Promises and Political Promises.

The magazine style “policy platform” handed out to the Ontario Conservative elite at their get-together last weekend is a style of political literature that was developed many years ago. The glossy magazine is a strong sales style that the voter might keep a bit longer. Adding a full-page guarantee was an idea that popped up occasionally when the writers ran out of policies. The only drawback is if you win the election, the people who keep the magazine the longest are your supporters and they will notice how few promises you keep.

The problem with promises are that governments are elected to govern and the minutia of day to day governance, their party ideology and reality get in the way of keeping promises such as a chicken in every pot.

But you are the sucker who believed them.

The other problem with all the promises made is that they are mainly half-baked, ill-considered ideas that are presented in very positive terms. These are not necessarily panaceas.

Some are very bad ideas. An example of a very bad idea is the one the Conservatives are making about taking over the planning and building of subways in Toronto. What they are suggesting is taking the process from one set of incompetent politicians and giving it to another group of incompetent politicians. The only difference is that the people affected will have less say.

Frankly, if a third of the election promises of any party are ever addressed, the voters should be surprised. One of Canada’s best loved Prime Ministers in the last quarter century was Jean Chrétien. His 1993 Red Book of promises was a work of fiction that was supposedly based on the Liberal Party’s Aylmer Policy Conference. Did he rid us of the hated Goods and Services Tax? Did he cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement? Of course not!

What is the most serious flaw in all these promises is that you need to understand the people making the promises. You need to decide whether these people really have your best interests at heart? If Patrick Brown has been a social conservative all his life, would you wonder at why he now says he is not? If he never had an idea in his life that helped people in Ontario, why does he now promote all these helpful ideas? Do you think we would elect him if he told the truth about himself?

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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