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Politicians need to focus on the facts

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Taber Times

Fact or fiction?

Some politicians have “a way with words,” putting forth their opinions as if they were verifiable facts.

Then there’s Donald Trump.

People who put any stock in what Trump is saying know how he invents “facts” at the drop of a hat, then layers more misinformation on top later on. Fortunately, many of his “facts” are easily exposed as lies.

Even so, people in his political base seem to accept this as part of his bullying approach to power.

That’s not how most Canadians view their elected officials, fortunately.

When a political leader puts out misleading information, or quotes an unreliable source, there’s often an uproar. When someone is caught in an outright lie, the repercussions may be severe. So it’s important to challenge politicians when they state and repeat statements that are patently false.

As a case in point, Alberta’s new education minister, Adriana LaGrange continues to claim her government’s watered-down legislation provides “the strongest GSA protections in Canada.”

That’s fiction.

In Ontario, the law says students must be allowed to organize groups and name them “gay-straight alliances” or whatever they wish. That’s being taken away by the Jason Kenney government’s new legislation.

Indeed, principals would be allowed to delay and defer recognition of those groups.

In British Columbia, the law requires all schools – public and private – to post a policy ensuring all students are protected from bullying, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. What’s that protection in Alberta’s new law?

And where’s the guarantee a school administrator or teacher could not threaten to “out” students who were pushing for their rights?

Sadly, LaGrange isn’t the only elected Albertan to mis-state the facts.

Earlier this week, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney chastised the government of Quebec for relying on petroleum products “from foreign sources” instead of allowing a pipeline to be built from Alberta.

But in fact, public documents show that less than 20 per cent comes from offshore producers. Most comes from American companies – some of them linked to existing pipelines from Alberta.

And beating the “equalization” drum, Kenney also said those payments “form a large part of Quebec’s revenues.” If Quebec wants to continue sharing Alberta taxpayers’ contribution, he said, its government should support Alberta’s pipeline plans.

Actually, as anyone who’s stayed in Quebec would recognize, it’s the province’s high sales taxes that fund such progressive programs as low-cost child care.

Equalization payments amount to just 11 per cent of its income.

Those realities don’t line up with our new premier’s pronouncements.

Does Kenney have staff members to help him with his “facts”? Or does he just say whatever he wants?

After three years, Canadians know little of what Donald Trump says is based in reality. Maybe he’s truly ignorant.

Albertans should expect better from their premier.

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