What’s in a name? When it comes to titles, these aid us in defining important roles in our society.
We provide titles to our physicians, doctor, our police, officer, company presidents, chief financial officers and so on. It imparts recognition of these significant roles and a level of respect for those who play them.
Government is full of roles for which we provide titles. Chiefly the term minister is used.
We are led by premiers and prime ministers in the British parliamentary system. And the people they charge with looking after special divisions of our governance are ministers.
While it doesn’t matter what brand your politics might be, we are expected to offer respect to those who take on these roles, at least for the time they are in them. They make personal sacrifices to look after duties on behalf of all of us, even when we don’t agree with their decisions, they reflect the choices of the majority of us.
The term shadow cabinet is applied to an official opposition group who stands, often critically, in a legislative house to monitor the governing party and the actions of its ministers.
We have a term for these elected opposition folks with special roles based on their experiences. They are called critics. They are not shadow ministers, as Alberta’s official opposition, Wildrose Party has claimed since shortly after the last election.
It is disrespectful of our governments’ ministers to self apply the term to members of the opposition. They do not have the duties nor the responsibilities of a minister.
The intended implication is that these are ministers of a governing cabinet in waiting. Waiting for the next election when they will take their rightful place as the ruling party.
While the shadowy term is used in many nations, we are not typically one of them.
It devalues the roles of those who rightfully hold the title of minister and have sworn an oath to our provinces or nation. Canada has gotten this right. The misuse of the title insults the intelligence of the voting public and, while some might call it a bit of hyperbole, in fact it is designed to mislead.
The work of a minister is important and often thankless and we should send a message to those who assume the term for themselves. They are taking something else for granted; our votes.