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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 1 March 2013

The Political Paradox of Perception

Backroom of a restaurant wrong place for mayor and his allies to meet 

The London Free Press

Politicians love to talk in cliches.
Perhaps they should listen to them sometimes.
Take this cliché, for example: Perception is reality. Mayor Joe Fontana and about half of his council need to pay careful attention to that one.
Put aside, for a moment, exactly how six members of the mayor’s voting bloc and the mayor managed to end up in the backroom of the same restaurant at the same time just days before a budget vote.
Or doing a different kind of math, how four of the six economic-prosperity committee members ended up in that backroom to chat about economic development.
Imagine, if you love fantasy, that it was indeed just a remarkable coincidence or the mayor’s innocent desire to enjoy a burger with friends.
Even if it all this were a coincidence or innocent, wouldn’t you expect that at some point one, or two, or four or all seven council members would be struck by the fact the whole thing looked bad?
Wouldn’t you expect someone to say, “Hey, you know what? People might think politicians in a backroom equals back-room politics.”
Wouldn’t you expect that someone might say, “You know, we got in trouble a year ago for doing the same thing.”
Apparently those thoughts did not cross anyone’s mind. Or, if they did, they didn’t care. Either ignorance or arrogance, or a measure of both, seemed to put seven council members in a backroom, despite the rules about secret meetings.
Arrogance is likely the larger factor. The mayor freely admits he invited three other members of the prosperity committee to have a lunch to chat about “economic development matters.”
Coun. Stephen Orser dismissed concerns the Ontario Ombudsman might investigate, again. Coun. Bud Polhill blamed the media for causing trouble. Coun. Dale Henderson said he just happened to be there.
Did they not think someone would notice? Did they not think the Ontario Ombudsman might pay attention? Do they simply not care what the public thinks?
Do they think we are all fools?
Never mind, they’ve already answered that question.

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