Sou’wester article: October 2016
Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond –
The power of words
One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is how to make your words matter. It begins with listening and understanding so that when you speak, your intentions are clear. This includes careful consideration before allowing messages to pass by your lips. You cannot unsay what has been said, even if you misspoke.
Over the past couple of weeks, I and other members of the Manitoba legislative assembly have been reminded how important it is to consider how words are used. There are clear rules for legislature decorum that we have received training for, and when those rules are ignored or disrespected, consequences follow. Sometimes the consequences are simply acknowledging the error with an apology, and sometimes the reprimand is a bit tougher.
In this day and age, the old adage that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” has been proven untrue. Words hold the power to build others up, and to tear them down. Each of us is given a choice as to how we use our words, and our choices reveal where our hearts are at any given time. It takes courage to stand with the truth, and my hope is that the actions of some MLAs to speak up to support what is right will become the norm as we all work toward better outcomes.
Doing what is right is not always easy, but it is always right. Our new Manitoba government is not looking for what is easy; we are committed to doing what is right for the benefit of this great province. Important work needs to be accomplished in government in order to set Manitoba on the path to success. This work will require setting aside partisan ways in order to benefit everyone. We need to set a tone of mutual respect and clear boundaries for behaviour, so those who elected each of us can be proud of their decisions.
Your new government is facing some tough issues in this legislative session, and your input through the pre-budget consultation process will be valuable as we fix Manitoba’s finances, repair its services and rebuild its economy. There will be many opportunities to become involved as we seek feedback for each of our vital service areas. If you would like to be part of the consultations, please contact my constituency office by phone or in person to leave your information.
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