Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's wrong with this picture?

Yes, it's full of distortions that come from taking a photo of a television screen. Try it -- those jumping pixels don't stay still for long.

Despite the eye-trick -- think of all the rearranging work our eyes must constantly do when we watch for long periods of time -- there are a couple of other elements that went along with this image of Premier Gordon Campbell that weren't quite right either.

He started his speech last night by asking a double-headed question: Why his government had initiated the HST and why they "...didn't talk about it before the last election."

As for the first part of the question, he trotted out mostly the same explanations he's always offered, only with the addition of charts. Although these were credited to the province's Ministry of Finance, I was surprised to see them using one of the oldest propaganda tricks around. Although they appeared to be bar graphs, there were no numeric indicators running up the side, nothing even to indicate a base line. In other words, the ratios shown could have represented any amount and were in essence, completely meaningless.

Conveniently, none of these charts illustrated the fact that B.C. continues (despite our high costs of living) to have the lowest legislated minimum wage in all of Canada.

He tossed around a lot of numbers -- how a family of four currently making $25,000 (good luck, sez I) will now receive up to $920 in HST tax credits, money they'll be able to 'decide' how they'll spend. Hmmm, that's a whole whopping $2.50 a day -- that sounds like a real life-changer.

When it came to his answering the second part of the question (the part about how the tax had been brought in even though HST rumours were denied during the last campaign) Campbell pretty much managed to skip addressing that part. Only that's the part that seems to have stuck in the craw of so many British Columbians.

In his rationalizations about the HST, he even used the phrase "...after the announcement was made...". Not 'after the province-wide referendum', not even 'after it was debated in the legislature' -- but "after the announcement was made".

Governance by announcement rather than democratic process. And that's the real problem with these pictures.

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