Alberta MP sees division, polarization as menace to democracy: ‘We’re all simply human beings’

Alberta MP sees division, polarization as threat to democracy: ‘We are all just human beings’

2021-02-23 10:56:10

Mike Lake, the Conservative member of Parliament for Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, not too long ago delivered a robust tackle within the Home of Commons.

“Earlier than our political labels, we’re all simply human beings,” he mentioned throughout a member assertion on Feb. 16.

“The center of the street is solely our frequent floor.

“Make no mistake, passionate political debate is foundational to a wholesome democracy, nevertheless it’s handiest once we have interaction in conversations not solely to be in search of to influence however open to being persuaded.”

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Lake, who’s been an MP for 15 years, mentioned he’s seen divisiveness and polarization worsen since being first elected in 2006.

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He believes the proliferation of social media has performed a giant function in that pattern.

“We’re surrounded by our echo chambers and individuals who suppose identical to us and sort of reinforce us, get us extra fired up in our beliefs so we transfer just a little extra to the extremes,” he mentioned throughout an interview with World Information on Monday.

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“Politicians don’t assist by seeing that of their political opponents and even pushing them additional within the extremes,” Lake mentioned.

“I believe we have to work collectively to attempt to overcome this as a result of I actually can see it as a menace to our democracy.”

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He makes it clear this isn’t a partisan challenge — neither is it remoted to politics.

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“If you wish to make a change, talk with a aim to influence individuals of your perspective. Should you’re simply calling individuals names, you could get one million retweets however you’re going to get these retweets from individuals who suppose identical to you do,” he mentioned.

“If you wish to really change individuals’s minds, you need to talk certain, forcefully, firmly, however respectfully as properly.”

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Acutely aware selections should be made to bridge the divides, Lake mentioned.

“That is one thing we’ve tried to do as an workplace is begin to convey individuals collectively, not simply from our personal occasion or assist base, however as we’re having conversations, attempt to embody — whether or not it’s constituents, having individuals from throughout the political spectrum or within the work I do on worldwide growth or incapacity issues — having individuals who characterize a variety of views from a variety of experiences as a result of the conversations are higher, and in the end, the selections and insurance policies are going to be higher too,” Lake mentioned.

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The change must be deliberate, he added.

“By default, we’re all surrounded by individuals who suppose identical to us in our social media feeds.”

Lake desires to see open minds and open dialog. He feels nearly all of Canadians wish to see the identical. Those who oppose any sort of co-operation are a small however typically vocal minority, he mentioned.

“Whereas these individuals make a whole lot of noise, they’re a small sliver of the political spectrum, I imagine, when it comes to communication.

“All of us see it — whether or not it’s politicians or common individuals — in our social media feeds,” Lake mentioned. “Simply acknowledge that it’s a small sliver, and sooner or later, you have got to have the ability to ignore that and talk with the extensive swath of people that, as human beings, simply wish to see us as sturdy as we may be as a rustic.”

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