Not all politicians understand this. It is important to know what to say to the reporter who asks a question. It is also important to know when to say nothing. Some of the questions are naturals that fit into other programs and the politician comes out sounding knowledgeable and concerned. And some politicians are like Ontario premier Doug Ford, who will never learn when to close his mouth.
It was a good example of the problem recently when the mayors of Brampton and Toronto, as well as premier Ford, weighed in on a bail decision by an Ontario superior court judge. It was in a case of person charged with first degree murder and none of the politicians had an opportunity to read the judge’s reasoning for the unusual decision to grant bail. And since bail hearings are usually kept confidential until after the trial in these cases, only the judge’s ruling is made available.
To the delight of the news media, these politicians, and others, were willing to comment—when, if they had legal advice, they would not have commented. The only thing they could or should have said was that the matter was before the courts. Both Tory in Toronto and Brown in Brampton were trained as lawyers and should have known that. As usual, the premier knew nothing and spouted off anyway.
Ford has become famous for his bombast. Just the other day, he took off on a flight of ire towards the province’s auditor general. By now, the auditor general must be used to Ford’s outbursts. Most devoted conservatives would agree that she is not one of Doug Ford’s favourite people at Queen’s Park.
It is not that the conservatives are routinely careless with the billions of dollars spent every year by the government. It was in trying to assist Ontario companies that the government got itself into what the opposition in the legislature referred to as a “$1 billion tax dollar boondoggle.” The NDP also noted that $210 million went to businesses that did not qualify for the grants and the conservatives had just written it off as bad debts.
Now Ford is saying that the government is going after these bad actors. He never seems to learn.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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