Quite simply, Stephen Harper’s census crisis is about the integrity of his and (unfortunately) our government. This issue takes place at crossroads where science intersects with political pandering, and the place where hard choices about upholding or abandoning the integrity of government have to be made. These are the crossroads where real leadership is tested, and where Harper comes up short every time. Harper’s handling of the census issue is no different than Harper’s abysmal reneging of his solemn income trust promise that cost Canadians dearly. These are not the acts of an intelligent, educated government, with the larger interests of all Canadians in mind but rather the acts of a backward, regressive government that will do anything to appease a vocal subset of the population, even if it is to the detriment of all others.
The idea that justification for the canceling the mandatory long form census comes from the thousand or so emails of opposition that Maxine Bernier received a few years back only UNDERSCORES how bereft this government is of an understanding of “randomness” when testing the views of those it professes to govern. Receiving a thousand emails is NOT representative of the views of a population of 33 million Canadians in the same way that making the long form census optional is not statistically valid in terms of being representative of the population at large. Such an ad hoc approach to government is completely lacking in integrity and only serves to compromise our democracy in a myriad of ways. This is nothing but another example of bad science meets bad government, where the compliant and easily manipulated are in charge. People like Maxine Bernier, Tony Clement. Stephen Harper, who are completely lacking in backbone and integrity and will bend at the slightest winds of opposition and/or lobbying to appease their base, regardless of the cost to others or what it means to the integrity of our government.
We witnessed the very same thing in the case of Harper’s total reneging of his income trust promise, in which a special interest group was appeased to the detriment of all Canadians through the government’s use of completely false and defamatory arguments that were concocted by unethical civil servants like Mark Carney who live by Harper’s mantra of “it doesn’t have to be true, it just has to sound plausible”.
When faced with an issue of integrity, Mark Carney became the willing foot soldier of the Harper government, whereas the Head of Stats Canada had the integrity to resign. Such are the perverse rewards of a government completely lacking in integrity: those also lacking in integrity get promoted (in the case of Mark Carney to the Governor of the Bank of Canada), whereas those who possess integrity are out of a job?
In the case of Harper’s income trust betrayal, we have the Globe and Mail to thank for “outing” the special interest group that Harper, Flaherty and Carney were so intent on appeasing and willing to compromise the government’s integrity to do it, as follows (The Income Trust Crackdown: The Inside Story, Globe and Mail November 2, 2006):
High-profile directors and CEOs, meanwhile, had approached Mr. Flaherty personally to express their concerns: Many felt they were being pressed into trusts because of their duty to maximize shareholder value, despite their misgivings about the structure. Paul Desmarais Jr., the well-connected chairman of Power Corp. of Canada, even railed against trusts in a conversation with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a trip to Mexico,
Friday, July 23, 2010
Posted by Brent Fullard at 12:21 PM