On legacy

I used to think that politicians shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about their legacy and, in fact, when I would mention this to the few that I have known over the years they would say something rhetorical like “I’m just doing the people’s business and I will let the legacy thing take care of itself”.

But reflecting on Romeo Leblanc this week, I am reminded of my evolving position on this issue.  I now believe that politicians (and other leaders) should be very concerned about their legacy and from day one should be working towards building it.

It seems to me that if a person has their legacy in mind they will be focused on the bigger picture.  On achieving something that will last through time.  Of not being one of those Premiers or Cabinet Ministers or business leaders that just fades into history.

I think the “people’s business” all too often becomes about signing cheques and making sure the day to day stuff gets done.  But what is really needed is for leaders to step up and address the big issues of the day be that war or economic crisis or some serious social justice issue.

In New Brunswick these days our leaders should be focused on legacy.  Will this be the generation of leaders that turns NB around or not?

As one example, in 50 years will they rename the Moncton airport the Shawn Graham International Airport?  Will the four lane highway from Moncton to Campbellton to connect the booming south to the emerging north be the Graham Memorial Highway?

Or will he leave government in relative obscurity, go on to run an industry association and become a footnote among the history of New Brunswick politicians?

Obviously, I am joking in the sense I don’t expect a Premier to think about having his or her name on a building somewhere in 50 years but I do expect him or her to clearly see the big challenges of the day and try to wrestle them to the ground.

4 thoughts on “On legacy

  1. David, a legacy is a nice thought. But legacies are sometimes good and sometimes bad. Let’s hope that our current and future leaders try to make an imprint on our society for the right reasons. Let’s hope that they do it for the betterment of New Brunswick as a whole; not just because they have such big egos that they feel they have to be remembered for something. Let’s let history decide whether or not they’ve left a legacy. As for Graham, he’s a nice man but not much leadership or integrity there. There are about half a dozen McKenna cronies that are running the ship behind the scenes here and that’s a big part of the problem why NB can’t turn around. I just wish these old guys would step aside and not presume they know eveything we need.

  2. Let’s hope we see the day that a business school with specialization in economic development is named after a New Brunswick premier for his or her excellence in economIc development.

  3. I think, in the end, John McCain, a decorated war hero, will have a better legacy than Barack Obama (who beat him in an election). Why? Because as Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush can attest, the economy can screw with one’s legacies.

  4. “Let’s hope we see the day that a business school with specialization in economic development”

    Let’s hope NB taxpayers do not get stuck with funding a business school – the last place one would look for a data-based analysis of ED policies. A “Graham Innovation Institute”, creating thousands of highly-paid spin-off jobs, now that would be a legacy.

    “I think, in the end, John McCain, a decorated war hero..”

    Perhaps he will be right up there with John Kerry, another loser who’s a ‘decorated war hero’. Of course, Kerry has a functioning brain, McCain’s seems to have shut down some time ago.

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