Last night we learned that a city Councillor Daniel Bourgeois is stepping down because his outspoken political views on certain things in this city has negatively affected his ability to find outside employment.
I wish I could say I was surprised, or that I could say he was imagining things. Unfortunately I am well familiar with the fact that having a political viewpoint does affect your earning potential. I personally am familiar with over 60,000 in personal salary that I have lost to date due to suffering job cuts due solely to the political party I ran for in an election. I am also fully aware of at least one job opportunity which I was denied solely because of my outspoken positions, during and since the last municipal election.
My father has often quoted that “There is no place in politics for an honest man” and while I totally disagree with him and believe that we need more honest people getting involved in politics, not less, I also understand that it is things like this that make people believe that the honest man is doomed to fail in politics.
The fact of the matter is that the one level of politics that has absolutely no room for a person’s political beliefs affecting their opportunities for employment is Municipal politics. The reason for this is that Municipal politicians are paid so poorly for the work they do, that they need to in most cases have outside employment to be able to continue to serve in their position and politicians (and aspiring politicians) need to be able to speak their mind without fear of loss of income or employment.
All in all this is a sad day for politics in this city, when a man has to step down, Not because he did something wrong, but because in standing up for his beliefs other people have felt that they had the right to punish him for his political position.
The worst part about this is that while denying a person employment, or even penalizing a person at their current position, because of the political position is completely against the law, it is still common practice and very difficult to prove because those involved in this type of behaviour are very careful to always cover their butts and make sure that there is always something else they can point to as the real reason (even when every sane person in the world knows completely different)
We need better protection for all of our politicians when it comes to this type of behaviour and we also need to make sure that the penalties for even the appearance of impropriety in hiring practices regarding this type of action is soundly punished in such a manner as to make sure that it never happens again.
No politician should ever be penalized for speaking his mind, no matter whether that politician is right, wrong or even just holds an opposing view to ours.