Last we checked, there is no patent office for political ideas.
Still, that doesn’t stop campaigners from getting hot under the collar when a rival lifts one of their ideas. Making noise when the other guy poaches from your policy book, real or imagined, is part of the game, too.
Politics is all about making promises. It has been ever since Ooga Booga promised a roasted woolly mammoth rib to every caveman who would join him in battle.
Earlier this week Surrey First mayoral candidate Tom Gill promised that if his group is elected to government on Oct. 20, Surrey’s children and teens will get into the city’s pools, rinks and gyms for free as part of an effort to keep them from joining gangs and getting involved in crime.
With Gill fresh off the stump, rival slate Proudly Surrey charged him with “copying” its policy. Back in April, they noted in a press release, they’d announced that, if elected, Proudly Surrey would abolish user fees for school activities and help provide transportation to any child wishing to join a sports team, among other things.
In the release, Proudly Surrey candidate Stuart Parker aimed this at Gill: “Thank you for copying our policy…and thank you for realizing that your Proudly Surrey has the only coherent policy platform in this campaign, one that is worthy of stealing.”
There are different elements to both camps’ promises, and if Mr. Gill did in fact do any creative borrowing, that’s between him and his god. But what of it?
“We are happy to be driving the policy agenda for all parties in this election, though Tom is being deducted marks for not citing his sources,” Parker said in his release.
Is it fair comment? Is there anything fair in politics?
Did Gill bide his time to see what the other guys did first, before striking? While politics is, as mentioned, all about making promises, it is also all about timing.