Walk a Kb or Two in my Moccasins- Nobody 'splained it to me like that!

Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

Monday, April 09, 2007

Best Political Column ever written

So good that I wish I had the insight and ability to have written it.
Failing that I look forward to meeting Mr Coyne again .... just to shake his hand in congratulations.

(bold emphasis added)

Harper has learned well

Andrew Coyne
National Post
Monday, April 09, 2007
Picture CREDIT: Reuters, Jim Young
...Jean Chretien and ...
Picture CREDIT: Reuters, Chris Wattie
...Stephen Harper.
It would be wrong to call Stephen Harper's latest adventure with the truth -- his claim to have "delivered" on the health care guarantee he promised in the last election, when the whole world can see he has not -- a lie. What distinguishes a lie, after all, from other species of falsehood is that it is intended to be believed. I do not think Mr. Harper is so far gone as to believe his own guff, and it is scarcely more probable he thinks anyone else would.
So we are left to conclude that it does not matter to him whether anyone believes him or not. And if it does not matter to him, this must be because he believes it does not matter to anyone else. At the very least, he must have calculated, there is no political price to be paid for telling the public obvious untruths. It may even be that we prefer it. That is the rational implication, and he is nothing if not rational. What is more, he is probably right.

We have now had a procession of leaders who have shown such astonishing disregard for the truth, or their word, or both, that it no longer particularly shocks us. We expect it, in fact. So much so, that we no longer think to punish those who deceive us; rather, we reward them for it, preferring to punish those so foolish as to tell us truths we would prefer not to hear. We say we want honest politicians, but our actions give us away. We are just as much a fraud as they.
We are not dealing here with random slips of the tongue, or minor flip-flops. Nor are we in the realm of calculated ambiguity, in which every politician occasionally takes refuge. We are talking about clear and unambiguous statements on the central issues of the day that turn out to be so much wind.
So, in turn, we have had Pierre Trudeau, who campaigned in 1974 against wage and price controls, only to implement them once in office; who campaigned in 1980 against the Clark government for raising gas taxes, only to jack them up even higher himself. We have had Brian Mulroney, who campaigned against free trade as a candidate for the Tory leadership, only to embrace it once in power. We have had Jean Chretien, who promised -- well, he promised a lot of things that first election, among them the abolition of the GST, the renegotiation of NAFTA, an end to Tory spending cuts and so on: in every case the reverse of what occurred.
These weren't lies, as such, or not proveably so: A politician can always claim unforeseen circumstances. But when called to account, after the fact, for going back on their word, well, what would you call Mr. Chretien's claim that he never said he would scrap the GST? And yet we re-elected him, twice, just as we re-elected Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulroney. What else can the aspiring politician conclude, than that truth has no currency in Canadian politics?
It is a lesson that Mr. Harper appears to have absorbed. The Emerson and Fortier appointments were early harbingers, the two free-spending budgets and the "nation" resolution further signs that nothing Mr. Harper had said on these matters throughout his career should be taken at face value. And if these could be excused as the inevitable adjustments in the face of political reality, or even as signs of maturity, what are we to make of the pledge not to tax income trusts, or to cap equalization payments?
And what are we to make of this? Campaigning for election in 2005, Mr. Harper promised to establish maximum waiting times for five "key treatments and procedures," and to hold provinces to deliver care within that time, or pay for patients to be treated elsewhere. That "guarantee" was to be in place by the end of 2006. And, what is more, it was to be done without further infusions of federal cash, the provinces having just received $41-billion from his predecessor the year before.
So now here it is 2007, and Mr. Harper announces that the provinces have agreed to guarantee just one procedure out of the five promised; a guarantee that in several cases amounts to no improvement on current performance, or remains far in excess of medically advised wait times, or both; a guarantee that appears to lack any enforcement mechanism, that does not kick in until 2010 and that will cost an additional $600-million in federal cash annually.
Well, fair enough: Hornswoggling the feds is what provinces do. Mr. Harper could say that he tried, and failed, and that would be close to the truth, depending on how you define "tried." But a culture of falsehood cannot admit the least contamination by the truth; one speck of it can expose the rest as fraud. And so this is what Mr. Harper announced, in broad daylight: "During the last election campaign, I and my party made a clear and unequivocal commitment to Canadians. We promised to sit down with the provinces to develop patient wait-time guarantees, and today I'm proud to announce we're delivering? "
Unable to deliver the mail on time with any consistency, Canada Post came up with an ingenious solution. It simply redefined late mail as "on time." Where previously the standard was one day across town, for example, now it would be two. Bingo: at a stroke, the corporation cut its late-mail rate by a third.
That was years ago. I imagine the Stephen Harper of the time would have snickered at such transparent falsehoods. But now he is Prime Minister, and has convinced himself these are part of the job description.
© National Post 2007

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