The world of politics brings on an whole new language to bamboozle voters. Edward Herman, a political economist and media analyst, who wrote Beyond Hypocrisy described doublespeak as “the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program”.
It seems that the present Mayor has immersed himself in doing just that.
When this election campaign began, the Mayor stated that he doesn’t “sense there’s something out there that’s burning people and causing anxiety.” With that statement he set up his campaign to portray an idyllic city that can only be a reality in the eyes of a tax consumer. Unfortunately it is a far cry from that. Ask the average taxpayer.
The young single working person, young couples, young couples with growing families, seniors on fixed incomes, landlords and businesses all have concerns about rising taxes in this city. Anyone who understands the basics of economics has concerns. The Mayor must have heard those concerns when they were brought before council. If not, maybe taking some time to go and view the city’s online archives of those meetings would help refreshen his memory.
If he does remember these meetings, then brushing aside these concerns stating that “nothing is emerging as being a significant issue” speaks volumes of his inability to listen to the people. Especially the ones that “don’t fit [his] agenda.”
Interestingly, now that an election is upon us and his job is on the line, he does present residents with some excellent doublespeak on this particular issue.
On the one hand he states “St. Albert as having the lowest tax increases over the last 5 years of comparators in Alberta“. Yet on the other hand he admits that St. Albert would have one of the highest taxes in Alberta if one considered “total taxes paid, since St. Albert’s property values tend to run higher than other cities.”
Is the Mayor using tax increase figures to lure voters to believe that St. Albert has low taxes?? As he has rightly pointed out, statistics tell their own story and that is that St. Albert has one of the highest property taxes, the largest portion of which is paid by residents of St. Albert. “Data is data”, Mr. Mayor
Clarity is obviously not this politician’s strong suit. It is past time to have a mayor who can leave the doublespeak behind and be honest and open with the electorate. This Mayor is not it.