My big problem with the governing party is just their behaviour.
They strive to exert total control of information available to the public, or even their own departments, they strive to control the language of the message, and they demand that the message reflect their view of the way they want the world to be. Not the way it is, the way they want it to be.
In order for them to achieve this, they need to create an analysis that fits their own purpose. In short, they need their own facts.
The big problem with this approach, is that the facts are the facts, and that can’t actually be altered to serve any particular point of view without altering what people understand the facts to be.
In other words you have to lie a lot. (Unparliamentary language; so sue me.)
All of our federal parties have been guilty of this behaviour from time to time, but as a long-term observer of federal politics I must take my hat off to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on this score.
He slays ‘em.
The other big problem is that although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts.
John Baird is a case in point.
When Mr. Baird became the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he sat down at his new desk and the first words out of his mouth to the civil servants present were that he did not want to hear from any experts on the Middle East file.
Baird saw no reason to make any use of this most valuable resource. No need to because the party had its Middle East policy already set, and he didn’t want to listen to anyone who maybe actually knew something about the issues.
That would just upset him.
The horrific increase in unreported crimes? Who reported that?
Here’s a good Conservative fact: Vic Toews announced that the crippling explosion in prison population predicted as a result of the omnibus crime bill had not occurred.
The naysayers were all wrong! He made that statement five weeks after the bill was passed. You can’t get caught charged and tried in five months let alone 5 weeks.
But don’t bother the minister with the facts. He doesn’t like them.
The best thing the Conservatives can do to ensure their view prevails to make sure no one has the facts. They are doing a good job there.
Getting rid of Statistics Canada, or crippling its ability to do its work will serve the Harper agenda nicely. According to those who know, the mandatory census makes all kinds of sense.
But if what you want to do is present your own facts it is best to make sure the truth is suppressed. Harper argued that the mandatory census was an affront to democracy and not to be tolerated.
Democracy takes work. It depends on information, and truth, and a societal even visceral sense of civic duty. It means believing that citizenship has obligations, not just privileges.
To satisfy those obligations, citizens need to have the facts. Those who would subvert that need are enemies of democracy.
Dave Menzies,Terrace, BC