Thursday, March 19, 2020

On safety concerns

One of the great mysteries of Scott Moe’s tenure in power is how he’s evaded scrutiny for a personal track record which has demonstrated a gross lack of judgment - including getting convicted of impaired driving, causing a separate accident which killed another person, and filing for bankruptcy.

In the Saskatchewan Party’s leadership campaign, Moe managed to stay just below front-runner status which might have caused competitors to focus more on his weaknesses. And since he took power, the NDP has understandably focused on the many problems with what Moe’s government has been doing more while in office, rather than his past personal actions.

To be sure, it’s a noble impulse to presume that people can overcome and learn from their past tragedies. But there comes a point where we need to ask whether somebody is repeating the patterns which caused them to happen.

And in Moe’s case, the answer is alarming.

Moe offered a brief media tour when his fatal car crash was raised during the course of the Saskatchewan Party leadership campaign. And his responses then are telling today.

While Moe acknowledged the collision, he avoided humanizing the victim (phrasing his descriptions along the lines of “there was a fatality”). And he's equally plainly dodged any self-awareness or responsibility - recognizing that the RCMP’s investigation determined that he drove unsafely, but portraying the crash as a mere matter of whether he proceeded “a few moments earlier, a few moments later”, rather than something for which he bore any fault.

Moe’s pattern of barrelling ahead with insufficient regard for the safety of himself or others has followed him into power. And now, it’s set the tone for his government.

It would have been telling enough for Moe to pursue a snap spring election at the best of times. Even leaving aside the lack of ethics involved in manipulating a fixed election date for partisan advantage, Canadian political history is rife with leaders who received a rude awakening after indulging in enough hubris to believe that an unnecessary early election was the road to holding power indefinitely.

Even worse, though, Moe was positively gleeful in taunting the NDP and the province about calling an election at a time when any avoidable person-to-person contact exacerbates the risks of a public health emergency - while his party also mocked the NDP's well-founded efforts to point out how dangerous that would have been.

Having reluctantly ruled out the snap election plan (while again refusing to admit he could possibly have been in the wrong), Moe has continued to demonstrate a glaring lack of attention to dangerous driving conditions, insisting on presenting budget documentation for political consumption long after anybody could possibly think it bore any resemblance to reality. It was only this week that he finally and farcically decided to erase the revenue side of the ledger altogether from a spending plan - which figures to allow his party to advertise its election platform on the public dime.

That’s all consistent with the Saskatchewan Party's political strategy of making loud announcements, spending millions of corporate dollars on slanderous attack ads, and hoping to have people make surface judgments based on a lack of information. (And if Moe had been able to get his way, an election held during a pandemic might well have helped in creating that political environment.)

And the problem goes far beyond Moe himself: as he's set the example, his passengers in cabinet have chosen to egg him on. Gord Wyant has taken to shouting insults at any passer-by brazen enough to suggest that Moe keep his eyes on the road; Don Morgan and Jim Reiter have gone out of their way to moon Meili and the NDP, rather than focusing on some of the most important cabinet roles in a public health crisis.

The end result is that Moe’s reckless joyride is endangering everybody in Saskatchewan. And as a province, we need to ask how many people have to get killed by our premier’s unsafe driving before we finally wrestle the keys away.

No comments:

Post a Comment