Monday, May 07, 2007

Email to Lawrence Martin

I don't normally send out emails to columnists but today's column by Lawrence Martin in the Globe and Mail provoked me into a response. . .


You wrote in your column published today that:
"The Prime Minister is a model for the entire country. If he resorts to mudslinging instead of showing a measure of graciousness, others will be inclined follow suit. If he starts throwing around baseless allegations, others - right down to our high-school debating clubs - will be inclined to do the same."
Coming from the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, I can tell you that civility in public life has certainly taken a beating around here.

But as a long-time debate coach, former debater and debate organizer on the local and national levels, I can assure you that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in the next generation of high school debaters without a fight. They might be inclined, but they won't be encouraged.

If the Prime Minister, and other politicians, behave themselves and are an appropriate model for debate comportment, then coaches will hold them up as a positive example to be emulated and they will be rewarded.

If they sling mud or otherwise throw around baseless allegations, they will be help up as a negative model to be avoided; students will be penalized for traveling down that path.

If more politicians were penalized by more Canadians for slurs and slagging, things would improve.

Simon Lono
President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Speech and Debate Union
Past-President of Canadian Student Debating Federation.

No comments: