Pride

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, carries his youngest son Hadrien, 5, on his shoulders while marching in the Vancouver Pride Parade with his son Xavier, left, 11, wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, second left, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, third left, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, second right, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, right, in Vancouver, on Sunday.

Rather than focussing on the noticeable absence of Conservative leader Andrew Scheer from Sunday’s Pride celebration in Vancouver, the real story was the unity of the other three party leaders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife and three kids all walked several city blocks beside Green leader Elizabeth May and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

It made for a great photo-op, but it also illustrates that leaders are working collectively on human rights issues.

It will probably be the last time May, Singh and Trudeau are photographed together until the leaders’ debates in September.

It doesn’t happen often in politics, but there are notable exceptions.

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign, opponents Barack Obama and John McCain attended a 9/11 vigil together.

In 2005, former presidents Bill Clinton and George H. Bush were the honourary spokesmen for Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans. Even though Clinton defeated Bush Sr. in the 1992 election, the two became friends. They discovered they had a lot in common. They enjoyed each other’s company.

And, here at home, Stephen Harper famously said he regrets never taking NDP leader Jack Layton up on his offer to have a musical jam together. Both men were musically inclined.

The 2020 U.S. presidential election will be dirty. Although not in the same league, Canada’s federal election could also turn nasty.

Canadians of all political stripes really don’t want to see this.

Attack the person’s ideas, don’t attack the person.

“Little” Marco Rubio. “Lying” Ted Cruz. “Crazy” Bernie (Sanders). “Crooked” Hillary (Clinton). Name calling has no place in politics.

Seeing leaders walking together to support inclusion — or any other worthwhile cause — is a small step in gaining back the public’s confidence in what’s perceived as a flawed system. It also shows that Canadians — even with our many differences in opinions — can still love and appreciate one another.

If politicians in Ottawa are serious about wanting to engage more young people in the process, civility is a good first step.