Monday, May 19, 2014

Reveling In Ignorance

It is perhaps the supreme irony of our age; for the first time in history we have access to a world of information and data literally at our fingertips; it is an era when profound ignorance should be quickly receding into the status of historical artifact; yet we are led by a federal government that revels in and promotes profound ignorance. This is not the way the twenty-first century should be.

In today's Star, Carol Goar begins her article with some damning facts about the Harper regime's relentless campaign of disinformation:

For the past year, Canadians have laboured under the misapprehension that thousands of jobs go begging because no one in this country has the skills to fill them. It turned out the government was using faulty online data.

For two years, people struggled to figure out how Ottawa could close prisons while ordering judges to impose more jail sentences. The auditor general solved that riddle last week: it couldn’t. Canada’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded.

For eight years, the government has been cracking down on lawlessness, despite a steady drop in the crime rate. Former cabinet minister Stockwell Day insisted “unreported crime” was rising.

Through three federal elections, Stephen Harper has campaigned as the prime minister who brought fiscal discipline to the nation’s capital. In fact, federal spending ballooned on his watch. He burned his way through the $13-billion surplus left by the previous government, leaving no rainy-day fund when the 2008 recession hit.

One of the key reasons the cabal has gotten away with these lies and carefully crafted pieces of propaganda is the downsizing of Statistics Canada, an agency that was once the envy of the world:

Half of the agency’s workforce is gone. Hundreds of its programs have been dropped. The mandatory long-form census has given way to a voluntary household survey. It would cost tens of millions of dollars to reverse these changes...

Auditor general Michael Ferguson's annual report offers some sobering insights into the costs incurred from the Stats Can decimation:

His most troubling finding is that StatsCan’s job vacancy survey is vague and unreliable. “It is not possible to determine where in a province or territory job vacancies are located,”...

Regarding the cancellation of the mandatory long-form census, whose response rate dropped to 69 per cent from 94 per cent in 2006, Ferguson says,

In parts of the country, so few households filled out the questionnaire that StatsCan could not produce reliable data. So it withheld the results in those areas, leaving municipalities, school boards, urban planners, developers, businesses and social agencies in 25 per cent of Canada without up-to-date information.

The Harper regime has, by stealth, changed the function of Stats Can, thereby eliminating the tremendous value it offered a wide array of people:

It has curtailed its consultations with entrepreneurs, academics and non-government organizations. It has narrowed its focus. “We found the agency primarily consults with the federal, provincial and territorial governments”

I suppose none of this should come as a shock to any of us. The greatest enemy of a regime intent on ruling through lies, fear and propaganda is truth. The Harper cabal is well on its way to eliminating that pesky problem.


  1. This government's obsession with crime is dangerous, in view of what is happening in the United States. Many prisons there are private and for profit and shareholders naturally are eager to keep them full. From their point of view there are too few criminals, not too many and there seems to be a campaign going on to drum up more business. Private prison systems are very profitable. Each working prisoner can make about $40,000 a year which goes to the prison owners. A lot of what goes on in Canadian policing comes directly from the States.

    In Toronto cops are carding passersby, especially young ethnic men. I always thought this was pure New York. Most Canadians don't understand the implications of carding. Cops stop passersby at random to question them and the information is put on permanent computer record. The passersby are not suspected of anything specific but the cop thinks they look suspicious. People who are carded end up with a permanent police "record" just for existing.

    We in Canada are in danger of ending up with an American style justice system, imported piece by piece right under our noses. "

    1. I just read in The Star the story of unofficial records people incur from being carded or even mentioned in a police report, records that are obstructing people's travel and careers, ftd. It is clear we are venturing into very dangerous territory. It is surely an indication of the kind of creeping fascism so favoured by both the extreme right and the corporate agenda that is infecting our country. The Harper regime is the living embodiment of this pernicious philosophy.

  2. Another frightening example of Harper 'Stewardship' ..
    perhaps dear Stevie just wants them to count the general population
    and stray no further..

    All resonant of how the Department of Fisheries & Oceans no longer includes responsibility regarding wild fish, habitat, marine biology in its new mandate.
    Its all about exports of farmed fish now.. and pollution, marine patrol, ecosystems and wild species (including First Nations) be damned

    1. "He who runs the information runs the show," said Joseph Goebbels, Salamander. It is clearly a belief embraced by our current federal regime.

  3. It's remarkable that a man who claims to be an economist can be so dedicated to the the proliferation of ignorance, Lorne.

    1. Clearly, Harper's better angel (if he has one) has not prevailed, Owen.