rights in Manitoba, the result was the denial of those rights in the province for most of a hundred years. So it's complicated!

Image and info:  Skelton, Life of Laurier. Fable source: Tales With Morals.
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