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Over-promising, and Under-delivering: Damnation! OPUD Strikes Close to Home

Over promising and under delivering. I intensely dislike the imprecision of it.  There is a beginning but no end. You thought there’d be an end but there isn’t. Your hopes climb in anticipation, only to be dashed. What’s the point of starting if there is to be no finish?  For some reason this concept and these words have been rattling around in my brain for a while. I think it came to me first when I recall our federal government declaring a climate emergency one day and buying a pipeline the next. To me, the message was: not sober yet.

And when I started paying attention, I became severely annoyed.

My niece told me recently that when you have a home renovation done, the goal is a high quality of work, good timing, and solid pricing. She said that it is considered a successful project when you and your contractor can achieve two of those three things together. Don’t let perfection, spoil good.

When it comes to dealing with the climate catastrophe moving in on us, I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of over promise/under deliver (OPUD) in our politicians these last few years.  Even though they might acknowledge the urgency of the situation, they persist in incrementalism,  eroding public confidence in them and in the urgency of our situation.  This is what the new climate denier looks like, apparently.

So after a few days of paying attention and getting a little steamed by it all, I was airing my recent complaint to a neighbour who said to me, “They’re in their 50’s. We were all like that in our 50’s. Overpromising and under delivering, that’s what we did then and that’s what many of us still do now.   We are excited about what is probably a good idea, and we often start, but we don’t finish.”

Well – a new thought. Thinking about this I carried on walking and eventually considered: if that’s the case I must do it too (Ha!).  I couldn’t really think of a specific occasion, so, feeling mildly virtuous, I let the idea float away. Today, as I was sitting down to write, what do I see at my desk? Three projects, started with enthusiasm, sometime ago, that haven’t been touched in a long while. The OPUD finger points to me! You?

Did our parents act like this, I wonder?  I’ve been reading Seth Klein’s book titled The Good War.  His stories of C.D.Howe making things happen when Canada entered WW2 in 1939 were astonishing.  Apparently, there are four markers that show up in a government as it is stickhandling a crisis and is determined to win. Klein describes these markers in his book, and the hero of the WW2 day, C.D.Howe, as Minister of Transportation, Munitions and Supplies,  sure as heck was a terrific manager.  Canada is experienced in determinedly pulling itself together and working through a crisis successfully. What did C.D.Howe do? Took inventory of products that were needed.  Took control of all raw materials.  Commissioned private industry to create the goods required for the war effort. Made profiteering illegal. Recruited, housed, fed, trained and paid thousands of volunteers for the military.  Shipped them far away with gear, clothing, food, arms, medical equipment, etc.  Trained a whole new workforce of thousands. At the end of the war, he brought the workers home, cared for the wounded and disabled, retrained, provided education, provided pensions, and helped society integrate them back into their worlds. There was no under delivery nor incrementalism in the government response.

So, how many do we need?

  • Air-source heat pumps
  • Solar panels
  • Solar hot water heaters
  • Wind generators
  • Induction stoves
  • Triple-paned windows/doors
  • Shutters
  • Cisterns
  • Passive Standard homes/apartments/commercial buildings
  • Flood parks
  • Community gardens
  • Resiliency centres
  • Mechanical energy storage units
  • Hospital beds
  • Trained staff/professionals/skilled trades
  • Inspectors
  • Trained agricultural professionals and workers
  • All sorts of different medical system professionals


Looks like there are lots of economic opportunities for a politician who can deliver.  Those who cannot deliver need not apply.




Written by The Green Neighbour

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