Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why’s the truth such an elusive concept for some politicians?

Some politicians love to play fast and loose with the truth. Take Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty as an example—an extreme one at that. His broken promises in the run-up to his first election victory seven years ago and throughout his years in office must be something of a record for a provincial premier.

And remember when in April 2009 federal Liberal Party Critic, MP John McCallum, told a Windsor Star reporter that he owned a “North American-made car” and later explained it was “a General Motors car?” Later, he was even more specific, saying, “a Chevrolet.” But, of course, he didn’t own any of those things. He explained he had spoken “without thinking.”

Lie, explain with a lie, then excuse your lie with an even more banal one.

For some politicians a lie or half-truth is the default option. Mendacity comes as naturally to some as scratching a bothersome itch. They seem to do it without thinking—it’s an automatic reflex.

Here’s a recent example.

Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best was asked about the KFC Double Down meal, and said it was something the government could investigate. “It’s not something that we have discussed but it’s certainly something we may look at and review,” she told reporters.

Yet only hours later, Best’s office reportedly issued a statement in which the minister claimed to “reiterate” that there were no plans to review the availability of any food products in Ontario. This one smacks both of evasion/falsehood and political cowardice. If she’s inclined to prevaricate on the small issues, how can she be trusted with the large ones?

Of course, mendacity is not the sole purview of Liberal politicians, the New Democrats are often as guilty as they. As for Conservatives and PCs, well, the less said about that the better, eh.


© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. I am proud to say that I am included in the statistic "University graduates who emmigrated from Ontario during the McGuinty Administration".

    His very first budget drove me to British Columbia.

  2. "His very first budget drove me to British Columbia."

    The one he balanced? Showing again that deficits don't matter to conservatives.

    Said with tongue partly in cheek.

  3. It would be interesting to put up a chart and compare the many broken promises of Dalton McGuinty over the last 8 years to the very many broken promises of Stephen Harper over the last 4 years.

    Harper was far quicker out the gate by breaking at least 2 and possibly 3 main promises on his very first day in office (unelected senator, unaccountable to the House; the 3rd would be Emerson floor crossing which was not a Harper promise but was a promise of a very large part of the Conservative caucus). He has kept up the pace ever since.

    Clearly, on a broken promise per days in office, Harper blows McGuinty out of the water. But has his total surpassed that of McGuinty yet? I would say yes but I haven't done a straight up comparison so it is not certain.