Sunday, October 16, 2005

When Politicians Lie ...

See also Guests At The Foundation Fundraising Dinner.

What's the difference between lying and break a promise? Come 2007, I have a feeling Dalton McGuinty is about to find out.

You see, paraphrasing Jon Stewart, Canada is like a bizzaro world version of USA. Here, the Liberals (our equivalent of Democrats) are in power, their ideas popular, their men media savvy, while the Conservatives (our equivalent of Republicans) are defeated, rudderless, with no solid leadership. Recently Canada has legalized same sex marriage, decriminalized marijuana, rejected any abortion restrictions, and maintain guns are for police and law enforcement officials only.

So it was no surprise when Dalton McGuinty of the Liberals rode to power in Ontario two years ago, clinching 72 seats out of 104. His signature during the campaign had been a bunch of promises, the most famous of which, repeated most often, was "I won't raise your taxes, but I won't cut them either. Our schools, hospitals and welfare services need that money. I won't raise your taxes, ... I won't raise your taxes, ... "

What's the first thing he does on winning the premier's seat? Raise taxes.

Breaking your promise is when you made a promise in good faith, but on coming to power you realized the situation is bad and you cannot keep your word. That can be forgiven. Not lying. Most Canadians now believe McGuinty lied. He said anything to get elected.

Usually when Liberals lie they can get away with it by demonizing the opposition even more. And the federal Conservative Party has obliged, recruiting sexists, men with big mouths, anti-immigration anti-minority candidates (a travesty in Ontario). But now with John Tory at the helm of the provincial Conservative party, they could just turn things over.

As I said before, whatever the mess the federal Conservatives in Canada are in, the provincial wing have done the right thing in electing this man as their leader. I heard of him first when he ran for the position of the mayor of Toronto (ironically against David Miller, now his good friend). He was speaking at that time of discrimination women in hijab face when job hunting.

Currently he has pulled all the right strings to ensure the Conservatives get good press. He has done a lot to make his party inclusive of minorities and other entities that generally shy off from the Conservatives. He attended the Gay Pride Parade in Toronto this summer, the same time the federal Conservative leader Stephen Harper shied the parade (and then dressed up in a weird cowboy outfit).

Tory will have an important test soon. The Liberal MPP from Scarborough Rouge-River, Alvin Curling, has been made the ambassador to the Dominican Republic, meaning that seat is now empty. The riding has a population of 115,437, of which 97,400 are visible minorities. In such an immigrant, mostly liberal Christian, riding the Conservatives had always run an Anglo, hardline Christian candidate. Needless to say he didn't gel with the voters. You need to be smart in picking your candidates.

This time Ms Cynthia Lai is going to run on their behalf. John Tory has to ensure she wins the riding. This would be the first step towards their victory. They say a week is a long time in politics, and there are still two long years for the election, but when politicians lie, they deserve to be punished.


Rodney said...

"Breaking your promise is when you made a promise in good faith, but on coming to power you realized the situation is bad and you cannot keep your word. That can be forgiven. Not lying."

In 2003, the Conservatives hid a $6 billion deficit and told people that Ontario could afford billions in tax cuts.

Wouldn't you be rewarding the PC's for lying and hiding their deficit by voting for them again?

Dalton said in 2003 that he wouldn't cut taxes because schools and hospitals needed that money. That's still true. And that's why raising taxes to pay for health care was the right thing to do, even though it made people mad and hurt him politically.

In politics, there are too many who will do the popular thing, rather than the right thing.

mezba said...

Hi Rodney, thanx for visiting.

The difference in the Conservatives is that it's John Tory that's leading, not Ernie Eves. Whatever damage Harris did to Ontario, and I believe his privatization and cutbacks did a lot, he did not lie. He promised, and he acted on it.

I believe McGuinty lied. He KNEW the he would have to raise taxes but he promised he wouldn't.

"In politics, there are too many who will do the popular thing, rather than the right thing."

You said that.

I believe the right thing for McGuinty to do would have been to keep his promise. Rather than increase taxes, he should have cut funding for something else. Priorities.

Rodney said...

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but after public services were cut to the bone under the Conservatives, I'm glad we've got a government that's putting money into schools and health care.

As for Mike Harris keeping his promises, he promised smaller government (specifically promising that he wouldn't merge Hamilton), merged several cities.

He also promised that he wouldn't close hospitals, and they shut dozens of hospitals across Ontario.

He broke lots of promises, but people have forgotten them.