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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ignatieff and Miller: Half-truths and distortions are the norm with senior public leaders

There is something about being a politician that seems to exempt one from speaking the truth. So many politicians seem to earnestly believe that the normal rules of society do not apply to them. So much so that otherwise intelligent men can stand before an audience and make a mockery of the truth.

Half-truths and distortions are the norm with some of our most senior public leaders. A recent case in point is the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, and the speech he made to the Toronto Board of Trade yesterday.

Another example is the claim Toronto’s Mayor David Miller made time and again during Toronto’s recent public employees’ strike: that the sum Toronto owes its workers for sick days is $250 million, when the actual sum known to Miller at the time is $450 million.

Ignatieff’s speech was filled with bafflegab. He characterized the state of the country’s finances as being a “mess,” a direct contradiction of the fact Canada’s economy is one of the first to emerge from the recession and was one of the least damaged by the financial crisis.

Recent data suggest the economy has emerged from its recession this quarter. These are the same data that is helping to fuel rallies in the country’s stock market and currency. As reported by Bloomberg on Sep. 20, “Canadian wholesale sales, manufacturing sales and the index of leading indicators rose more than forecast last week, according to government reports, while home prices have risen to records this year.”

The Bank of Canada said earlier this month that the economy could grow faster than the central bank has forecast in the second half of the year, due to a pickup in domestic demand among consumers and businesses.

And, despite the $55+ billion deficit, Canada still has one of the lowest ratios of debt to GDP among developed countries.

Some mess, eh? For more examples of Ignatieff distortions, read Joanne’s recent post at Blue Like You.

As for David Miller’s repeated claim that the sum Toronto owes its workers for sick days is $250 million when the actual sum is $450 million, even though he apparently knew the real figure well before the strike?  In a pathetic effort to excuse the Mayor, his spokesman, Stuart Green, told the Toronto Star “the city didn’t want to focus on just one aspect of the [2008] audited financial statements. The decision was made not to release financial results on a piecemeal basis.”

As Kelly McParland rightly asks in today’s National Post, “How is $450-million piecemeal but $250-million isn’t?”

What can one say? Would bafflegab and gobbledegook sum this up?

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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1 comment — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. Looks like you just can't beat that good old HAH-vudd edjumication and ethics, can ya? eh?

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