The editorial focuses on the sad story of Kitchener resident Harald Draxler who arrived at Grand River Hospital this past Tuesday for lung cancer surgery, only to be sent home an hour before the operation because there were no critical-care beds available.
Like anyone else who has turned on a TV or opened a newspaper this fall, the ailing 66-year-old Kitchener man has been bombarded with taxpayer-funded provincial government ads that sanctimoniously proclaim the people of Ontario now "spend less time waiting'' for health care. But Draxler's shameful experience in a hospital this week, when he was sent home instead of being treated for lung cancer, shows the government's rose-coloured glasses are cracked...
...The governments ads are pure public relations puffery. They do nothing to advance public knowledge while draping the Liberals in shining robes of political purity. And it is by no means clear that the improvements in wait times are as profound as the ads suggest. To begin, the record of wait times only goes back to August of last year -- a recent and somewhat arbitrary starting point.
The Record is urging the McGuinty government to put that ad money towards helping people like Mr. Draxler instead.
However, that is unlikely. At a recent Ontario Liberals' annual general meeting at the Sheraton Centre, U.S. political strategist James Carville delivered a message exhorting the need to manipulate the public:
"We need to learn to communicate simply in ways that people can understand," said the Louisiana-born Carville — who helped Bill Clinton win the 1992 U.S presidential race with the credo: "It's the economy, stupid."
"Political communications is the only endeavour on Earth that you multiply by subtracting. The less you say, the more you're heard. The test of a good message is this: Is it simple, is it relevant, and is it repetitive? If it doesn't meet those three tests, it's no good."
How about, "Is it true?"
Calling Toronto "the most international city in the world," Carville said Liberals must constantly remind voters of positive things the McGuinty government is doing.
Sounds like they're already following his advice, even if it's all hype.