Crazy is as crazy does

The StarPhoenix doesn’t like ol’ Premier Wall’s crazy talk:

That’s not to say there aren’t several proposals in the NDP document that are worth vigorous criticism.

Not the least of these is the antiquated and discredited idea of imposing rent controls to address a shortage of affordable rental units.

This has been done in various jurisdictions around North America, invariably resulting in fewer units being built without heavy and ultimately unaffordable government subsidies.

It’s one thing to debate public policy issues using logic and evidence; it’s quite another to discount them out of hand as crazy. One hopes the premier’s speech isn’t expected to set the tone for this session at the legislature.

So, let me get this straight. Premier Wall should not discount ideas out of hand, including ideas like rent control, which the StarPhoenix just discounted out of hand.

Les MacPherson, usually the most reasonable of all of the SP’s ink-stained wretches, isn’t too impressed with the tone either:

By casually dismissing rent controls as crazy, Wall appears to dismiss the very real squeeze on renters in a landlords’ market. A more sympathetic response would have been welcome.

Really, Les? “A more sympathetic response” to rent controls?

Unfortunately, while civility in politics is an admirable — if often self-destructive — trait, one need not extend civility to include ideas which are both profoundly awful and have been discredited as such. Rent control is one of these discredited awful ideas and, therefore, is well-deserving of derision. Yes, “crazy” is a cheap-shot word, but so what? It’s quite appropriate in this case.

In fact, it is precisely the lack of clear, concise messaging in politics that keeps people uninterested or confused or cynical. Politicians, like many of us, prefer to hide behind their words. Politicians would rather use the term “economic recovery” rather than “recession”, or “investing in Canadians” instead of “welfare”, the latter term itself being a euphemism for “taxpayer-sponsored charity”. These cute phrases do nothing but speak down to the lowly populace, treating us like children instead of allowing us to fully comprehend and consider the terms of debate.

No, the premier’s words were spot-on. A terrible idea deserves a blunt response.

And if you don’t believe me, well, that’s just crazy talk.

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