December 1st, 2003
The credibility of politicians is at an all time low. The attendance at the polls was the lowest ever (just over half bothered to vote). Voters' expectations were not high and the Liberals have already fulfilled the low expectations by breaking several promises.
Breaking a promise is bad, but making a promise when you know you cannot keep it, is a lie.
Many people question whether McGuinty intentionally misled the public either by knowledge he did not release, or by bypassing due research, before promising what people wanted to hear, to win the election.
If winning is what he was after, then he has been "successful", but to the expense of the credibility of politicians, of political parties and the credibility of the election process itself.
Why we are continuing to use a system that rewards false or unrealistic promises? Why do we use a system where winning is paramount - and urges politicians to say anything that will lead them to victory?
If a more proportional system was in place, a coalition government that did not fulfill its promises would soon fall.
A better electoral system would actually force politicians to be accountable, working almost as an automatic recall mechanism.
If the futility of making false promises was known, then politicians would be more trustworthy.
McGuinty, to his credit, has created a new "Democratic Reform" Ministry, which will look at a possible referendum on Electoral Reform.
If he did nothing else in the next four years, such an improvement to democracy would probably make us forget about broken promises.
Since the cost of electoral reform is low, I am very hopeful that it will happen soon, while other costly programs are being shelved.