Guest Commentary

Mark Holland, MP

‘I Don’t Know Why I Wanted This’

(Editor’s note: Government House Leader Mark Holland in October 25, 2022 remarks to the House affairs committee questioned why he ever ran for Parliament and said he attempted suicide after losing in Ajax-Pickering, Ont. in 2011. Following is a partial transcription of Holland’s remarks)

I don’t know why I wanted to enter politics. Each of you will your own individual story. It might have had to with my grandfather who told me from a very young age if you wanted to make a difference, you had to know somebody in politics and that’s how you got things done. I know he respected politicians a lot.

Maybe as well it was the very poor relationship I had with my father. My dad was obsessed with becoming big or huge, whatever that meant, and I struggled to get his attention or feel that he saw me.

Maybe it was the fact I struggled in a household where there was a lot of abuse and the by-product of that was a problem with a sense of worthiness. Maybe the validation that could come from seeking public office was part of it.

Politics for me was a calling I took extremely seriously. I threw myself into it with everything I had. I tried to be the best Member I could be. In the process I failed my family. In the process I was not the father I should have been. That’s something I can’t take back.

When I lost in 2011, because I had my thrown my entire universe into this enterprise at the expense of unfortunately a lot of other things I should have taken better care of, I was in a really desperate spot. I was told I was toxic.

Conservatives hated me. No organization would want to hire me. My marriage failed. My space with my children was not in a good place. Most particularly, my passion, the thing I had believed so ardently in and which was the purpose of my life, was in ashes at my feet.

I’m not proud to say that I made an attempt on my life at that moment in time. That was the genesis of me starting to see my life very differently and reframing the choices I have in my life.

I came back to attempt to do things differently, to see in staff and MPs the suffering they held and the price they paid to try to serve and fight for the cause they believed in.

I’m sure Hitler worked very, very hard. I’m sure he woke up every morning and went to every event and I’m sure that he was in every place his party told him to be, but at the end of the day I do not think that our values should stem from that.

Each of us are looking into the darkness of the unknown and attempting on behalf of the communities we serve and the families we come from to find answers and lift people up. If we create a place where people who give more than they take, people who take more responsibility than they give blame – if we’re going to create that place that people can come to, this place needs to be more human, it needs to be more compassionate.

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