Andrew Scheer received no accreditation necessary to practice as an insurance broker in Saskatchewan, despite his biographies repeatedly referred to him as a one-time insurance broker in the province. In the wake of the Globe investigation, the Liberals immediately accused Scheer of breaking the law, making repeated false claims that misled the public.
I don't believe that the Conservative leader went out and intentionally misled the public about his credentials. He was drawn to a more exciting career before becoming a full-fledged broker. "I did receive my accreditation. I left the insurance office before the licensing process was finalized."
Undoubtedly, the politician has enough talent and skills to meet the requirements of the low entry profession of insurance brokers. He became MP for the riding of Regina at 25, and then repeatedly re-elected as MP before becoming the Speaker of the House of Commons at age 32. As the youngest Speaker in the chamber's history, he claimed a stunning victory in the Conservative leadership race, rising from the House Speaker to the Conservative Party leader.
His proven political track record aside, I am impressed that Mr. Scheer is not ashamed of coming from a background that looked inferior in the public eye. Jill Scheer's misassumption about her husband's career prospect drives the point home. "It didn't come as a huge surprise to me, right after we got married that he wanted to run, "she told the Globe and Mail. "But I just thought, oh, this is the little side thing that he's going to give a try and then he'll go back to selling insurance."
Jill's words, after appeared in the Globe, have sparked a flurry of insults and disparaging comments on Chinese social media WeChat. "I can't believe it. It turned out Scheer was an insurance agent!" "I've lost my trust in his ability to lead our country!" "Why can't our Canadian political leaders have a more decent professional background?!!"
The profession of an insurance broker has such a bad reputation that some politicians from the background would hide it from their resume or avoid telling the public about this credential. According to the National Post article, Vincent Ke, who was a registered life-insurance agent, made no apparent mention of his insurance job. Instead, in his public persona as MPP, he asserted a long history as an engineer, a professional title to which he is not entitled.
Mr. Ke appeared to be concerned that he would face a professional-biased electorate. He worried that as an insurance broker, he would be judged by voters as less competent to hold office than those from a privileged professional background – a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer.
But he misunderstood most voters, who need the state legislature to accurately represent people from all walks of life, rather than the small, top social class. A government by the elite is a government for the elite. But politicians from different backgrounds – working class or professional, blue-collar or white, superior or inferior, will bring diverse views to the public policy table. They will help ensure the voices of people at all levels of social and economic hierarchy can be heard, and their rights and interests represented.
Honesty, compassion, and a strong work ethic are the traits that voters desire from a political candidate. They pave the path for an election victory, providing candidates with a competitive edge to outperform their rivals and better serve their constituents. Andrew Scheer knows that, and from there, he has built his confidence -- never ashamed of claiming himself as an insurance broker.
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