I don’t put the blame on the politicians for lying- I put the blame on the people for believing them. Deputy prime minister Sheila Copps said in march 1996 regarding the hated GST tax: “if we don’t replace it, I will resign. I really don’t have much choice, it will be replaced.” Its still with us. Sheila has resigned but in her riding, its more like a honeymoon on than a re-election campaign.
Similar outlandish statements were also made against the GST by Jean Chrétien who said May 2nd 1994 “we hate it and we will kill it.” (he now blames God.)
Paul Martin, the Prime Minister of finance, said back in 1989 “the goods and services tax is a stupid inept and incompetent tax.” Martin is now into his humility act but I notice that he’s still milking the GST cow and has given every indication of hanging on to his milking stool.
What did Sheila and others achieve by denouncing the GST during the election? They helped stampede a slew of undecided voters and disillusioned Tories into the polling booths.
After the bloodbath, not one live Tory MP was returned in Ontario and only one Ontario Reform member was elected. Their false promises certainly paved the way for the landslide win. Why worry if your integrity is shattered? You can always count on the voter’s bad memory next election.
Voters did believe all that Liberal bafflegab. Not one candidate running said that it would be an amazing thing for any government elected to give up such a glorious money-grabbing tax as the GST. The Liberals would have been nuts to shoot such a cash cow. That would have meant following up on their election promises—telling the truth. And the truth will make you free—of any chance of getting re-elected. Truth, honesty and integrity in federal party politics aren’t exactly high priorities. But the Canadian voters (God bless them!) keep hoping.
Sheila has learned well—like the tough-looking hood in the witness stand who claims he has never seen the witness. When the prosecution produces pictures of the hood giving the witness a rather large amount of non-prescription drugs, is he fazed? Not a bit. The hood doesn’t admit that he lied. No, he made a mistake.
Now Sheila knows the difference between a lie and a mistake but, like the hood, wriggles free. We all make mistakes. Right?
To be fair to Sheila, most politicians resort to bafflegab when dodging the tough issues.
If it’s about abortion – they talk about women’s reproductive rights; if it’s about sexual orientation – they talk about discrimination; if it’s a question about over $50 million of good old taxpayer money going for abortion in Canada – they talk about poor women who can’t afford the procedure.
All Sheila has done is fall back on the time honoured tradition of avoiding the real issues by erecting a wall of nonsense.