09 December 2011

The truth hurts #nlpoli

Brace yourself.

Peter Jackson’s column in the Wednesday Telegram is spot on.

Yes.

You read that correctly.

Peter Jackson’s column is spot on the money and the mark and the point and whatever other metaphor you want to use.
The editorial on this page [in the hardcopy layout of the paper] laments how the Canadian electorate seems to be developing more tolerance for less-than-honest statements from our leaders. This is alarming, because cynicism and apathy can only lead to even worse behaviour, and undercut the foundations of our democracy. 
We expect politicians to avoid the unhealthy temptations that come with public office, but we’re not na├»ve enough to think it won’t happen from time to time. All we can do is remain ever vigilant, and ask those found culpable to own up and move on.
Peter’s especially right on the bit about how the cynicism and apathy that comes out of untruthful political statements eats away at the base of our society.

There’s evidence for this in a recent study that the Star’s Susan Delacourt blogged this week.  The study of voter apathy found that  - as the report put it - “Disengaged people felt that politics is a game that does not produce results for them…. The overall point seems to be that there is very little reason to be engaged.”
You don’t have to go to the United States or mainland Canada to find untruthful politicians.  There’s been plenty of false statements around these parts.  We are not talking politicians who change their position based on new information or a different circumstance.

We are talking unmistakeable falsehoods.

Like the one about the federal government taking 85% of provincial offshore oil revenues. Yes, friends, the entire 2004-05 offshore oil ruckus was founded on a falsehood.

Or, more recently, the claim that the Quebec energy regulator denying Nalcor access to the Quebec energy grid.

Aside from outright falsehoods, there is the cousin:  lack of disclosure.  The current provincial administration is well known for its love of freedom from information for the public.  Access to information debacles?  Failure to produce whistleblower protection laws?  The weakened House of Assembly and its broken oversight committees?

All speak to a political culture that promotes anything but the sort of honesty and integrity that genuine democracy demands.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for the current situation, just as we have to shoulder the burden for change.
The Telegram editorial [board] are right about that, too.

- srbp -