Don’t hide canal pledgeThe Grand National Party released “12 visions, 44 goals and 250 tasks,” as pledges for the April 9 legislative elections on the party Web site. But a pledge for a cross-Korea waterway is missing. The posting says the party has released the pledges that were chosen by the people in the presidential election that are feasible. Does it then mean that a cross-country canal project was not chosen by the people and is not feasible?
Lee Han-gu, the party’s chief policymaker, is in charge of pledges for the legislative elections. Explaining why a policy for a cross-country waterway is missing, Lee said that complementary work is in process now and that in one or two months, when the job is done, the final version will be presented to the public.
But something is amiss. While Lee was explaining this, a document released from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, led by Minister Chung Jong-hwan, states that the waterway project will start in April of next year. Another report by an office for construction and water resources states that a special law on the canal must be enacted. That report also says that because private businesses are unlikely to profit from the project, it must be decided if the government will offer subsidies to them, and if so, how much they will be.
Which side is telling the truth? It can be seen as simple discord between the ruling party and the administration. Or, the administration has already decided to carry out the project but the GNP lies about it because it fears the decision will make the party lose votes.
The cross-country waterway should have been presented as a major pledge for the legislative elections. The project is a main item on President Lee’s agenda. He fell behind his rival, Park Geun-hye, during the primary, but the cross-country canal plan drove his approval ratings up, eventually making him the winner. The project has been debated for a long time and now the party says it still needs complementary work. It is cowardly to remove it from the list of pledges while nobody was looking just because it has a negative impact at the polls. The party has taken pride in winning the vote in the presidential election, and now the party says with confidence that its goal is to take a majority of the National Assembly seats in the legislative election. The party’s pride, however, is nowhere to be seen. The ruling party must put forth the cross-country waterway as a pledge for the legislative elections and be judged by the people.