Monday, August 30, 2021

Can we believe what politicans are tellling us?

Here's a good example of just how careful we all have to be when listening to the election rhetoric of elctioneering politicians. 

Not only can you discount many (most?) of the promises they make, because in practice political parties of all stripes tend not to be able to deliver on their election promises when faced with the realities of running the country. But many of their claims about the other parties made on the hustings cannot be trusted either.

Case in point: all three main parties - Liberals, Conservatives and NDP - are claiming that the other parties have made, and/or are planning to make more, cuts to healthcare transfers to the provinces. Turns out, none of them is quite correct.

The Liberals are claiming that the Conservatives reduced healthcare transfers last time they were in power (under Stephen Harper), and that Erin O'Toole can be expected to do more of the same. In fact, Harper proposed reducing the rate of increase of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) back in 2012, but never actually got around to doing so. Note that this was not a proposed cut, merely a slowing down of the annual increases. Also, there is no evidence that today's Conservatives under Erin O'Toole are looking to cut the CHT; in fact, they have specifically said that they will reverse the Liberals'cuts.

Which brings us to the Conservatives' claims: that the Liberals under Justin Trudeau did in fact cut healthcare transfers in 2017, neglecting to mention that it was the same Harper Conservative cuts that the Liberals acted on. Except that, of course, they weren't cuts at all, just a reduction in the speed of increase...

Anyway, surely, the NDP are above all this pettiness and fake news, right? Not so. The NDP is campaigning on a promise to "end the legacy of healthcare cuts" of BOTH the Liberals amd Conservatives. Except there weren't any cuts, remember, under any previous government in at least one-and-a-half decades, just a slow-down of the inexorable increases in CHT to the provinces.

One has to assume that all of the leaders and their party apparatchiks are quite aware that there have been no actual healthcare cuts. (If they are not, then they should be.) So, are these just lies, then, or "mis-speaks", or misunderstandings? A look at a graph of federal healthcare spending shows a steady increase, even when adjusted for population growth and inflation, and even as a share of GDP, and as a share of total healthcare spending in the country. It's pretty clear, and pretty incontravertible. So, I'm thinking lies.

It's almost enough to make you vote for the Bloc Québécois, or the imploding Green Party. You can see why people are so cynical about the main parties, and why the popular vote is so low (I'm guessing that this election will mark an all-time low). It's quite depressing.

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