The Toronto Sun printed an article featuring a tense interview between the CBC’s Matt Galloway and mayoral candidate Doug Ford. What irritated me the most was this particular phrase: “everybody knows”. That was his response regarding his voting record as councillor, about whether he’s a bully at City Hall and about the city’s “booming economy”.

What gets me is this: everybody doesn’t know nor do they agree. You could find several councillors who would disagree with each of those 3 issues with Mr. Ford. (Of course, as he says in this article, “you don’t understand” i.e. how could you realize it because you disagree with him.)

It’s an empty statement. To use “everybody knows” tries to suggest consensus when there isn’t. It tries to sound like the representation of not just the majority, but of every individual (but it doesn’t). This isn’t just Doug Ford. Many politicians (and many people in the general public) tend to speak as if they represent the collective voice of everyone. Even the Ontario Liberals and the Federal Conservatives, while having majority governments, did not reach 40% of the popular vote i.e. they do not actually reflect the views of the majority.

The fact is, no one party or individual can speak as if they represent the voices of millions of people. Mayor Rob Ford, the Ontario Liberals and the Federal Conservatives won the right to be our representative. But it doesn’t mean whatever they say automatically is the understanding or perspective of every citizen (not taxpayer) in their constituency.