Broken Promises Have Consequences???
So we’ve all been beaten over the head for the past while with this saying from John Tory “broken promises have consequences?” Has anyone stopped to wonder what this actually means?
Take Tory’s ad trying to blame asthma and deaths from pollution as resulting from a broken promise. So Dalton promised to close coal power plants and they’re not closed yet. Ok well at least Dalton will be closing them (with a realistic plan to get it done) while John Tory wants them to keep spewing for decades to come.
But apparently to John Tory, it’s all about promises, not good public policy. So as long as Tory doesn’t promise to close the coal plants, if they’re still open in 30 years, no one should blame him, as long as he kept all his ill-thought out “promises”. He wouldn’t have broken a promise and that’s apparently all that matters, not what’s the right decision to make.
But John, don’t keeping promises have consequences too?
Let’s say after Dalton found out just how bad things were with Ontario’s finances, his response was “you know what, I made some promises, and damned the consequences, I’m gonna keep them all!” So he could have closed more hospitals, fired more teachers and continued the Eves/Harris path so he could balance the budget or he could have made a tough choice as he did. I think it’s safe to say “the consequences” of his broken promise are better than the consequences of if he had kept it.
Same thing with coal power plants. Imagine where we’d be if Dalton had just plowed ahead and closed them by 2007 anyway regardless of reports he commissioned that told him it couldn’t be done. I think in 2003 Dalton really believed he could do it, but after learning the ropes of government and obtaining reports on the issue he found out he couldn’t. Again, he made the RIGHT choice and we’re better for it. Now if breaking a promise is the wrong call (like how federal Conservatives handled income trusts), then I’ve got a problem, but if we’re all better for it then that’s what matters. For those who think I’m just shilling for Liberals, if Harper breaks his promise on further cuts to the GST, I will applaud him for it because that would be the right call.
So this “broken promises have consequences” stuff is BS and is just trying to pull at the heart strings of Ontarians and Tory’s hoping they don’t think too hard about his ads. You make promises based on the info you have, but then you have to adjust to reality when you get new information.
The real question should be did Dalton do the rights things while in power? So far it seems all the opposition can talk about is broken promises. With the exception of the grants issue, there is hardly anything that the Liberals actually DID while in government that anyone is able to criticize. So they fall on this promises stuff.
It’s as if they want Dalton to be judged on the campaign he ran in 2003 rather than the government he ran these last 4 years.
A good politician has to be able to adapt to the reality on the ground. Dalton thought the province was in better shape than it was (and let’s be real here hardly anyone thought the deficit was as large as it was). He made promises on that basis. Dalton also had no experience in government. Once Dalton found out just how bad things were and had more governing experience, we should all be thanking our stars that he made the calls he did because keeping promises isn’t everything. Just where would we be if he had kept them all? People might want to think about that and what’s more important.
Dalton’s learned a lot over the past 4 years about the workings of government and all his promises this time are very reasonable and would likely all be met if the Liberals are returned to power. But I want a government that can adapt to reality not one that has to be straight jacketed to promises made under different circumstances.
If a huge recession hits Ontario (more likely these days, given news south of the border) would Mr. Tory still cut the health tax, damned the consequences, just to keep a promise? If so, he’s got his priorities all wrong and he’s not fit to be Premier. But his ads already tell us that don’t they?
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