Don Martin: The great divide when it comes to campaign promises
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enter to speak media prior to heading to lecture hall to take questions from the public at the Health Sciences Building on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (Liam Richards / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, February 2, 2017 5:55PM EST
The Great Divide is the watershed weaving through the Rockies along Alberta’s border with British Columbia.
But as this week unfolded, sharp contrasts on the political landscape continued to build a greater divide along Canada’s border with the U.S.
In another among many polar opposites taking shape in the last two weeks, we now have a sharp difference in how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump handle the fundamental duty of delivering their campaign promises.
Trump, for starters, is delivering on promises he should break or at least soften.
He is doing it without any consultation. And he argues voters want him to enact his promises literally, despite what he alleges is a fraud-tainted voting process.
Trudeau, by sharp contrast, broke a key campaign promise to fix Canada’s unfair voting system yesterday. He did it after costly and extensive foot-dragging consultations.
Trudeau now argues the voters elected him simply to find out if they wanted electoral reform in theory, not necessarily deliver it.
And besides, he has determined, the voting system which gave him a majority government wasn’t as flawed as he thought when he was leader of the third-place party.
While Trump’s promise-keeping is far more dangerous, Trudeau’s promise-breaking is not without gall.
Trudeau appointed a young rookie minister named Karina Gould last month, handed her the controversial reform kill order and marched her out to defend the inexplicable to a media with questions she couldn’t answer while under furious opposition attack.
It was not a fair fight. Trudeau should’ve taken the heat himself.
Gould made matters worse by pretending reform was still happening on the eve of the kill order by duplicitously inviting her opponents to chat about a work in progress.
It was a shabby, unbecoming, unconvincing performance – and here’s hoping the Liberals have learned something from it before they’re expected to break another promise later this month.
That’s when Trudeau will refuse to restore door-to-door mail delivery. It’s the right decision if backed by a proper communications plan.
But if that promise reversal is handled poorly, the image of the Liberals as untrustworthy will cast a long shadow over Trudeau’s government for three more years.
Then Trudeau would finally have something in common with Donald Trump – a reputation for embracing alternative truths.
And that’s the Last Word…