I love election campaigns. It is our opportunity to decide on the future of our municipality, our province and our country, depending on the election.
I kind of view campaigns like professional wrestling these days. People pick their good guys and bad guys and follow them unquestionably. We yell at the TV when our adversary says anything - right, wrong or indifferent. And we blindly agree with our personal good guy - right, wrong or indifferent.
Yet we know that people will say almost anything to get elected, then we are shocked when we find out they haven't been truthful once in power, and lament about how we can't trust politicians. Jack Nicholson almost had it right in A Few Good Men, not that we "can't handle the truth," we don't want to believe the truth. Some examples...
I was glad to hear there was no political interference in the wrongful termination of the Ministry of Health employees. It sounded like the investigation that was conducted was completely flawed, and the people who made these very bad decisions should lose their jobs over it. But the government didn't control this. Let's see if they get blamed for it anyway.
Another one that bugs me is the fundraising issue. It's true that both major parties have refunded illegal donations. I don't believe either accepted those donations thinking they were illegal. But, again, we'll see if anyone gets blamed for that one, too.
People invest in what they feel will be good for the province, that the outcome will be a government that creates a strong economy, one that employs people and helps them provide for their families. I have yet to see any evidence that someone received a direct favour or preferential treatment by making a donation, other than being able to speak with someone about an issue. Anyone can speak with a politician; just make an appointment with their constituency office.
And another stat that gets trotted out all the time is around education funding. We see it everywhere - B.C. funds schools $1,000 less per student than the Canadian average. But there's more to the story that people don't seem to want to hear.
That data is from 2011. Just a couple of years earlier, B.C. was on par with the rest of the country. What changed was Ontario dramatically increased funding in a very short time, right around a provincial election, in 2011. Ironic, no? Further, Stats Canada even said the data should be used carefully, that it cannot be directly compared province to province. We don't hear about that in the news or online.
I get really anxious when people talk about who we should tax. Instead of talking about increasing government revenue, some talk about taxing as the solution. But taxing doesn't always increase revenue.
There are several studies that show increasing taxes on corporations results in reduced government revenues. Yet there are constant calls for government to increase corporate taxes. I find it puzzling that instead of focusing on the problem (need more government revenue to pay for stuff) that people advocate for something that does the opposite with such determination.
So why is this always an issue? Beats me. Truth be told, just not always believed.
Brad Sherwin, MBA has over 25 years' experience in marketing, public relations and business strategy. He is currently the director of marketing for a national non-profit organization.