Is our politicians learning?

From the print edition—part of a series of stories on innovation—an attempt to tie together various threads on the matter of political leadership.

“Can you imagine a doctor saying, ‘Well, I never thought of becoming a doctor before’?” asks Alison Loat, co-founder of Samara, a charitable organization dedicated to the study of Canadian democracy. Indeed, one would probably not entrust their health to a brain surgeon who claimed to have come to the profession quite by accident, made it through a confusing and mysterious nomination process, and shown up for the first day of work feeling mostly unprepared for the surgeries they were expected to perform. And yet, we expect little more of our parliamentarians.

For sure, politics is a pursuit neither easily explained, nor particularly well-regarded. The job of elected office itself is subject to wide interpretation and powerful competing pressures. But if the political process is to be improved upon, it may require dealing with these issues of confusion and ill repute, up to and including how we might build a better politician.

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