Should you run for public office?

Terry FallisEarlier in the year, Canada Reads 2011 winner Terry Fallis and Pat Thompson hosted a conversation at Massey College about work and vocation: the work that makes a difference, the work that defines and inspires us, the work we share as citizens, and the work of our times.  It was inspired by his novel, The Best Laid Plans, which tells the story of an engineering professor Angus McLintock who wins an election that he wanted to lose.  A reluctant candidate accidentially becomes a Member of Parliament.

Terry kicked off the conversation with Massey Junior Fellows, Massey Journalism Fellows, and a few friends with his own vocational story which begins as an engineering student, takes him to Parliament Hill and then into the world of public relations before he finds himself on the dais accepting the 2008 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.  Here’s an exchange between two political veterans who are working on Angus’ campaign:

“If Angus does win, persuade him to serve.  [Angus’ late wife] Marin Lee wrote in her last book that she always regretted not running for public office and trying to change Canadian society from within our democratic institutions.  She spent her life on the outside.  She made a real difference, but I can’t help wondering what she might have achieved if she sat around the Cabinet table.  Maybe Angus doth protest too much.”

Have you thought about running for public office?  Can you imagine moving from the outside to the inside of politics — from protest to participation?  If not you, then who?

(By the way, we love this piece on how Terry’s engineering education “prepared [him] for life as a political advisor, public affairs/public relations professional, and a novelist.” Check it out.)

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