Over the weekend I listened to an interview with Barack Obama where the President-Elect stated that he wanted to be known as the Empirical President. This was Obama’s way of saying that he wanted to be honest with the American people and to base his policies on known facts and observable outcomes. This is in stark contrast to either George Bush or our own Stephen Harper who seem to prefer ideological dogma and supposition versus the empirical world we live in.
Even Jeffrey Simpson in today’s Globe has made a virtue of Barack Obama’s frank, open and honest approach to policy making in a piece entitled: “The new president's first duty: Tell Americans the 'whole truth'”. As if Barack Obama needs to be told. Evidently things need to get really bad before “telling the truth” becomes vogue or that “telling the whole truth” becomes something of political advantage in the minds of people like Jeffrey Simpson.
Stephen Harper has been doing anything but telling Canadians the truth. Meanwhile Canada’s media had been doing very little to extract the truth from Stephen Harper. The Globe and Mail actually endorsed this inveterate liar for Prime Minister in the last election. An election that was based on a lie and that was precipitated by the breaking by Harper’s of his own fixed election date promise. No, we do not have an empirical government in office, but rather an imperial government in office where the Prime Minister and the Governor General act as some kind of two handed tag team, interpreting our constitution in a way that favours Harper’s ongoing grasp on power.
Canada's media are no better at ushering in a brave new world of empirical government, than Harper himself. A good example was the income trust policy that was ushered in without any public consultation or transparency whatsoever. With the exception of Diane Francis, Canada’s media bought into the falsehoods of that policy without an iota of due diligence or vetting. That policy was perpetrated on the notion that income trusts cause tax leakage. An empirical government would offer proof of such an allegation. The imperial Harper regime did not. An empirical government would examine what their policy has actually wrought in its aftermath, namely $108 billion in trust tax related takeovers that actually cause tax leakage where none had existed before. The imperial Harper regime has not.
Rather than making a political virtue of the truth, south of the border, as Jeffery Simpson is doing today, perhaps his time would be better spent implementing such a culture of truth here in Canada. A good place for him to start would be taking an empirical approach to one of Stephen Harper’s first and most infamous broken promises in office, namely the income trust fraud. I suggest Jeffrey Simpson acquaint himself with the study published in November 2005 entitled the “Tax revenue implications of income trusts” by HLB Decision Economics and then turn his attention to the Deloitte study of December 2007 entitled “Income trust buyouts: “Lots of activity, little tax revenue”. Let’s see whether Jeffrey Simpson actually believes his own advice, and whether he subscribes to the notion that “The Prime Minister’s first duty: Tell Canadians the whole truth”
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Posted by Fillibluster at 10:31 AM