Faytene Kryskow… of 4MyCanada (http://www.4mycanada.ca/) — motivating young people for a strong Canada. She has had over 600 sit-down meetings in the past three years with MP's, Senators and other influential political leaders across the country, of varying political parties, and representations. She helps train young Canadians to be lobbyists, and have their voices heard in ways our politicians will listen to… and listen to with interest.
We sat through some training with Faytene during Global Adovcacy Days 2010. 4MyCanada is non-partisan so it does not subscribe to a particular party platform, but it does take rooted stands on moral and ethical issues we face as a society today. But instead of the placard-carrying, motto-crying leader I was expecting, I found a entirely different face.
"MP's are people too", Faytene said. Well that made sense to me, but still… do they actually care about what's going on in REAL Canada? I was rather unsure, but apparently they do. In fact, they care so much that they work 12-16 hours days effecting change in our nation. Does every MP or Senator get what they want? No. Does every lobbyist and activist get what they want? No.
People willing to work together in honest communication and authentic, godly respect for one another will go farther and dig deeper change than condemning, arrogant spirits. Ah, pride… will we ever see the inevitable falls?
Genuine honour for our leaders (and telling then so) gets our message heard louder and clearer than screaming or marching ever would. You can honor someone and still disagree. And she was right. 100%.
Unlike the screaming matches of Question Period as seen on TV or printed in the papers, we learned of genuine friendships between MP's of differing parties… their willingness to listen to the average joes of our country… their desire to see Canada strengthened and grown. Hmmmm… challenged was I? Indeed.
So in a room full of abolitionists… Conservatives, Liberals, NDP's, Greens, and even non-descripts (like myself)… Faytene made it clear that forward momentum will be gained when you put aside personal political grudges and work with who is in charge. Right now, it's Blue. So if you're Red, you take your stand but work with the fact that Blue is in power. You can work together for positive change or… not. If not, don't expect change.
This isn't to say you become a pushover! You are lobbying for a cause after all (in this case, minimum sentencing for child traffickers in Canada). If an MP says he/she isn't on board with the idea, I still treat him/her with proper respect and dignity as a person… and then go find another leader who will get on board.
And, for example, if leaders approached me to lobby pro-choice? I still have the full option to say a resounding "No." Honor and respect doesn't mean: Doormat.
I still think there's a lot that happens politically that perhaps would be defined as questionable… but so were my motives for sleeping in this morning instead of going to work. Politicians aren't the only people guilty of ulterior motives. Having said that, Faytene and her group widened my scope a fair bit to the true nature of political work in Ottawa. It was a wake-up call I sorely needed.