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This past Saturday morning we got up early I had food shopping to do and other errands to run and wanted to have it done early before the crowds got out. Well I half succeeded since a lot of people had the exact same idea than me.

On CBC Radio I heard this program called If these words mean anything to you with Tom Howell who is a former dictionary writer. It was 8am PEI time and was having my morning espresso machiatto, here is one Italian word, a dash of, stained with milk.

The episode of the radio program was about the words reasonable and the other word was conservative. So the host asked; A)  Are you reasonable? B)  Are you conservative? Then he went on to interview guests and ask them if they were or thought of themselves as A and B.  Of course he explored the meaning of the words in their origin and today. It was fascinating because what he demonstrated was that you are probably conservative in some things you do, attitudes, opinions etc. while thinking of yourself as liberal in other areas of your thought process or attitudes.

As for the word reasonable the host approached the whole question of how we discuss issues, ideas, situations in our world of the internet and twitter sphere. He argued that we have lost the ability to listen to the other and even reflect on their point of view or arguments before deciding how to respond. Can we take a reasonable approach, ponder what is being said and maybe consider if we could reasonably adopt the other point of view. If not can we refute the arguments without resorting to the sort of behaviour seen so often now of personal attacks and gross insults on chatlines.

One guest, I forget his name, said that he despite being quite liberal on most issues, he was tired of the exclusive left leaning views of the CBC, excluding any right wing thought of any kind, on any topic. This is true, think of programs like The Current or As it happens or social affairs shows on Radio-Canada in French, same situation. Is it unreasonable to question the approach of the CBC/Radio-Canada.

The host asked his guests are you a reasonable person? We, the listener were also invited to ask ourselves that question.

On the word conservative, the host had several guests, one was the Leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, MP and the other was Michael Chong MP and leadership candidate to the Conservative Party, CPC. Both expressed their views on a host of issues showing that depending on the issue. they could be conservative or not. I think it is true of a lot of people, we may support or adopt an idea because for us it means something while see another issue totally differently. Chong for one has been at odds with Stephen Harper the former Prime Minister while in his Cabinet. Without naming Harper, he made it clear, he thought the man an authoritarian, top down style of manager and did not like him much. Chong did resign from Cabinet over a disagreement with Harper on Quebec.

May said that depending on the issues she could be Green, Liberal or Conservative. She did work for Conservative PM Brian Mulroney in the 1990’s and admired his approach to environmental policies. She also admired the late Flora Macdonald, MP, P.C. who was the first women Foreign Minister of Canada. I worked for Ms Macdonald and I really liked her a lot, brilliant woman.

Chong said that he did not consider himself a liberal, he believed in merit and not quotas. Attacking the position of PM Trudeau who claims to be a feminist. Chong gave the example of Trudeau achieving the 50% parity between men and women in his Cabinet and when asked about it answered glibly ”Because it’s 2015”. Chong maintains that this answer is revealing in the sense that Trudeau believes in social engineering to achieve his political goals and he, Chong does not, merit alone should be the criteria for promoting men or women to Cabinet. I agree with Chong on this point, does that make me a Conservative, no I don’t think so. But I do believe in Merit or Meritocracy to be promoted. Human nature does not respond well to social engineering by politicians. So far the women in the Trudeau Cabinet have not done particularly well in their portfolio, think of Jody Wilson-Raybould at Justice, Bardish Chagger, House of Commons reform agenda, Mélanie Joly at Heritage, Catherine McKenna, Environment, Maryam Monsef who was demoted after bungling Electoral reform and replaced by Karina Gould and MaryAnn Mihychuk who was simply dropped. So much for quotas.

An interesting program and leads listeners to question the meaning of words.