In the November 14th edition of Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper, there was an article, written by Daniel Leblanc, about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “setting the bar high for conduct by his cabinet ministers”.

As Leblanc wrote: “The Prime Minister has released the mandate letters he delivered to members of the cabinet after their swearing in on Nov.4, setting the tone for the next four years of his government.” One of the things high-lighted by Leblanc was the following: “Mr. Trudeau told his new ministers he wants them to consult widely on all initiatives, treat the opposition and the media with respect, and ‘deliver real results and professional government to Canadians’.”

In that statement, one of the words which stood out for me was “respect”. From what I have seen, heard, and read from Justin Trudeau, it seemed to be part of his nature.

In his book, “Common Ground”, he wrote about growing up with his two brothers, and the influence his parents had upon his growth and the development of his character.

Justin was particularly aware that both parents stressed the importance of showing respect toward other people.

For example, in the book he recalls, “My mother always emphasized the importance of good manners. A breach of protocol or etiquette resulted in a stern rebuke from her. ‘Good manners will open doors for you’, she lectured, ‘and once a door is open, you can demonstrate your good character.’ She also insisted that our attitude toward, and interest in, other people be genuine.”

As Justin wrote, “The importance of being honest and respectful was a pillar of the teachings my brothers and I received from both parents.”

In a situation involving his father, Justin wrote, “When I was eight years old, my father took me to Parliament Hill, where we had lunch in the restaurant there. Looking up from my meal, I spotted Joe Clark, the leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition. Thinking to please my father, I repeated a silly joke about Joe that I had heard in the schoolyard. It failed to amuse him, and I received a stern lecture about how it was fair to attack an opponent’s position, but I was never to make a personal attack on the individual. To drive his point home he marched me over to Mr. Clark’s table, where he was sitting with his daughter, and introduced us.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to separate a person’s viewpoint from the individual; but we are encouraged to show respect. As Wikipedia (internet) puts it, “At its heart, being respectful means showing that you value other people.”

May it be so for us! 

Harvie Barker is a Penticton resident and writer of inspirational messages. This column ordinarily appears on Mondays in The Herald.

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