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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers April 22

Ches Crosbie.
Ches Crosbie’s campaign kickoff last week used Sean McCann’s "Victory Song" without the artist’s permission. Thankfully, sorry didn’t seem to be the hardest word. Crosbie has since apologized for the gaffe. — Telegram file photo

Jeers: to bad judgment. The provincial election wasn’t even a day old and Progressive Conservative leader Ches Crosbie was already having to backpedal. His campaign decided to use Sean McCann’s “Victory Song” at Crosbie’s campaign kickoff last Wednesday without asking the singer’s permission. (The song is about McCann’s overcoming addiction.) The message is a simple one: you don’t just get to use other people’s work with impunity. Crosbie has since apologized. There’s no high ground here for the provincial Liberals, though: in 2018, their government signed onto a lawsuit by provincial governments arguing they should be allowed to copy the work of Canadian writers in provincial school systems for free. Our artists are so very valuable and we’re so very proud of them and their work — until someone actually has to pay for what they use, that is.

Cheers: to truth in federal election campaigns. In a move that’s probably overdue, the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer is preparing for a new task: the objective costing of federal election campaign promises. Individual political parties will have to ask the office to analyze their plans, but having an independent agency vet the costs will be a clear way for parties to let voters know the implications of elements of their platforms. Let’s hope all political parties get guilted into letting the PBO do a fair costing of their plans. More information is a good thing. More independent, impartial information is even more of a good thing.

Jeers: to proving the point. The Globe and Mail tweets out a story about how the greatest decline in press freedom has occurred in the Americas in the last year, with more threats of violence and greater needs for personal security than in years past. “If the political debate slides surreptitiously or openly toward a civil war-style atmosphere, in which journalists are treated as scapegoats, then democracy is in great danger,” the story quotes Christopher Deloire, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders, as saying. First two comments on the tweet? Basically, along the lines of “you reporters deserve it.” Delightful.

Jeers: to bad campaign strategies. Here’s a question: does anyone think that a mass of cheering supporters, dressed in a political party’s colours and waving signs on a street corner during rush hour, actually sways voters into picking a candidate for election? “Why, look, Madge, there are 30 people acting foolish. Clearly that party’s equipped to manage an ever-growing financial mess with reasoned and carefully thought-out policies. I’m voting for them for sure.” “Yes, Tony, the higher people jump in the air on a street corner, the more likely their boss understands the problems with the need for increased health spending, while demographics in this province will create a diminished ability to pay for those services. We should both vote for that party, unless there are more jumping people nearby.”

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