I suppose that when it comes right down to it, what bothers me most about the new-right in this country (and most countries) is that their entire political strategy is essentially based upon lying and cheating. We have seen this throughout the Harper years. Not only has time demonstrated that his party has been involved in electoral fraud from the beginning of his time as leader, but everything about his government is a lie. Of course, Harper routinely attempts to hide information whenever possible, and his complete failure to give the House of Commons the information it asked for concerning various program costings led to his government being held in contempt for the first time in English parliamentary history. Another way that Harper tries to hide information is through omnibus bills - a practice that he condemned as undemocratic when he was in opposition. But he is an even better liar than he is a hider. He continually lies about almost everything, from his government's treatment of veterans to his bribery and extortion of MPs (Cadman) and Senators (Duffy), from his gagging of scientists to his trade deals - Harper is a liar. It is the very essence of his political life. The newest lie is his government's lie concerning the supposed deficit. They claim that they will soon be in a surplus but you can bet, based on past behaviour, that this is a very simple lie. They know that they have very little chance of being elected if they present a deficit budget in the next election year and so they are cooking the books. How do I know? You ask. Well, his incompetent finance minister (shudder) has done it before. Before he was a federal finance minister Mr. Flaherty was the Provincial Finance Minister in the last Tory government in Ontario. His government ran their election campaign on the claim that they had a budgetary surplus. They bleated it from every pulpit they could find. But it turned out to be a bald-face lie. When the new government got access to the books they found a five billion dollar deficit! Five Billion dollars. Flaherty is a liar just like his boss, and the Tories are taking a page out of their provincial counterpart's book. The only comfort we can find in this is that they lost the election and were caught lying. Now if only it was a crime for politicians to lie to the public.
Meanwhile in Toronto, lying is a way of life for the Mayor. He has lied about so many things that it is hard to keep track. People say that his addiction is a disease. But Mayor Ford's real disease is pathological lying. While he tries to get people to ignore his past lies, he is busy spouting the new, even more blatant lie that he has saved the taxpayers of Toronto a billion dollars. It is amazing that he has the gall to continually repeat this lie, but that is what liars do I guess - they lie. As Edward Kennan of The Grid points out - the fact is that "Torontonians are paying more today in taxes than they were the day that Ford was elected. And the city is now spending more on programs and services than it was under David Miller." In an excellent article entitled Rob Ford's Billion-Dollar Lie, Kennan finally puts paid to this continual claim by Ford and his supporters that he has somehow stopped the imaginary "gravy-train" and saved the tax-payers lots of money. Kennan breaks down Ford's bogus claims in some detail and shows specifically where he is lying. "To recap," Kennan writes in his summation, "the city's surplus this year is smaller than Miller's was in 2010. City spending has gone up about $200 million per year under Ford, and he's increased the taxes and fees Torontonians pay to the city by about $200 million per year as well. We can debate whether taxes and spending could have or should have gone up more, and we can debate whether this is the best way to measure the city's health. But there is really no debate about one thing: Ford's billion-dollar boast is a flat-out lie."
But this is the way of the right. They could never hope to win elections on the truth so lying and cheating has become their primary political mechanism. The only real question is why do so many continue to believe their lies?