Monday, November 06, 2006

Promise Made Promise Kept

Like most people, I find it unnerving when suddenly everyone in the room is talking about a subject I can’t even begin to understand. When it happens to me, and it happens a lot, it usually involves math, a subject that ceased to make any sense to me about halfway through grade eight.

So this past week when suddenly out of the blue the Harper government put a bullet into Canada’s income trusts and all the seniors went crazy, I was kind of lost.

It was pretty exciting stuff, though. Angry seniors on the front page threatening to take down the Tories, angry oil patch executives on the business page threatening to take down the Tories. I can only imagine how the seniors who moonlight on weekends as oil executives are feeling.

And as I perused the papers trying to figure out what the hell an income trust was, I realized that everything I knew about income trusts I learned in the last election, and I learned from Stephen Harper. It was from Stephen Harper that I learned that it’s seniors more than any group in Canada that invest in income trusts.

And I heard Stephen Harper tell us over and over again that when he became Prime Minister income trusts would be safe. It was a promise he made directly to Canada’s senior citizens.

Politicians love to make promises directly to seniors because they know seniors deserve a society’s respect, plus seniors have nothing to do all day so they actually vote. Election day and a slice of lemon meringue is a big day out for the blue rinse set.

So when Harper made this promise, I believed him. And so did a lot of seniors, apparently, because they kept investing in the bloody things. And why not? Harper’s entire shtick is that you can believe what he says. The entire raison d’être of the Harper government is: you may not like what we do, but we do what we say. Those Tories give you a promise, you can take it to the bank.

In fact if you go to a Harper rally, you can’t hear yourself think for all the Tories chanting “promise made, promise kept” over and over again like a herd of demented Moonies. Some of them get so excited they smack themselves in the forehead over and over again while they chant it. During the last election Jason Kenney was forced to apply liberal amounts of pancake makeup above his eyebrows to hide the bruising.

Well thank God that’s over. Because the next time Stephen Harper or any of his minions chant “promise made, promise kept,” you might want to step back, because if there is a God, the forecast calls for lightning.

That’s the chance you take when you mess with senior citizens and their hard-earned savings.

And yes, I know Harper has all sorts of excuses why he had to break his promise to seniors, but you know what? I don’t really care — because years ago I came to the conclusion that there were only two real reasons why politicians break their promises: You already voted for them and you already voted for them.

And it turns out some things never change.