Don Martin: Kevin Vickers would be a welcome change to political scene
In a Canadian political realm hardening into partisan divides dominated by promise-breaking, polling-directed and scripted-to-the-comma political leaders, a welcome change is musing about entering a leadership race.
He's not going to change the Canadian landscape immediately, but this candidacy would be a heartening sign that better and dramatically different personalities can still be enticed to seek elected office.
So run Kevin run.
That Kevin is Vickers, our current ambassador to Ireland who is poised to return to his New Brunswick roots this year and is facing a groundswell of pressure to seek the Liberal leadership vacated by the recently defeated Brian Gallant.
At first blush, this seems an improbable career change for a 62-year-old primed with a decent pension for his golden years.
The former who took down the Centre Block gunman four years ago in a hail of bullets was rewarded with the coveted ambassador gig.
There he has, by all accounts, served with dignity in the role, notwithstanding his gruff removal of a protestor interrupting a soldier commemoration ceremony.
I've known Vickers for almost 40 years from his days as a rising star Mountie in Calgary, where he hung out with then-reporter Ralph Klein when he needed a couple of cold ones after a difficult shift.
He rose through the RCMP ranks to chief superintendent where he successfully diffused the Burnt Church First Nations standoff before being appointed to run a by-the-book Parliament Hill security force.
Nothing about his gold-star record or his mild-mannered personality fits with the blood sport of elbows-up, heckle-down leadership politics.
But that probably means he’d be a perfect fit for the job in these unsettled times where voter dissatisfaction with the status quo is rampant and leaders are often seen as self-interested survivalists.
Kevin Vickers, unless entering politics comes with a personality transplant, would serve as living proof that divisions can be overcome amicably and that principles can transcend right and left lines on the spectrum for the greater good of public service.
Not surprisingly, Vickers is mortified that word leaked out about his tentative musings before he was ready to commit to the leadership.
At this stage, his is just a toe in the water with a large pool of supporters ready to jump in if he takes the leap.
But his candidacy would likely be a coronation and his term as Opposition leader shortened by having an alliance keeping the minority Progressive Conservatives in power. He could theoretically be premier within two years.
So run Kevin run. A successful bid would be a big gain for New Brunswick and even bigger win for Canadian politics, where class acts usually finish last if they participate at all.
That's the Last Word.