Perhaps we should consider a new rule for government announcements.
From now on whenever a politician flanked by smiling PR flacks trots out to a podium to to announce a new program, construction project, or initiative, they should be required by law to make an equally public explanation should they fail to deliver on that promise.
Take the construction of Sooke’s new library, as an example.
In 2017, the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s executive director held a press conference where she announced that the library was a “top priority” and promised that it would be built as “quickly and efficiently” as possible.
Almost four years have passed with no shovels in the ground, and we’re thinking it would be nice for VIRL to hold another press conference to explain what happened.
Or take health care.
In June 2018, Mayor Maja Tait went on record to say that an important health-care initiative would soon be announced for Sooke.
It took 10 months before Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix rented a podium and sound system, had it unloaded at Sooke’s Municipal Hall, and announced that an expanded health-care facility would soon come to the community.
It’s going on eight months since that announcement and no new services are to be found.
Perhaps it’s time for those fellows to load up the podium and microphones and come back to Sooke to explain what’s happened.
But that isn’t the way of politicians.
Ignoring the old saw that promises, like a crying babies in a theatre, should be carried out at once, politicians prefer to make the project announcements with exuberance, only to slog through the implementation with all the speed of an Amish drag race.
We have no doubt that someday there will be a new library in Sooke.
Similarly, we still believe that at some point health-care services will be improved in our community.
Our issue isn’t so much that politicians break their promises, although they certainly do. It’s that by failing to expeditiously carry out their announced initiatives, they turn us all into cynics.
So let’s make a rule.
Any politician who announces that they’re going to do something in six months has to come back in six months and a day to point to their success or explain their failure.
It would help to keep them honest, and allow the rest of us to be a wee bit less cynical.