It usually takes a long time to become really good at something. That’s why it’s not always easy for people to switch from a career in business or some other field to the high-pressure world of politics. So perhaps we shouldn’t overreact when they stumble a bit.
Bill Morneau, for example, is a rookie member of parliament. In his previous career in the private sector, he didn’t have his every word scrutinized, his motives questioned, his personal finances probed. The fact that he’s not skilled at communicating changes in tax policy to Canadians shouldn’t come as a shock. He’s never had to do it before.
But the ethics questions around Morneau are more than just rookie mistakes. He and the Liberal brass should have known that the finance minister, above all other cabinet ministers, must clearly disclose and carefully manage their personal finances or expose themselves to conflicts of interest.
We should be careful not to overzealously pounce on every new politician who is learning on the job. But we should expect and demand a high level of accountability and ethics from every politician, even those who are new to the profession.