Saturday, January 29, 2005

It's Official, Campaign Promises Can Be Broken

Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Rouleau has ruled that politicians can break their campaign promises. In fact, he went a little further and suggested that anyone who believes otherwise is incredibly naive.

The ruling stems from a suit brought to court by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. The group is upset with Ontario's new health car premium, which they claim violates Premier McGuinty's promise not to raise taxes without the 'permission' of the electorate. The future premier signed a 'pledge' amidst much fanfare during the chaotic 2003 campaign. The president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was present at that signing ceremony.

Justice Rouleau pointed out that McGuinty is far from the first politician to break a campaign promise and suggested that it is up to the electorate, not the courts, to punish dishonest politicians.

Hopefully this will quiet the Taxpayers Federation for a while. Their banter has grown truly ridiculous is recent months. The Liberals inherited a $5.2 Billion deficit from the Conservatives, the fact that all they have done is introduce a new health care premium is remarkable. Further, the premium is not exactly steep. It only applies to individuals making over $20,000 per year, and the fee ranges from $60 to $900. This is a tiny fee, and when taken in comparison to the actions of other provinces suffering through fiscal difficulties it is obviously minor.

Why exactly the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has decided to make such a big deal about this is beyond me. What exactly they hope to gain is far from obvious. Do they want the Conservatives to return to power? Is John Tory the leader they want? A typical corporate hack who couldn't care less about the poor? Or are they going to back Howard Hampton's NDP, a party that doesn't have a hope of winning in the post-Rae era? Or are the simply having a hissy fit because they were lied to?

One thing, however, is certain -- the most frivolous lawsuit in the history of the province has been thrown out of court. About time.

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